Better Conversations are possible
Most of us spend time each day surrounded by friends, colleagues, strangers and loved ones, whether that’s on our daily commute, sitting in the park, at home, at work, or visiting the supermarket.
Yet many of us have a self-imposed feeling of isolation. We might say a quick “Hello” but don’t bother to have a better conversation than that. It could be because we believe reaching out to a stranger will make us both feel uncomfortable, that the other person is too busy to talk or we’re each simply consumed with our own thoughts.
These beliefs are unfounded. Research suggests that having regular conversations with others has positive impacts on both lives.
5 Benefits of Better Conversations
- Having a conversation with a stranger may leave you feeling happier. Connecting with others won’t suddenly turn a life of misery into bliss but it can change an unpleasant moment like waiting in line into something more pleasant.
- When you have better, more meaningful conversations with others, you often learn things you didn’t know about. As you ask questions and listen, you pick up on little nuggets of information that help you understand and grow.
- Having conversations keeps you from feeling isolated and depressed. It can help also relieve stress. Simply by opening up to your loved ones when you are having a stressful day, you will feel more relaxed. Connecting with others regularly builds a sense of belonging we all crave.
- You can develop self-confidence by having meaningful conversations. When someone takes the time to listen to you, it shows you that you are valuable. conversations that make you a little uncomfortable also boost your confidence.
- Better conversations can help repair relationships. When you don’t communicate your needs, hurts, wants, desires with the ones you love, it festers and grows and can become irreparable. Taking the time to have a heart-felt open conversation puts you on the path to healing and understanding one another.
Don’t underestimate the power of smiling. A warm smile is your best friend when it comes to trying to start a conversation. A smile is the most important non-verbal cue you can give someone.
Marianne LaFrance, a Yale University psychology professor says in her book Lip Service, a smile creates a subconscious, emotional current in people who see it.
Smiles can be interpreted in a variety of ways such as friendly, mischievous, or as flirtatious. But the most preferred smile is the classic Duchenne smile. Named after the researcher who described it, the Duchenne smile involves moving the major muscle that pulls the corners of the mouth up in combination with the muscles that circle the eyes.
This smile stimulates the reward centers in the brains of people who see it. When you smile this way, people see you as friendly, intelligent, kind, sincere, attractive, and likable. People will unconsciously mirror your body language.
So keep smiling and enjoy better conversations.