Minimal social interactions with strangers predict greater subjective well-being

Günaydın, Gül and Öztekin, Hazal and Karabulut, Deniz Hazal and Salman-Engin, Selin (2021) Minimal social interactions with strangers predict greater subjective well-being. Journal of Happiness Studies, 22 (4). pp. 1839-1853. ISSN 1389-4978 (Print) 1573-7780 (Online)

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Past empirical work has repeatedly revealed that positive social interactions including expressing gratitude and socializing are associated with greater happiness. However, this work predominantly focused on prolonged interactions with close relationship partners. Only a few studies demonstrated hedonic benefits of forming social connections with strangers. The present research investigated whether minimal social interactions with strangers—just taking a moment to greet, thank, and express good wishes to strangers—contribute to happiness of individuals who initiate these interactions. Study 1 (N = 856) provided correlational evidence that commuters who reported engaging in minimal positive social interactions with shuttle drivers experienced greater subjective well-being (life satisfaction and positive affect). Moreover, hedonic benefits of positive social interactions went beyond relatively more neutral social interactions, Big-Five personality factors, and age, speaking to the robustness of the effect. Study 2 (N = 265) provided experimental evidence that commuters who greeted, thanked, or expressed good wishes to shuttle drivers experienced greater momentary positive affect than those who did not speak with drivers. These findings add to the burgeoning literature on hedonic benefits of interacting with strangers by showing that even very minimal social interactions with strangers contribute to subjective well-being in everyday life.
Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Minimal social interactions; Subjective well-being; Positive affect; Life satisfaction; Gratitude expression
Divisions: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > Academic programs > Psychology
Depositing User: Gül Günaydın
Date Deposited: 20 Apr 2021 13:30
Last Modified: 02 Sep 2022 16:16

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