Worthy excerpts from NYTimes article by Allie Volpe, published 5.6.19

Why You Need A Network Of Low-Stakes Casual Friendships

“Taking a few minutes to engage with people we see regularly or joining a group — such as a religious group, a sports team or a hobby meetup — has been shown to increase our satisfaction with life.”


“Seeing acquaintances removed from their usual contexts can also help elevate these casual connections into genuine friend territory. A study from 2018 found that people formed a “casual” friendship after spending 30 hours together. While a 20-minute chat with your hairstylist outside the salon is far shy of dozens of hours, the interaction brings you closer to having more common ground.”


“But we’re not necessarily hard-wired for meaningful casual encounters. In his research, Dr. Epley found that people often enjoyed striking up conversations with strangers on their commutes to work, but were not likely to do so because they believed the ride would be more pleasant in silence or assumed the other person wouldn’t find the dialogue interesting.”


Shift your attitudes. Since research suggests talking with strangers is a pleasant experience and leaves us feeling fulfilled, there’s no reason to groan when your Uber driver strikes up a conversation. By altering your expectations around the level of enjoyment these conversations provide — both for you and the other person — you’re more likely to engage in the first place.”