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The surprising benefits of talking to strangers

By Patrick follow Patrick   2019 Jun 12, 8:45am 1,141 views   23 comments   watch   nsfw   quote   share    


https://www.bbc.com/news/world-48459940

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.

Yet many of us remain in self-imposed isolation, believing that reaching out to a stranger would make you both feel uncomfortable.

These beliefs may be unwarranted. In fact, our research suggests we may often underestimate the positive impact of connecting with others for both our own and others' wellbeing.

For example, having a conversation with a stranger on your way to work may leave you both feeling happier than you would think.

We asked bus and train commuters in Chicago how they would feel about striking up a conversation on their morning commute, compared to sitting in solitude or doing whatever they normally do. Most thought that talking would lead to the least pleasant commute.

However, when we actually carried out the experiment, those randomly assigned to talk had the most pleasant commute.

Our commuters estimated that only about 40% of their fellow train passengers would be willing to talk to them. 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.

Thinking others aren't interested in talking, or won't like you, are the very things that will keep you from making contact.

In fact, research suggests that we consistently underestimate how much a new person likes us following an initial conversation.


OK, I'm going to make more of an effort to chat with my fellow commuters.
1   HeadSet   ignore (2)   2019 Jun 12, 10:45am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

Our commuters estimated that only about 40% of their fellow train passengers would be willing to talk to them.

This is why no one wants to start, they think the other guy is not interested.
2   Ceffer   ignore (4)   2019 Jun 12, 11:05am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

I love it when you strike up a conversation, then they follow you home, shit on your lawn and smear their faces against your window.
3   Heraclitusstudent   ignore (2)   2019 Jun 12, 11:12am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

Aren't we talking to strangers on patnet?
4   Tenpoundbass   ignore (14)   2019 Jun 12, 11:16am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

Talking to strangers is much better in Red districts. When I go to North Florida to visit my relatives.
Talking to strangers is as easy as talking to your neighbors. At a liquor store in a long line on New Years eve. It's a love fest, like your standing in line with your new best friends.
They are from all walks of life, white or black it doesn't matter.

The fucking Liberal Pickle heads down here, should go around with a Bike helmet on so I know they are full grown Adults that still panic over "Stranger Danger".
It's damn near like you cut a greasy fart in line, trying to talk to a stranger in South Florida. Don't do it, it's uncouth.
5   joshuatrio   ignore (0)   2019 Jun 12, 11:40am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

Patrick says

However, when we actually carried out the experiment, those randomly assigned to talk had the most pleasant commute.


I've been hitting the LA Fitness gym for the last 3 years and notice most people don't talk to anyone.... ever. Over the last 6 months, I've started greeting the usual's in the morning and asking about their day/week, just to see if it would build any camaraderie - surprisingly it does. Every morning, the people who I've been trying to get to know are interested in what's going on in my life and vice versa. This in turn has caused multiple friendships to form all from the simple act of saying "good morning."

Friendships don't take much effort and can quickly form over small talk.

You'll meet interesting people too, for example, every morning I talk to one guy who is a stressed out work-aholic for Fannie Mae, a multi millionaire who is in construction, and another guy who's a mechanic - and a few IT guys.

The saying "it's who you know" rings true, and just saying hi does a lot.

One thing I really enjoy about the gym, is that people go there to work out and feel good. All the race baiting liberal nonsense is left at the door, and people are generally happy to give a spot or lifting advice.
6   KgK one   ignore (0)   2019 Jun 12, 12:03pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

You can't talk to random women. They will claim harassment and metoo. Most men are not talkative but one in while u find friendly ppl and have good chat.


You do understand real issues and pain from real ppl vs media with specific agenda
7   joshuatrio   ignore (0)   2019 Jun 13, 2:14am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

KgK one says
You can't talk to random women. They will claim harassment and metoo.


Disagree. Most women will gladly join a conversation with you if you are friendly and not creepy.
8   Al_Sharpton_for_President   ignore (6)   2019 Jun 13, 3:19am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

The palm tickle handshake is a great ice breaker.
9   APOCALYPSEFUCKisShostakovitch   ignore (55)   2019 Jun 13, 4:45am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

The chicks love it when you play periscope with their breasts and order a toroedo launch.
10   zzyzzx   ignore (2)   2019 Jun 13, 8:19am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

I often talk to people while waiting in line. It's not a problem and people are normally friendly.
11   marcus   ignore (11)   2019 Jun 13, 10:44am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

Small talk in a line is nothing. But I'm guessing a lot of people are like me, say if flying on a plane.

I'm cautious, and I think a lot of people are, because I've had the experience of talking with someone I'm sitting with on a plane that's too far away from my wavelength, if you know what I mean. Probably 90% of people are going to be similar, and not wanting to chew your ear off. But every now and then you run in to the super needy or wierd person. And you're going to be with them, maybe for several hours.

If the person is cool, and is going to be able to read subtle cues, then I know that later, if I don't want to talk anymore, I can end it without having to be rude. But you don't know what the person is like, and it's actually a reasonable guess that the person sitting next to you doesn't want to chat more than just a little.

Maybe part of it is that if it's strangers that you are going to be seeing again when commuting or in the neighborhood, there is more of a perceived benefit to being friendly (making new friends) than when you are flying somewhere and will never see the person again.

Probably like most people, I've had all three situations on planes. Having someone talking to me more than I wanted to talk and them not taking a hint. Striking up interesting conversations and learning about interesting people, but balanced and good - becasue the people are not socially awkward. I have met some very interesting people this way. But about two thirds of the time not talking more than extremely brief pleasantries or no talking at all. The last one is my default for traveling on planes. It's probably a form of "do on to others."
12   Tenpoundbass   ignore (14)   2019 Jun 13, 10:47am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

You'll be alright sitting on the plane next to me, as long as we land before my 5th cup of Coffee.
13   WookieMan   ignore (5)   2019 Jun 13, 11:05am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

marcus says
But about two thirds of the time not talking more than extremely brief pleasantries or no talking at all. The last one is my default for traveling on planes.


