I recently came upon an intriguing piece in Social Psych Online about the power of short, social interactions to boost our mood and outlook on life. The article was about how a group of commuters were asked to have a conversation with a new person on their train, with the goal of trying to get to know their fellow commuters a little better—even if only for one day.
These didn’t have to be long conversations (certainly no longer than the train ride itself) but those who formed a connection with a stranger on the train said they had significantly more positive experiences, compared to when they kept to themselves. They had a more pleasant commute and felt better overall.
These kinds of short social interactions are referred to as “Social Snacking.” Although we must do this kind of snacking safely right now, don’t discount the power of a short conversation with the grocery store cashier or the person pumping gas next to you to make you feel a little more connected to humanity—and happier because of it.
If the last 12 months have taught us anything, it is that we are part of a much larger community and that when we support each other and encourage each other—even strangers—it helps us press ahead and keep going, even when the going is tough.