Talking to strangers can be good for your health – The Loveland Reporter-Herald

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I put down my driver’s license a few years ago.

I didn’t realize I was lost until I heard a police siren behind me and pulled over. 47 mph driving 35 mph on Taft heading to Fort Collins.

My fingers trembled as the officer waited and searched my wallet, purse and gloves for my license.

where did he go

A ticket and fine prompted a quick trip to the DMV office.

I took a number and sat down, hoping to spend time talking to the people in the waiting room.

I was desperate.

Others in the waiting room are looking at their phones or plugged into headphones.

And this was before covid. Before social distancing and masks.

When did we stop talking?

Have we stopped talking to the person in line with us at Starbucks or the subway?

Do we stop talking to other parents when we see our children or grandchildren in the playground?

And what about sharing “ripeness tips” with other supermarket shoppers when we’re trying to pick cantaloupe?

Why does it matter if we talk to them?

It is important if we are concerned about physical and mental health.

Researchers at the University of Chicago found it Until then, most of us don’t realize how much we enjoy socializing.

These researchers feel comfortable talking to only 7% of the subjects in their research in the waiting room.

However, additional research over the years has shown that when these subjects are encouraged to socialize, they are surprised by how much they enjoy such interactions.

Short interactions are essential if we want to be happy.

Across the pond at the University of Essex, researcher Gillian Sunström, PhD, also claims that small social interactions – such as at the supermarket – make us happier.

You can listen to one of Dr. Gillian’s podcasts at bit.ly/3CGupgR.

I find it easier to talk to baristas – or pharmacy technicians.

Maybe it was because when our family moved to Loveland decades ago, it seemed rude not to talk.

Being friendly and communicating was a way of life.

And besides, it was fun meeting new people.

But modern technology—texts, GPS, e-mail, computerized answering services—have made it easier to get through the day without having to talk to a human.

I found myself hiding behind this technology. Some days I’ve been out of touch with people on the phone.

“Am I cutting them off from something important?” I ask myself.

“Would you like to hear from me—if only to chat?” So, I’ll send an email instead.

But text messages and emails aren’t as satisfying as a good conversation.

A text cannot take the place of shared laughter during a phone call. Or deep depression.

Even the most creative emojis can’t replace the emotions that come to life in conversations.

Phone calls with family and friends are the highlights of my life.

As Covid throws a monkey wrench into our social fabric, I hope we return to one of life’s joys – conversation.

Readers, are you comfortable with casual conversation?

Do they make you happy?

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