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It may feel odd, but in some parts of the country (like Portland, OR, or most of the South), talking to people you meet throughout your day is actually a normal experience.The more you practice, the more natural it will become.And you don’t have to become best friends with these folks—in fact, chances are, you’ll never see most of them again.
At first, this felt very forced, and often awkward.
With this, the initial seed was planted— but the turning point (and the idea for the Experiment) didn’t come until I found myself re-reading surgeon Atul Gawande’s fantastic book, Better.
In the Afterword, he gives advice to medical students on how they can make a worthy difference in their patients’ lives.
And I wondered if I could combine what we were learning from scientific literature in a way that also made my “machine” feel less “machine-like.” So I decided to see if asking a question and making a genuine social connection in my daily life would help mitigate my stress.
Starting in January, the Great Social Experiment was born.
And most were happy to share this brief moment of social connection with me.