Talking to new people can lead to making new connections and learning interesting things, and simply makes both you and the person you talk with happier. Yet many of us have a very difficult time striking up a conversation with strangers. Why is this?
My guest today has done studies to find out. Her name is Gillian Sandstrom and she’s a professor of social psychology at the University of Essex. Gillian’s research has explored both why people have such a hard time talking to strangers, and why it’s beneficial to do so. Today we dig into common barriers to talking to new people, including the “liking gap,” where we believe people find us less interesting than they do. We then talk discuss the benefits of talking to strangers (which go for both introverts and extroverts), and Gillian’s best tips for getting better at it.
- Why are people uncomfortable talking with strangers?
- Do different cultures/places/situations have different norms towards talking with strangers?
- The role of introversion vs extraversion in making small talk
- The “liking” gap
- What’s really happening when a conversation goes poorly?
- Why to keep giving random conversations a try, even if most are merely okay
- The benefits of small talk
- So how do you get started in this endeavor of talking with strangers?
- The power of compliments
- On following your own curiosity