Today I find myself in Biloxi, Mississippi at Keesler Air Force Base.
Admittedly, it was my first time flying alone and I was nervous about missing my flight or getting lost during the layover in Atlanta. Needless to say, I made it safe and sound with no problems whatsoever. I was pleasantly surprised by how friendly the passengers sitting around me were, I half-expected us all to blatantly ignore each other with our headphones in or pretending to nap to avoid conversation.
This was not the case.
All the passengers seated around me engaged in candid conversation with me, and it made the flight more fun at 6:00 a.m.! And for a mere few hours, we became friends only to part ways as we deboarded the plane. Although my experience was pleasant, most people prefer to remain silent during plane rides and keep to themselves.
In part, this could be because we’re wired as children to think “stranger danger” when approached by someone unknown to us. However, striking up conversations with complete strangers proves to have positive benefits such as increasing your mental health. Meaning that connecting with people, engaging in a social interaction, can lead to happiness. Humans experience happiness through social engagements because it satisfies our need to connect to our surrounding social environment.
So, why do strangers often avoid talking to one another? A study conducted in 2014, proposed this exact question:
Connecting with others increases happiness, but strangers in close proximity routinely ignore each other. Why? Two reasons seem likely: Either solitude is a more positive experience than interacting with strangers, or people misunderstand the consequences of distant social connections.
At the end of the study, it was found that
Furthermore, people will turn from communicating due to fear of speaking to a complete stranger. This is not necessarily a bad habit but it can limit a person’s ability to connect which in turn causes isolation. Another reason for being silent is that some people are introverts. Meaning, they prefer to keep to themselves and are typically shy in character but that doesn’t mean they aren’t attentive to their social surroundings.
Keeping yourself open to communication will lead to health benefits, encourage social interactions, and help you met some interesting people along the way.
Warmest Regards & Mahalo