I’m a strong introvert. I often find interactions with people incredibly draining. So I was surprised to learn that research indicates that even brief, positive interactions with strangers can boost our mood. Yes, even for introverts.
It was this episode of the Short Wave podcast that introduced me to this idea:
After listening to it, I thought back over the past few weeks to see if there were any moments that proved them right.
One that sprang to mind is a discussion I had with the guy who came to install blinds in my office at work. We talked at length about COVID-19 supply chain disruptions for his business and the difficulties of staying afloat when so much was shut down. I’d never met the guy before, but he was friendly and the conversation was interesting. I definitely felt good after he left.
Then, a few days after I’d heard the podcast, I was stopped on the trail by a family on bicycles asking for directions. I walked away with a smile and the warm feeling of having helped them get to their destination.
On the other hand, a brief acknowledgement by another walker on the trail doesn’t always have a noticeable effect on my mood.
Still, it seems as if the overall premise is true. Having a positive conversation with a stranger helps me feel better. I’m definitely going to be paying attention to this over the next few weeks to see if this is consistent no matter how stressed I am.
How about you? Do you think positive interactions with strangers lifts your mood?