Take this as you will, but this explains a lot about you (and others). What's the big deal if you blow 3 hours on a flight talking to a complete fucking idiot? What's the harm? Some of you coastal guys live in a world that just doesn't exist for 90% of US citizens and 99.9999% of the rest of the world. Pinkies up!

Betty Sue taking a trip out to LA for fun from Birmingham, AL might be talkative and a complete idiot. You'd also look like a complete fucking idiot walking and talking around Birmingham, AL. The fact you find air travel and those participating in it with you to be a burden is not a good look. Just don't fly anymore and live in your bubble. It kind of explains a lot about some of your written opinions here. Closed off from the outside.
14   marcus   ignore (11)   2019 Jun 13, 11:14am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

WookieMan says
What's the big deal if you blow 3 hours on a flight talking to a complete fucking idiot? What's the harm?


IT's not political. Maybe it sounded snobby, but that's not it. I'm just not that gregarious. Sometimes I'm really tired and stressed out and looking forward to resting while flying.

Here's something that probably a lot of PAtnatetters can relate to. A definiton of extrovert versus introvert, petaining to how people "recharge their batteries."

An extrovert goes out and socializes to recharge their batteries.

An introvert is more likely to get a recharge from quiet time, watching a movie, reading or just reflecting on things.


I'm not extremely one way or the other, but I am more on the side of introvert. I take this part of your comment, "What's the big deal if you blow 3 hours on a flight talking to a complete fucking idiot? What's the harm?, as indication you're more of an extrovert than I. The harm would be that maybe I needed that quiet time more than you can easily relate to. If talking to someone for me has to be "worth it" for me, it's not a snobbish judgement. It's just that sometimes I'm giving up something that I really need.


Keep in mind, people's work runs all the way from extremely social to extremely not social .
15   marcus   ignore (11)   2019 Jun 13, 11:20am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

WookieMan says
Just don't fly anymore and live in your bubble.
WookieMan says
Closed off from the outside.


Well, yeah. If you said one of us is more of an arrogant prick than the other, I'd say you're probably right.

marcus says
Striking up interesting conversations and learning about interesting people, but balanced and good - becasue the people are not socially awkward. I have met some very interesting people this way.


marcus says
But about two thirds of the time not talking more than extremely brief pleasantries or no talking at all. The last one is my default for traveling on planes. It's probably a form of "do on to others."
16   Shaman   ignore (2)   2019 Jun 13, 11:31am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

I get Marcus point about being an introvert and how that changes the rewards for interaction. I’m more on that spectrum as well. Although I have noticed that (during certain periods of my life) I have been more extroverted.
Times of personal change and growth have all been connected with these extrovert periods where I sought out company and conversation. Times of depression and boredom have been when I’ve retreated from the world into my own head.

I think the brain is malleable, changing to fit the situation it encounters. An introvert can become more of an extrovert if they intentionally change their ways to interact with people. And an extrovert can become withdrawn after a personal tragedy or set back causes them to draw back from people. I’ve seen both things happen to people I know, and had both things happen to me.

Whatever you sow, you reap.
17   marcus   ignore (11)   2019 Jun 13, 11:45am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

I don't actually see myself as an introvert. But using that definition: "which way would I choose to recharge my batteries ?" Using that definition, I think I'm more introverted than extroverted.

But I think it's not simple.. Because maybe there is even a social fix (recharge) to being with others at the mall, or the movie theater or a casino, or commuting for that matter, where the interaction is minimal and yet it's still not close to the same as solitude.

I have the most social job (BY FAR) that I've ever had, that's also at times stressful - even to the point of "burn out.". So I don't think that my preference at times for quiet time is an indication of very much about my personality.
18   Heraclitusstudent   ignore (2)   2019 Jun 13, 12:02pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

"One enhances everything in solitude except ones character. "
19   Heraclitusstudent   ignore (2)   2019 Jun 13, 12:05pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

WookieMan says
What's the big deal if you blow 3 hours on a flight talking to a complete fucking idiot? What's the harm?


I agree with Marcus. Never talk to people on flights, especially long ones.
20   marcus   ignore (11)   2019 Jun 13, 12:25pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

Heraclitusstudent says
"One enhances everything in solitude except ones character. "


Looked this up to see where it comes from.

"One can acquire everything in solitude, except character. " – Stendahl (19th century French novelist)
21   WookieMan   ignore (5)   2019 Jun 13, 9:22pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

Heraclitusstudent says
I agree with Marcus. Never talk to people on flights, especially long ones.


To each their own. If 9 out of 10 times the conversation sucks, I end up getting more in my life out of the 1 time it went well versus the negative. I'm not saying I seek out the conversation or am the starter of it. I'm an introvert and I'd guess almost everyone on this site is. There's a reason we're here.

The expectation of "recharging" on a flight is kind of ridiculous though. You're in a fucking tube packed full of people... great way to recharge. Throw in flight delays, security, parking, overpriced food/booze, etc. Have fun recharging. Extroverts don't like airports and planes either.
22   Ceffer   ignore (4)   2019 Jun 13, 10:59pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

Can I sue somebody I start a conversation with in public if they turn out to be a boring, moronic twit who has wasted my time?
23   FuckTheMainstreamMedia   ignore (7)   2019 Jun 14, 7:39am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

Meh.

Nothing good can happen and will probably lead to this:


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