One of the most read articles on NYTimes.com the past few days has been this one on the correlation between happiness and substantive conversations. This study found that people for whom substantive conversations -- rather than small talk -- made up a greater proportion of their total conversations rate themselves happier.
The author of the study on the reasons for this:
But, he proposed, substantive conversation seemed to hold the key to happiness for two main reasons: both because human beings are driven to find and create meaning in their lives, and because we are social animals who want and need to connect with other people.From Talk Deeply, Be Happy?
In the comments follow this article, one reader tried to draw a connection between social media and the substance of conversations, noting that this is perhaps why interactions on Twitter and Facebook don't make people happier.
Of course it's just a causation but it is interesting to see evidence backing up what I have felt in my interactions with people.
Reading this, naturally I reviewed the substantive conversations I have had in Denmark. So there it was. The cause of the general dis-ease I have felt the past weeks coincides with the lack of conversations I've had the last couple weeks. It's not because the initial excitement of being in a new place has mellowed that I've been feeling drab. During the first few weeks I certainly met new people and made small talk with them but I also managed some really insightful conversations. Somehow this dried up in recent weeks while the stream of parties, dinner parties, and sightseeing trips Århus continued.
Don't get me wrong, I have many friends in Århus, friends whose hospitality I have and will depend on in the future, friends who invite me to their dorms for dinner, friends with whom I've drunk vodka, which apparently makes us good friends, so some Polish guys have been trying to tell me... but I've miss some element of the weeks before.
I want to know more than how to say cheers in their language.