Talk to a stranger today

I’m cleaning out my Instapaper right now as I’m in between books. So, here:


Individuals and governments pour money into making commutes slightly more bearable by investing in everything from noise-canceling headphones to more spacious seating. But what if the research showed that we would improve our commutes more by investing in social capital — interacting with the strangers sitting all around us?


The great thing about strangers is that we tend to put on our happy face when we meet them, reserving our crankier side for the people we know and love … Many of us assume, however, that our well-being depends on our closest ties, and not on the minor characters in our daily lives … [however] introverts and extroverts alike felt happier on days when they had more social interactions.


More surprisingly, interactions with weak ties correlated at least as highly with happiness as interactions with strong ties. Even the bit players in our lives may influence our well-being.

via The New York Times, photo by hannu.oskala used under a Creative Commons license.

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