Talking to strangers 與陌生人聊天

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我們中的許多人每天都有一部分時間被陌生人包圍著,無論是在上下班的路上,還是坐在公園或咖啡館裡……但他們和我們只保持著陌生人的關係。然而,新的研究證據表明,與新認識的人開始一段對話可能對健康大有益處。本文討論與陌生人交談的好處。

Vocabulary: mental health 詞彙: 心理健康

『It’s good to talk’, so some people say. When I commute into London, there are certainly plenty of people conversing on their mobile phones – sometimes too loudly – discussing and sharing personal details with a friend. For me, it’s strange that they talk as though the person is sitting next to them, when they don’t even acknowledge the person who is actually sitting beside them.

Many of us spend part of each day surrounded by strangers, whether on our daily commute, or sitting in a park or a cafe. But most of them remain just that – strangers. However, new evidence has shown that plucking up the courage to strike up a conversation might be good for our health.

Nicholas Epley from the University of Chicago and Juliana Schroeder from the University of California are behavioural scientists. They looked at this silent relationship and whether solitude is a more positive experience than interacting with strangers, or if people misunderstand the consequences of distant social connections. They found that many people feel uncomfortable and intimidated talking to others and their research suggested that when we make an initial conversation 「we consistently underestimate how much a new person likes us.」 It seems we carry a negative voice in our head telling us all the things that could go wrong and why someone wouldn’t want to converse with us.

Their research involved an experiment with a group of Chicago commuters and found that 「every participant in our experiment who actually tried to talk to a stranger found the person sitting next to them was happy to chat.」 From this and other research, the conclusion is that connecting with strangers is surprisingly pleasant and it has a positive impact on our wellbeing. Gillian Sandstrom, a social psychologist from Essex University in the UK, told the BBC that 「people are in a better mood after they reach out and have a conversation, however minimal.」 It’s true that talking can make you feel happier and happiness can lead to better mental health.

However, if you’re an introvert, the thought of speaking to someone new might make you anxious. But the American research found 「both extroverts and introverts are happier when they are asked to behave in an extroverted manner.」 So maybe, if you’re a loner, it’s time to come out of your shell and make some small talk with a stranger – it could be the beginning of a new friendship.

詞彙表

converse 交談,對話
pluck up the courage 鼓起勇氣
strike up 開始(交談)
solitude 獨處
interact 交往,交流
social connections 社會關係
uncomfortable 不舒服的,難受的
intimidated 發怵的,害怕的
underestimate 低估
negative voice (頭腦裡)負面的聲音,消極的思想
chat 聊天
connect with 與……建立良好的關係
wellbeing 健康
mood 心情
introvert 性格內向的人
anxious 焦慮的
extroverts 性格外向的人
come out of your shell 變得不再自閉,融入外部世界
(make) small talk 閒聊,寒暄

測驗與練習

1.  閱讀課文並回答問題。

1. According to the article, how can talking to a stranger be better for our health?

2. Why might we not want to speak to a stranger?

3. True or false? Commuters in Chicago involved in a social experiment found that people they sat next to were willing to talk to them.

4. In another experiment, in what way did introverts behave that made them happier?

5. What could help start the beginning of a new friendship?

2. 請在不參考課文的情況下完成下列練習。選擇一個意思合適的單詞填入句子的空格處。

1. Our train broke down and we were stuck on board for hours, so I decided to _______ a conversation with the other passengers.

interacting                     connecting                        strike up                       small talk

2. We _______ how much it would cost to move house and now we’re broke!

underestimate              underestimated                 underestimating            underestimates

3. When I started university, I was _______ by the clever and talented people I was surrounded by – but now most of them are my friends.

anxious                         introverted                         intimidated                    negative voice

4. Our intern was quite nervous when he started but now he’s _______ and fits in really well.

come out of his shell     coming out of his shell      came out of his shell     shelled out

5. Dan is definitely an _______ – every time we go out, he’s the first to get up and sing at the karaoke bar!

introvert                         negative voice                   extrovert                        mood

答案

1.  閱讀課文並回答問題。  

1. According to the article, how can talking to a stranger be better for our health?
Talking to strangers can put you in a good mood and make you feel happier, and happiness can lead to better mental health.

2. Why might we not want to speak to a stranger?
We carry a negative voice in our head telling us all the things that could go wrong and why a stranger wouldn’t want to converse with us.

3. True or false? Commuters in Chicago involved in a social experiment found that people they sat next to were willing to talk to them.
True. An experiment with a group of Chicago commuters found that 「every participant in our experiment who actually tried to talk to a stranger found the person sitting next to them was happy to chat.」

4. In another experiment, in what way did introverts behave that made them happier?
American research found 「both extroverts and introverts are happier when they are asked to behave in an extroverted manner.」

5. What could help start the beginning of a new friendship?
Reaching out and making small talk with a stranger could be the beginning of a new friendship.

2. 請在不參考課文的情況下完成下列練習。選擇一個意思合適的單詞填入句子的空格處。

1. Our train broke down and we were stuck on board for hours, so I decided to strike up a conversation with the other passengers.

2. We underestimated how much it would cost to move house and now we’re broke!

3. When I started university, I was intimidated by the clever and talented people I was surrounded by – but now most of them are my friends.

4. Our intern was quite nervous when he started, but now he’s come out of his shell and fits in really well.

5. Dan is definitely an extrovert – every time we go out, he’s the first to get up and sing at the karaoke bar!