Talking to Strangers Can Make You Feel Happier

If you avoid chatting with strangers you encounter during your day, people like the cashier in a coffee shop or someone in the elevator with you, research has shown that you could be missing opportunities to feel happier by connecting with people around you. Canadian researchers a few years back carried out tests that showed participants who went into a coffee shop and struck up a conversation with the cashier left in a better mood than those who didn’t. Behavior scientist Nicholas Epley’s experiments showed that commuters who interacted with other passengers on their bus or train had a more pleasant ride, even when they thought they’d rather just do something like read a book. Epley found that it’s fear that the other person won’t enjoy talking to us that makes us keep to ourselves, but when we do talk to strangers, the interactions tend to be less awkward and more enjoyable that most of use expect. It’s been found that even just making eye contact can have a benefit, so just a smile or a simple hello in your daily interactions with strangers could be enough to help make you happier. (Plus, strangers have the best candy)