The Surprising Benefits of Talking to Strangers

By Joe Keohane at The Atlantic:

[Psychologist Gillian Sandstrom] was raised in Canada by extroverts who loved talking with strangers. One day, Sandstrom, who had always considered herself an introvert, realized that she always looked down when she walked along the street. “I thought, Well, that’s dumb,” she says. So she started holding eye contact with people and found that it actually felt pretty good. Before long, she was talking with strangers too. She was surprised at how easy and fun it was. Once, on the subway, she saw a woman holding a box of elaborately decorated cupcakes and asked about them. “I don’t know how the conversation got there, but she taught me that humans can ride ostriches,” Sandstrom says. “That was just a delightful conversation. I wanted to do it again.”