UberPool is not only changing the way we travel through reduced fares, pollution and carbon but changing the way we connect, by matching us with strangers! It is also providing us with an amazing opportunity to get social and increase our feelings of wellbeing in many ways. Why is this important? Studies show that we have lost our ultrasociality – a source of happiness in humans. Chronic loneliness afflicts one in three Americans and takes a severe toll on health. So here are my five reasons why we should make the most of UberPool, because it is awesome.
1. Small talk is good for us.
By opening up and chatting with our fellow rider/s we can boost our feelings of wellbeing! Even micro moments of positive interaction promote positive health benefts.
2. A short casual conversation, with a stranger, where we play the “interested inquirer” gives us a chance to cultivate curiosity.
Curiosity is good for us too. It grows our empathy and makes us more open to others who we perceive as different from us. Happiness guru Martin Seligman identifies it as a key character strength that can enhance life satisfaction.
3. Humans are hard wired to be pro social.
Helping others brings the same pleasure we get from the gratification of personal desire. So when you ask your fellow rider for a little advice about, say, the best local restaurant, not only could you find out where the finest steak in town is served, which will increase your happiness if you go there and eat it, you will also increase their happiness as well.
4. It is likely that some people you come across will become part of your wide ranging social network.
Research suggests that job seekers who have wide-ranging weak ties are actually more likely to be successful in their search than those who have stronger close relationships. So you could find yourself in your dream job! How great for your wellbeing is that!
5. Increasing our personal networks with weaker ties also gives us a broader range of social roles, which increases our feelings of self worth and lowers stress and anxiety levels.
What we need to know is do most fellow riders really feel like connecting? My answer is yes. Both extroverts and introverts get a boost out of interacting with people, even if it is not known yet whether a simple interaction, such as in a cab, provides just as powerful a boost as speaking with a friend.
However, before you launch into conversation you might want to remember a few basic things, just in case. When is it cool to interact and when is it annoying? The key to success here is the ability to read body language.
So when should you interact with someone? When their body is relaxed and open, they are turned towards you, they smile a lot, mirror you a little, make eye contact and their language flows. Notice also if they are listening and asking relevant questions.
And when should you not interact with someone? Well, that’s easy to figure out, they will be the opposite of the above. Their body will be tense, closed and turned away, very little or no eye contact will be made, their voice will be flat and monotone and they will speak in clipped sentences.
Obviously not all interactions are going to be positive, we all have bad days. It is important not to take offence. Who knows what goes on in another’s life. They could simply be somewhere else due to everyday stress. If only they knew that by connecting with others they could feel a whole lot better
Featured photo credit: bfishadow via flickr.com