How to Start a Conversation With a Stranger

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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. 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.

I remember the day after, when my flatmate asked me how it went. I beamed at her over my cup of tea. I met so as to man about 10 years ago. Millions of other people. Our lonely a small amount hearts are very big business. Online dating may appear to be the swiftest route to love, or a bite like it. But until you accomplish the grand prize — never having to do it again — it always feels a last resort, the sign that you possess a critical flaw that has prevented the accomplishment of true love through one of the more classic routes: pulling a stranger in a bar, meeting a big cheese at a house party, sleeping along with your employer.

Although while it might be fairly at ease to avoid topics that are apt to bore someone, it's much harder to figure out what to about if you want to be appealing. Making polite conversation can be arduous. I live on the upper east side. Comment on a topic coarse to both of you at the moment : the food, the area, the occasion, the weather.

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