The majority of people spend a considerable amount of their days surrounded by strangers, whether they sit in a coffee shop, walking in the park, commuting to and fro, or shopping at the mall or in the local supermarket.
Still, many of them isolate themselves from talking to strangers because they feel uncomfortable and think they will make the other party uncomfortable as well.
However, research shows that we are underestimating the healing power and the benefits that come from connecting with other people. For instance, talking to strangers while running errands can make you and the other person feel happier and more positive.
The researchers did an experiment and they asked random people in Chicago who were traveling by bus or train how they would feel about reaching out to the “stranger” next to them and starting a conversation with them as opposed to sitting in silence. Most replied that they are happier in silence. But, during the experiment, those who started talking with the person next to them have enjoyed a more pleasant commute.
Moreover, commuters supposed that not many people would be willing to talk to them. However, every passenger in the experiment who tried to talk to the person next to them discovered that the other person was happy to talk with them. Plus, both parties have found the chat extremely pleasant.
We have become an isolated nation. We forget that sometimes just a smile and a talk with a complete stranger will brighten up our day and the day of the other person. Sometimes, by simply reaching out and saying ‘hello’ to a fellow human being can make us feel more understood, loved, and happy.
Of course, those brief conversations and encounters cannot change our lives and get us out of the misery if we live in one, but they can definitely turn a bad day into a happy one. They can turn the ordinary daily routine into something more pleasant.
It seems that the world consists of crowded cities with highly social people who are ignoring each other. They sit next to each other on a park bench and stare at their phones. They walk down the streets without saying ‘hello’ or giving a smile to anyone.
We forget how important the random acts of kindness are. We underestimate its power to make someone happier and brighten their day.
Let’s change this! Let’s be more kind to the stranger next to us. Let’s start by saying ‘hello’ and see what will happen. We may be pleasantly surprised.