Most parents teach their children not to talk to strangers – and for good reason. As we get older and learn that adults don’t need to follow this advice quite so strictly, you’d think that we’d become a sociable bunch willing to talk to just about anyone. But in reality, our reluctance to speak to people we’re unfamiliar with rarely subsides.
Whether we’re on public transport or sat on a bench on a sunny day, we humans tend to keep ourselves to ourselves. Often, our reluctance to communicate is inspired by a desire for peace and quiet – which is fair enough – but when we spend so much time staring at our phones rather than interacting with humans in the flesh, this can have a negative impact on our wellbeing and our perception of the world. Unconvinced? Here are just a few reasons to make the world a friendlier place.
Taking a break from the internet is good for you
How much of your day do you spend staring at a phone, tablet or computer? Some studies suggest that the average person spends more than 10 hours a day with their eyes fixed on an electronic device. If using technology is part of your job, breaking away from the internet can be tough. But by switching off your phone when you’re not in work and appreciating the world around you, you may see a boost in your mood and overall happiness. The internet is supposed to make us more connected than ever before but the truth is it can make us feel more distant from other humans.
You can beat loneliness
Not only can loneliness affect our mental health, it can also impact our physical health and lifespan too. By making an effort to talk to people, you can help to tackle the problem, even if it’s on a very small scale.
So whether you have a friendly natter with a shop assistant or you offer to lend a neighbour a helping hand when you spot them struggling to unpack their shopping, the smallest gestures can help to make the world a friendlier place.
You could uncover some exciting gossip
If you’re familiar with the Facebook page, Humans of New York, you’ll already know that we’re surrounded by fascinating stories everywhere we go. Every person we meet has a wealth of secrets they’ve collected throughout their lives and by talking to those around us, we may get the chance to learn something new.
So don’t be afraid of asking that cute elderly couple in the park how they first met. Ditch the small talk by asking your taxi driver what he enjoys doing in his spare time. Who knows what tales you may uncover?!
Of course, not every stranger you meet will be willing to tell you their life story, but by chatting to people you’ve never met before you could benefit from some much-needed inspiration and even a new outlook on life. Be brave and start a new adventure!
The best part of chatting to strangers? It’s definitely the fact you could make someone’s day and leave them smiling from ear to ear. Whether you compliment someone on their jacket or pay for a stranger’s coffee, there are so many ways you can cheer up a stranger. You’re likely to feel great too and you never know, maybe someone will do the same for you one day.