Small Talk and Happiness

What kind of conversations do you have? Are they mostly small talk, or something a little more substantial? A new study examining how conversation connects to happiness concludes that it’s the meaningful talks that will make you happy.

Researchers at the University of Arizona, looked at the different types of conversation that happy and unhappy people participate in. They found that the happiest people engaged in only one-third as much small talk as the unhappiest participants. Happy people tended to have twice as many substantive conversations, and spent 25 percent less time alone.
Researchers had participants wear a recording device for four days, picking up conversations that they had.It sampled 30 seconds of sound every 12.5 minutes, giving researchers a broad range of conversations to examine in terms of “small talk” vs. “deep conversation.”

The study, published in the Journal of Psychological Science, meshes well with established ideas that happiness and social life are intertwined, that maintaining friendships can help with emotional well-being. Bottom line: don’t be too busy to have a meaningful conversation.

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