Socializing with strangers may turn that frown upside down - Fox 2 News Headlines

Socializing with strangers may turn that frown upside down

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

New research shows people could actually become happier just by talking to strangers.

“We recommend that you try to strike up a conversation with someone today, maybe it's something that you've never done before, but we recommend that you give it a shot,” said Juliana Schroeder, researcher at University of Chicago.

While most people get on the bus or train and ignore the people around them, researchers at the University of Chicago found that striking up a conversation with someone you don't know may make you happier.

“We're all on our phones, so I don't talk to strangers anymore because I just call people I know,” said one Chicagoan.

Schroeder added, “People seem to be predict that this will be a terrible experience that they'll be very unhappy if they talk to a stranger, but in fact when we ask people to have conversations on trains, buses, cabs even in waiting rooms they actually find it to be a relatively pleasant experience and they actually feel happier afterwards.”

One female commuter said she may be willing to engage in a conversation.

“I could imagine that happening, in comparison to NYC subway it seems that people in Chicago transportation are much friendlier, there are more smiles so I can imagine these people are very nice,” she said.

Schroeder said research shows that social connection makes people happier and healthier, and every day we have opportunities to socialize but people usually pass them up.

“They are not talking because they are plugged into their cell phone, that means that they don't want to have a conversation, when in fact everyone tells us they'd be relatively interested in potentially talking,” she said.

One Chicagoan said while he typically doesn't speak with anyone on the bus, the times he has have been pleasant.

All of a sudden there was this big conversation going on and somebody said I'm looking for an apartment, and somebody was chiming in and I thought I should have brought donuts,” another Chicagoan added.

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