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Standing in Line - Accidental Social Interaction

March 05, 2020 2 min read 1 Comment

Standing in Line - Accidental Social Interaction

I'm on my way to Costa Rica for a conference on happiness. Can you imagine a better conference? I'm super excited to be part of the conference, even though my participation is very limited. I'm excited for Beth to present her ideas for Neugroove and I'm excited to visit Costa Rica. 

But first, we have a travel day. A short flight to Houston, a layover for a couple of hours and then another short flight to San Jose. We make it through security quickly with TSA pre-check. A short line at Starbucks, another short line at Chick Fil A.  

I like the airport. I like watching the other travelers. I hear a lot of people complaining about the lines and waiting. Little do they know waiting might be good medicine, if they get a dose of social interaction. 

Some days I don't feel like talking to others. Some days I feel OK, but I'm not sure I feel great. On the days I'm not feeling great and social, I justify it with I'm "introverted" and just don't have the energy today. 

Here's the truth - that's wrong, it's just wrong. Sometimes I feel the same about exercising. On those days, I'm more likely to go and push through. I always feel better when I'm done. 

I try to be a logical thinker, so I did a little research about my introversion justification to avoid social interaction. According to the science, the more social interaction a person avoids, the less happy they are. More social interaction, even with strangers, leads to happier people. 

I've got a lot to work on. I know what some of it is, and while knowing is the first step, it's still really hard. If social interaction is easy for you, you have the potential to help others be happy and improve their wellbeing by initiating an interaction. The other person might not act like they are interested but you'll make an impact. If you are happy, be contagious with it. Don't keep your happiness behind a surgical mask, be emotionally contagious!

Another "neugroove" for me - try and have more social interaction when I feel like avoiding it. I'm not completely giving up my alone time, but I want to be happier and I'm working on that. 


For more information, listen to the episode titled "Mistakenly Seeking Solitude" on the podcast "The Happiness Lab"

1 Response


July 19, 2020

I connect with this in many ways. My introversion requires alone time to recharge but when I am “in the mood” to draw strangers out, I can also end up feeling rejuvenated after having that new connection and feeling as though my effort has a positive impact on them too.

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