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

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

    According to this new study conducted in the United States, there are many positive effects of talking to a stranger

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    Talking to someone you've never seen before would help us create connections that increase happiness, as long as we can go beyond the usual small talk topics. 

    Many shy away from finding themselves talking to strangers, fearing that they will not be able to overcome embarrassment or have no interesting conversation topics. A new study conducted by the University of Chicago, however, re-evaluates this moment avoided and feared by many: talking to a person never seen before, in fact, would help us create connections between us - as long as we go beyond the usual arguments of small talks such as the weather, TV programs and other minor things. (Read also: "Happy to chat" benches are born in Poland to fight loneliness, to chat with strangers)

    Connecting with others tends to make people happier, yet people seem reluctant to engage in deeper and more meaningful conversations - she says. Nicholas epley, co-author of the study. - This is an interesting social paradox: if connecting with others in a profound and meaningful way increases well-being, then why don't people do it more often in daily 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 which were divided into pairs. Some couples were offered mundane talking points (for example, the weather or the best TV show you've seen in the last month), others were given more intimate and personal inputs (describe, for example, an emotionally intense moment in which we cried in front of a person). Some couples, on the other hand, were left free to set up their own conversation. Before starting the experiments, participants were asked about their degree of embarrassment at the thought of having a conversation with a stranger. At the end of the experiment, the participants then rated the actual level of embarrassment or discomfort they experienced during the conversation.

    It turned out that both deep and superficial conversations seemed less awkward and led to more feelings of connection and fun than the participants had imagined before the experiment. In particular, participants who participated in more intimate and deeper conversations overestimated how awkward the conversation would be, far more so than those who conversed on superficial topics.

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

    Participants had imagined that revealing something significant or important about themselves during a conversation would be greeted with blank stares and silence, only to find that this wasn't true in the actual conversation - he explained. Epley. - In reality, humans are deeply sociable and tend to reciprocate in conversations. If you share something meaningful and important, chances are you will get something meaningful and important exchanged in return, and that takes the conversation to another level.

    If deep conversations are truly better, then why do we try to avoid them in everyday life? According to the researchers, this happens because each of us suspects that the other will not be interested in how much profound we have to tell them: in practice, we underestimate the interest of strangers to know our deepest thoughts and feelings - as also demonstrated by the preliminary responses of the participants to the experiments.

    The expectation we create for our future partner conversation greatly influences our predisposition to discuss more or less intimate and delicate topics with a stranger: as shown by the study, the participants who expected to speak with the caring person chose to discuss deeper issues than the participants who expected to talk to an indifferent partner.

    This is why we must not underestimate the benefits of talking to a stranger and we must not allow ourselves to be limited by prejudices in addressing even private or delicate topics with people never seen before: it could be an excellent opportunity for enrichment and growth both for us and for those who he is listening to us.

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    Fonte: American Psycological Association

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