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Hate the small talk? According to new study, it’s actually good for you! 

Every morning you get on that overly crowded subway, train or bus and head to work. For some, the city commute can be the worst part of the day. The last thing you want to do is make small talk about how rainy it’s been with some stranger. Yet according to a new study, that little conversation could do you and that stranger some good. 

The study was published in The Journal of Experimental Psychology and researchers from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business found that even though people think that talking to a random stranger during their morning or evening commute will be a terrible experience, they actually reported greater well-being after doing so.

The study followed Chicago commuters who talked to strangers, sat in solitude or did whatever felt natural to them as they commuted on a train, bus or in a cab. Almost everyone said that they expected that having to talk to a stranger would be totally unpleasant; many wanted to get work done or get a little catnap and thought talking to a stranger would potentially affect their productivity. In fact, even though they didn’t catch up on work, forming that new connection was considered a reasonably productive use of their time.

So how come we so seldom talk to strangers? The researchers found that people generally think that other people have no interest in connecting. It’s pretty much the societal norm to keep to oneself.

These findings could greatly impact people’s well-being and help others not feel so isolated. So...Think you’ll talk to a stranger tomorrow morning?

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