Mistakenly Seeking Solitude

Mistakenly Seeking Solitude

Update: 2019-10-08138


Technology allows us to bank, shop and dine without talking to another human, but what toll is this taking on our happiness? The inventor of the ATM and the Talking Heads singer David Byrne join Dr Laurie Santos to explore the ways in which talking to strangers can bring us all genuine joy.  

For an even deeper dive into the research we talk about in the show visit https://www.happinesslab.fm/ 

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Comments (16)

Old man

I tend to enjoy interaction with strangers more than I enjoy interaction with friends and family. It seems that strangers are more polite than people who take you for granted.

Jun 1st
Reply (3)

Old man

handing out snacks on the chatty car... Oh my God no! So people are talking to you, spraying you with bits of food and you get to hear that nasty smacking noise I'm out

Jun 1st

Marzieh Golabbakhsh


Feb 9th
Reply (1)

Tim Yorke

Science? Really? 3 examples in this episode alone. (1) the urban myth that loneliness is equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Errr no. See Tim Harford (another Pushkin stalwart) on why this is a completely bogus use of data. (2) this episode cites the "evidence" of the impact/effect on perceived happiness of introverts and extroverts despite their completely different expectations of how talking to strangers would make them feel. Go back 2 episodes. Cited as foundational to this science is the fact that your expectation about something is wrong and that both bad and good expectations are qualitatively wrong. It won't be as bad or as good as you think. So how can the different expectations of two profoundly different set of expectations generate the same result? One of these bits of alleged science is clearly nonsense. (3) David Byrne helping a fellow passenger in difficulties is cited that talking to strangers makes you happy. OK maybe, but what about the vast number of

Jul 9th


I'm a software engineer and introvert that talks to everyone on planes. 1. software engineers are often less social because the nature of the work often requires deep introspection, is often too complex and abstract to make a good conversation piece with non-software engineers, and it is what tasks up most of our day leaving few other experiences to share with others. 2. I the convenience that is created just isn't being used the way we intended. 3. The news is more to blame for people's hesitance to talk to others because it demonizes the world and pits people against eachother. I began talking to others more when I removed the tv news from my life. 4. The baby boomer generation was so judgmental that it drove a wedge between us and those different than us.

Apr 4th

Lori Huyghe

Hi what is the name of the other podcast you are referring to in the beginning? I cannot find it.

Nov 7th

Ron Johns, Jr

I don't doubt that which religion makes little difference in well being. However, it seems a major benefit of participating in positive congregations of people inflates our "happiness tires." Does your research disagree?

Oct 18th
Reply (2)

Shannon Miller

I actually go in to my local bank to say hi and chat. I use ATMs elsewhere. I also live to visit my local CVS at night to pick things up and chat with the great employees. Bring back the bar cars! 😂🍻

Oct 18th
Reply (1)

Ricardo da Cruz de Carvalho

Hello Laurie It makes sense but as an Aspie just earing that gave me anxiety... Nevertheless sometimes I try it, although I love my solitude and do not struggle at all with it as most neurotypicals. By the way, love your podcast! 😁

Oct 8th
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Mistakenly Seeking Solitude

Mistakenly Seeking Solitude

Pushkin Industries