We come across strangers everywhere. From stepping outside your doorway to riding a train at the subway. Sometimes our interaction with a stranger is inevitable with perhaps no escaping whatsoever. It might seem odd to strike a conversation possibly because you want to avoid the sheer awkwardness between the two of you.
There is no denying that we underestimate the positive benefits of talking to strangers. We live in isolation and social exclusiveness without looking into the advantages of leading a completely opposite lifestyle.
That being said, one research has found connecting with others on newer terms can be more advantageous than we thought. It leads to a greater amount of happiness, acceptance and better mental well-being.
Hidden Benefits of Talking to Strangers
The study started off with a small observation on the streets of Chicago. The researchers embarked on a journey on one of the city buses striking a conversation with fellow travellers.
On inquiring how individuals would feel when someone talks to them as opposed to remaining in solitude, most replied that they will feel utterly pleasant. This is surprising because only 40% of the passengers thought they would initiate the conversation in the first place.
When the experiment was tested for other places, the results appeared more or less similar. Researchers carried out observation tests on different waiting rooms, train rails and even taxi rides.
For all the mentioned experiences, the positive impact was noted. It was found that when a stranger was approached for any communication whatsoever, the experience was much more pleasant than expected.
It was not just about striking a long proper conversation with the fellow rider. Even a small gesture like saying hello appeared equally good. But obviously, activities like unwanted attention was not appreciated at all.
Why is that the case?
The next job of the study was to document the explanations for the phenomena. We know for a fact that there are certainly hidden benefits of talking to strangers. But why is that the case can be understood by realizing human as innately social animals.
We, unlike most animals, have a strong desire to communicate and interact with others. Without doing so, possibly, we cannot survive to live in this world. That being said, when on a strange place alone, there is a sheer need to be among our fellow beings.
When we do get along with strangers around, that desire is fulfilled. It makes us realize a number of things. Foremost being that others around us have a life of their own with emotions and feelings.
Because humans are naturally social animals, communication with strangers make us happier and satisfied. In contrast, if we were to lead a life of our own, that would make us utterly lonely and unhappy.
While you may think the situation to hold true for people who are extroverts. However, studies have shown that the benefit extends to include introverts as well. More importantly, our connections and interaction with others shape our personality. Commuters irrespective of who they are will feel pleasant when they strike a conversation with strangers.