Small talk and casual interactions with strangers may give some of us anxiety, and has never been easier thanks to the invention of smartphones. While there’s nothing wrong with being an introvert and avoiding these types of interactions, a recent study has found that by increasing social interactions and even talking to strangers can improve levels of happiness.
A study conducted psychologist by Elizabeth Dunn and colleague Gillian M. Sandstrom at the University of British Columbia sought to find out whether short interactions and conversations with strangers can help boost a person’s mood. Dunn and Sandstrom asked the study participants to enter a coffee shop, purchase a drink and then hold a conversation with the person at the cash register.
In a conversation with NPR, Dunn said: “We found that people who were randomly assigned to turn this economic transaction into a quick social interaction left Starbucks in a better mood. And they even felt a greater sense of belonging in their community.”
Even though the conversations only lasted a few minutes, the study’s results show that despite their length, these conversations helped increase feelings of human connection and happiness.
While this may seem daunting and difficult, just a few minutes can really make a big difference. The study also pointed out that putting your phone away can help signal openness, as constant phone use indicates that we are “not interested in interacting with the people around us.”
What do you think about the results of this study? Are you open to striking up short conversations with people you encounter throughout the day?