Let's talk: the useful communication with strangers

The London Underground took a curious action: passengers awarded badges "Tube Chat?" ( "Let's talk?"), Encouraging them to communicate more and be open to others. The British reacted to the idea with a grain of salt, but Oliver Burkeman publicist insists that it makes sense: we feel happier when talking to strangers.

Let's talk: the useful communication with strangers

I know that I risk losing British nationality, when I say that I admire the American act Jonathan Dunn, initiators of the action "Let's talk?". You know how he reacted to the hostile attitude of Londoners to his project? Ordered twice as many badges, she recruits volunteers, and again rushed into battle.

Do not get me wrong: as befits a Briton, the first thing I thought - plant without judgment for those who offer more to communicate with outsiders. But if you think of it, it's still a strange reaction. In the end, the action does not force unwanted conversations: just not ready to communicate, do not wear a badge. In fact, all of the claims are reduced here to any argument: we painfully watch as other passengers uncomfortable lamely trying to establish a dialogue.

But if we are so terrifying view of people on their own are included in ordinary conversation in public, perhaps the problem is not they?

to reject the idea of ​​communication with strangers - then capitulate Hammami

Because the truth, judging by the results of the research of the American teacher, a specialist in communications Kio Stark, is that we really become happier when talking to strangers, even if the pre-sure can not bear it. This topic can be easily displayed on trespass problem brazen street harassment, but Kio Stark immediately makes it clear that it is not about the aggressive invasion of personal space - such actions, she did not approve. In his book, "When there are strangers," she says about what is the best way to deal with unpleasant and annoying forms of interaction between strangers - to promote and develop a culture of relations based on sensitivity and empathy. Reject the idea of ​​communicating with strangers entirely more like a capitulation to the boors. Meeting with strangers (in the right of their incarnation, said Kio Stark) are "beautiful and unexpected stops in the usual, predictable flow of life ... You suddenly have questions, the answers to which, as it seemed, you already know."

In addition to well-founded fear of harassment, the idea is to engage in this kind of talk alienates us, probably because it hides the two common problems that prevent us from being happy.

We follow the rule, even though it does not suit us, because we believe that others approve of it

The first is that we manage to bad "affective forecasting", that is, we can not predict what will make us happy, "Is the game worth the candle." When the researchers asked volunteers to imagine that they began to speak in a train or bus with strangers, those in the majority were horrified. When they were asked to do it in reality, they are much more likely to be recognized that enjoyed the trip.

Another problem - the phenomenon of "plural (multiple) ignorance", due to which we follow any rule, even though it does not suit us, because we believe that others approve of it. Yet others think the same way (in other words, no one believes, but everyone thinks that everyone believes). And it turns out that all the passengers in the car are silent, in fact, some would not mind talking. I do not think that skeptics will satisfy all of these arguments. I myself are hardly convinced, and so my last attempt to communicate with strangers were not very successful. Still, think about about the affective forecasting: studies show that our own forecasts can not be trusted. So you are sure that will never wear a badge "Talk?" Maybe it's just a sign that would be worth.

Source: The Guardian.

About the author: Oliver Burkeman - British writer, author of "The Antidote. An antidote to the unhappy life "(Eksmo, 2014).