Want to be happier? Try less tweeting, and more meeting. Experts say it’s becoming more common for people to communicate with each other these days using cell phones, email, Twitter and Facebook. But with each new technology that comes along, meaningful conversation drops, and our happiness goes with it.
What makes for a “meaningful conversation”? Most psychologists define it as face-to-face talking, where people are sincere and authentic. And that doesn’t include “small talk” about the weather.
A recent study found that happy people generally engage in twice as many meaningful conversations as less happy people. And previous research has suggested that the key to a happy life is to be social not solitary.
Now think about the last time you rode on a crowded bus or train. You probably saw people going out of their way to avoid conversation. But know this: Experts say total strangers can provide the most meaningful conversations. That’s because strangers are more willing to open up. After all, you probably won’t see each other again.
As an experiment, psychologist Michael Serota talked to at least one new stranger a day. After he introduced himself, he focused on asking these three questions:
#1: What’s on your mind today?
#2: What are the biggest challenges you’re facing?
And #3: What would you like to change in your life?
Serota says most of the strangers he talked to welcomed the chance to open up and get things off their chests! And according to this report, the more real conversations you have, the happier you’ll feel.