Make new friends. As a child, you were probably warned to stay away from strangers – but for adults, that cautionary advice is no longer entirely apropos. “Connecting with new people expands your world, emphasizing what you have in common”. It’s a way to learn new things and feel less alone. And it’s easier than you might think : A 2011 Journal of Experimental Social Psychology found that strangers communicate as effectively as spouses. Start with these tips :
- Test the waters : Smile and say hello to the woman checking out behind you at the grocery store or working out on the neighboring elliptical at the gym. Follow it up with an open-ended question or comment : “Any special recipes for that spaghetti squash?” at the gym. Even if they don’t reciprocate, you’ll still benefit.” You’re exercising your ‘rejection survival’ muscle, and will become more comfortable taking risks, which can extend to other areas of your life.”
- Pay someone a compliment : Recent research found that giving somebody a gift releases brain chemicals that promote a feeling of trust and happiness for both giver and receiver. The good news? “A compliment counts as a gift”. So make a stranger’s day by telling her you love her shoes or hairstyle.
- Practice random acts of kindness : Doing something sweet for a stranger also increases one’s overall life satisfaction. You might even start a trend : “Observing strangers helping each other out makes us want to do the same. Simply hold the door open for someone, and see what new doors it opens for you.