Skip The Small Talk—Research Says Strangers Don’t Really Want It

Despite our hesitance to get deep with strangers, the results of this study suggest deep conversations between strangers were not only less awkward than participants thought they would be, but also more enjoyable, which resulted in stronger feelings of connection between the pairs.

Interestingly, the participants also often assumed strangers wouldn’t be interested in learning about them, when this proved to not be the case. On top of that, participants who had some deep conversations and some shallow ones thought they’d prefer the shallow conversation. Again, not the case.

As professor of behavioral science and study co-author Nicholas Epley, Ph.D. explains in a news release, “People seemed to imagine that revealing something meaningful or important about themselves in conversation would be met with blank stares and silence, only to find this wasn’t true in the actual conversation.”

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