- Recent research shows that talking to strangers helps your mental health.
- Such a tiny practice on a daily basis can help reduce the risks of depression and anxiety.
Social Connection And Mental Health
Human beings are social animals. Studies show that socializing, connecting, and networking with people keep us happier, more confident, mindful, and psychologically resilient. Forging and maintaining social connections have been positively associated with:
- Reduced loneliness and isolation
- Greater prosocial behavior
- Greater self-esteem
- Development of social skills and coping strategies
- A better social support system in case of future, negative life events
- Experiencing positive feelings related to companionship, gratitude, and appreciation of others
- Reduced risks of mental health disorders like depression, anxiety, etc.
Why Talking To Strangers Helps Your Mental Health
A recent study conducted at the University of Sussex explored how talking to strangers can reduce depression. The researchers also revealed that talking to strangers improves social skills, as well as reduces maladaptive social cognition, fears of bad experiences, and social anxiety.
They hoped that the benefits of “talking to strangers” could be incorporated into non-pharmacological interventions to treat mental illnesses like:
- Social anxiety and withdrawal
- Substance use disorder (SUD)
- Dependent personality disorder,
- Memory disorders (like dementia), etc.
Tips To Socialize With People You Have Just Met
While socializing has great benefits, it can be daunting for many people—especially introverts. In such cases, it is important to remember that socialization is an important skill that gets better with practice and age.
Consider the following tips to socialize better with strangers and other acquaintances:
- Be brave, worry less, and let go of inhibitions (related to social rejection).
- Strike up a casual conversation. Be curious and ask engaging but polite questions.
- Talk about a common concern (like casual political commentary, clothing, new films, etc.).
- Have more conversations with people who are passing acquaintances in your neighborhood or workplace.
- Consider carrying out random acts of kindness (like helping a stranger carry groceries, holding open a door, etc.).
- While talking to strangers, make sure to be cautious. Maintain certain boundaries (like privacy) and try to be prudent about social interactions.
In a nutshell, talking to strangers is good for you, provided you carry out such random acts of social interaction in a proper manner. With the right approach, you can effectively reap the mental health benefits of conversing with strangers.