Happiness is… talking to a stranger
If you’re having an off day – or suffering from period-induced grumps – why not chat to a stranger?
Modern-day commuting etiquette might involve not making eye contact with your fellow travellers, but a recent study has revealed that talking to strangers may be the key to happiness.
An American study asked people to either sit and converse with a stranger on a train or sit quietly alone, and they were then asked how they felt.
Contrary to what you might expect those who had chatted to the strangers had the most pleasurable experience. So if chatting to the girl who always sits opposite you on the morning train is so good for you, why don’t we do it more?
The scientists behind the study say we often clam up around those we don’t know, while we also assume that people are silent on trains just because they want to be quiet.
How to start chatting to strangers
- Practice! It is scary speaking to someone you don’t know but as with all healthy habits, the more you do it, the better you get at it.
- Offer a compliment. If a mum at the school gates is wearing gorgeous shoes, tell her. Not only is it a great conversation opening, but it also makes the other person feel fabulous – and you may learn some great style tips as well!
- Take a small child with you. Seriously, children are a great conversation starter whether it’s with those also toting a child or old grannies in the supermarket who want to squeeze their cheeks.
- Smile! If you look inviting and open then people are more likely to respond to your opening line.
- Don’t worry about rejection. You’re probably never going to see them again so what does it matter if they give you a ‘back off’ look when you try and engage? At least you tried – and you never know, you may make a new friend.