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The unexpected benefits of talking to a stranger just discovered by science

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Talking to someone you haven’t seen before will help us create bonds that increase happiness, as long as we can get past the usual small conversation topics.

Many are ashamed to find themselves talking to strangers, fearing that they will not be able to cope with the embarrassment or the lack of interesting topics of conversation. A new study conducted byUniversity of ChicagoHowever, he re-evaluates this moment that many avoid and dread: talking to someone he’s never been to before will, in fact, help us forge bonds between us – as long as we go beyond the usual arguments. short talk Like weather, TV shows and other minor things. (Read also: ‘Happy Conversation’ benches were born in Poland to fight loneliness and chat with strangers)

Connecting with others tends to make people happier, yet people seem reluctant to engage in deeper, more meaningful conversations — she says. Nicholas Ebley, co-author of the study. – This is an interesting social paradox: if communicating with others in a deep and meaningful way increases well-being, then why do people not do it more often in everyday life?

To try to answer this question, the team of researchers developed some experiments, which involved a total of 1,800 people who did not know each other and were divided into pairs. Some couples were shown normal talking points (eg, the weather or the best TV show you’ve seen in the last month), while others got personal and intimate input (describe, for example, a highly emotional moment in which we cried in front of a person). On the other hand, some couples were left free to have their own conversation. Before the experiments began, participants were asked how embarrassed they were at the idea of ​​having a conversation with a stranger. At the end of the experiment, participants rated the actual level of embarrassment or discomfort they felt during the conversation.

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It turns out that Deep and shallow conversations seemed less awkward and led to more feelings of connection and fun What the participants imagined before the experiment. In particular, participants who engaged in more intimate and deeper conversations overestimated how difficult the conversation was, much more than those who spoke on superficial topics.

(Also read: Having a friend who listens and supports us can have a very powerful beneficial effect on the brain)

Participants imagined that revealing something significant or important about themselves during the conversation would be greeted with blank looks and silence, only to find that this was not true in the actual conversation – he explained. ebli. In fact, humans are deeply sociable and tend to reciprocate in conversations. If you share something meaningful and important, chances are that you will get something useful and important in return, and this takes the conversation to another level.

If deep conversations are really better, why do we try to avoid them in everyday life? According to researchers, this happens because each of us suspects that the other will not care how deeply we have to tell him: in practice, We underestimate the interests of strangers To know our deepest thoughts and feelings – as evidenced by the participants’ initial responses to the experiments.

The expectations we create for our partner in the future Conversation greatly influences our willingness to discuss more or less intimate and sensitive topics with a stranger: As shown in the study, participants who expected to talk with the interested person chose to discuss deeper issues than participants who expected to talk to an indifferent partner.

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This is why we should never underestimate the benefits of talking to a stranger and should not allow ourselves to be bound by prejudice in addressing even private or sensitive topics with people they have never seen before: it can be an excellent opportunity for enrichment and growth for both who we are and who we are. He listens to us.

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Source: American Psychological Association

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