Why You Should Talk to Strangers The comfort of conversation: from the serious to the superficial . .css-14iz86j-BoldText{font-weight:bold;}Most people spend part of every day surrounded by strangers, whether on their daily commute, sitting in a park or cafe, or visiting the supermarket. Reframing mask wearers as people who have chosen to be considerate of those around them can make us feel a measure of generosity and warmth to them. (Read more about how masks affect our interactions.). ... We found that commuters tend to be happier when they talk to a stranger, regardless of how extroverted they perceived themselves to be. One reason may be that the experience of talking with others and hearing a stranger's voice makes us realise they have a rich inner life of thoughts, feelings, emotions, and experiences, just like us. Nicholas Epley is professor of Behavioural Science and faculty director of the Center for Decision Research at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Brett McKay: Welcome to another edition of the Art of Manliness podcast. Having positive social relationships has been put forward as a key ingredient for happiness, more significant even than how much we earn. You Meet More People "Not Like You". Eagleman told me there have been multiple shared readings of this tale about missing strangers during the Covid-19 pandemic. You wake up in a world only made up of people you remember. Back in the '90s, talking to strangers online was a thrilling, novel, and low-key scary way to connect with others. Yet many of us remain in self-imposed isolation, believing that reaching out to a stranger would make you both feel uncomfortable. We're told from a young age to not talk to strangers. Juliana Schroeder is a professor in the Management of Organizations group at University of California, Berkeley. “Prepare for conversation by storing the mind with interesting matter: history, not forgetting the history going on at the present time, remarkable crimes and trials, and biography particularly of celebrities.” That advice was for people taking journeys in a shared carriage with strangers. Friends listen to us, talk to us, keep us from being alone, give us helpful advice, helps us think from a different perspective, helps to deal with stress, and support us when needed. By Elizabeth Crisci. The Hidden Benefits of Talking to Strangers By Thorin Klosowski on Monday September 26th, 2016 How Strangers Can Have a Lasting Impact on your Health We’re told from a young age to not talk to strangers. Branch out to form more genuine connections with the world around you. Pictures: Masson , Johnny Ainsworth , Isabelle Plante We were lost. 1. We also share information about your use of our site with our analytics partners. Yet every participant in our experiment who actually tried to talk to a stranger found the person sitting next to them was happy to chat. Posters and public announcements helped give the passengers an excuse to reach out and strike up a conversation with a stranger. If you think that talking to a stranger is likely to be unpleasant, you'll never try and so never discover that your expectations might be wrong. The Unexpected Benefits of Talking to Strangers Do you talk to strangers? Video, The poet, the queen and 120-year-old chocolate, Did that octopus just punch a fish? These beliefs may be unwarranted. Sometimes, talking with the occasional stranger can have surprising benefits to your well being. 60 Shares. Milton explained it would have been impolite and disrespectful to ask for directions without establishing a proper connection. However, when we actually carried out the experiment, those randomly assigned to talk had the most pleasant commute. Many people may feel hesitant about striking up a conversation, not knowing what to say. Random chat sites like Omegle have millions of users around the world. Indeed, thousands of commuters in Japan wore masks every day pre-Covid, not because they were hypochondriacs, but because they had a cold and wanted to protect the needs of the people around them. Underestimating the positive impact of reaching out can keep us from being social enough for both our own, and others', wellbeing. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website. I talk to people I don’t know for a living — often about difficult, sometimes quite delicate topics — and it’s usually a thing I really enjoy doing. However, in much of the developed world people consistently overestimate the level of discomfort they would feel if they were to reach out to someone they don’t know, even in pre-Covid times. The surprising benefits of talking to strangers. Share your thoughts and experience. The unexpected benefits of talking to strangers. The science of small talk You, too, may be surprised at how rewarding small talk is. Strangers sit next to each other on park benches staring at their phones, walk down city streets without smiling or saying "hello" to anyone. Talking with a Stranger During a Commute Can Improve Your Day Even with an abundance of entertainment at our fingertips in our smartphones, commutes are still pretty boring on the whole. They help us understand … We also use third-party cookies that help us analyze and understand how you use this website. Our commuters estimated that only about 40% of their fellow train passengers would be willing to talk to them. What can we expect for 2021's Oscars ceremony? Back in the '90s, talking to strangers online was a thrilling, novel, and low-key scary way to connect with others. He told me stories about some of his tenants. A perfect way to start talking to strangers is to make small conversations with your next door neighbors every now and then. Those who write a thank-you letter, do random acts of kindness, or express compliments consistently, believe their recipient will be less happy than they actually are. Knowing how to deal with the occasional rejection or unpleasant encounter. But opting out of some of these cookies may have an effect on your browsing experience. Branch out to form more genuine connections with the world around you. One in three people feels lonely some or all of the time. The mood boost of talking to strangers may seem fleeting, but the research on well-being, scientists say, suggests that a happy life is made up of a high frequency of positive events. No strangers grace the empty park benches. Having learnt the benefits of talking to strangers and tips on how to actually talk to strangers, I urge you to make a habit of talking to at least two new people each day. At the time individuals couldn’t imagine joining a carriage without speaking to the people with whom they were sharing the journey. In cultures that aren’t used to face coverings, learning to communicate effectively could take some adjustment. This may help to explain why cities seem so crowded with highly social people who are actively trying to ignore each other. Of course, nobody appreciates unwanted attention. These brief connections with strangers are not likely to turn a life of misery into one of bliss. investigating our relationship with strangers, Epley conducted an experiment, pre-Covid-19, Brits enjoyed talking to strangers just as our American participants did.”, Older Adults Maintain Emotional Advantage Amid COVID-19, APS Reissues Call for Inclusion of Psychological Science Expertise on COVID Advisory Board, New Guidance on Encouraging Protective COVID-19 Behaviors Among Students. You might imagine that only outgoing people would benefit more from connecting with others. You will be able to communicate with more people safely. Read about our approach to external linking. While that’s great advice in many circumstances, it’s not a perfect rule. Pocket. Sometimes, talking with the occasional stranger can have surprising […] Talking to strangers is one of the most important things we can do. 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