Home science Why talking to strangers can contribute to personal well-being – Corriere.it

Why talking to strangers can contribute to personal well-being – Corriere.it

Why talking to strangers can contribute to personal well-being – Corriere.it

Strangers, who knows who they are, what they think, and what dangers they hide. It is best to avoid talking to strangers, and it is a recommendation that everyone has earned sooner or later. But this is not what psychological research suggests. According to Gillian Sandstrom, Senior Lecturer in the Psychology of Kindness at the University of Sussex, UK, Instead, talking to strangers is an activity that not only has the potential to be enjoyable, but is also capable of contributing to personal well-being.. At least once preconceived notions, fears of embarrassment, and the specter of boredom have been overcome.

An opportunity not to be missed

In an article published in The Psychologist, the journal of the British Psychological Association, Gillian Sandstrom states that while she is an introvert, she nonetheless unhesitatingly supports the importance of taking every possible opportunity to exchange a few words with strangers, both for the pleasure that can result from it and because it often becomes a learning opportunity. New knowledge and skills. Especially if you are in an unfamiliar place, like when traveling to another country.

Positive effects of talking to strangers

Plenty of field research has shown the positive effects of talking to strangers. For example, research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) shows that people generally underestimate how much they can learn in casual conversation with people they don’t know. “It is an underestimation that does not arise from the belief that there is not much to learn from others,” say the authors of the research, which was coordinated by Stav Attier of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA. “In fact, the participants in our study were convinced that they could learn more from others than others could learn from them. Rather, the underestimation of learning possibilities arises from the fact that a conversation with a stranger does not have defining elements of predictability. Thus, paradoxically, not knowing what one can learn from a conversation with a stranger can prevent people from trying to have that experience that would help them understand how much there is to be learned.”

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Positive effects on mood

But talking to strangers should not be an activity whose sole purpose is to try to gain new knowledge. It is very important positive aspects on the part sociabilityMany researches have shown that This kind of openness has a positive effect on mood and feelings of self-confidence. To better understand this point, we can try to reverse the situation: Everyone, as an unknown potential towards others, can imagine how they will respond to anyone who attempts to establish polite contact. And in fact, empirical research has shown that people are, on average, more empathetic than you might think towards those who try to break the ice, for example through praise. To imagine the difficulties are those who try to compliment more than those who “significantly,” as evidenced by research published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin by American researchers, Erica Boothby and Vanessa Bones. “During the experiment, those who had to give a compliment to a stranger felt anxious, and their level of anxiety was predictive of a belief that the compliment would be received poorly,” the authors of the research say. “On the contrary, the prediction made by study participants that they did not have to give themselves compliments and therefore did not feel anxious was much less pessimistic.”

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