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More spontaneous conversations make people happier
On social media, people like and follow each other en masse and regularly seek interaction with strangers. In the daily life of the average Dutchman, however, it doesn't seem obvious to have a chat: only a third of millennials regularly have a spontaneous conversation with a stranger, according to our research carried out in collaboration with Multiscope.
Happier and less lonely
Surprisingly enough, there is a great desire for spontaneous conversations: 82 percent would like to chat with a stranger and more than 90 percent think that it would even be good for our society. According to them, it would ensure more mutual understanding and would make the Dutch less lonely. On top of that, 84 percent think it would make Dutch people happier.
Nevertheless, only half (56%) have regular encounters with a stranger. Among millennials, that's only a third (32%). One in three people finds it uncomfortable to start a conversation with a stranger. For 20 percent the discomfort is so great that it stops them from having a chat.
"One in five avoids spontaneous conversation for fear of an uncomfortable situation."
It's striking that the majority (55%) think that the Dutch aren't expecting a spontaneous conversation at all, while 9 out of 10 find it no problem if someone starts a spontaneous conversation with them. 8 out of 10 people would even like it if someone new would start a chat with them.
* Research conducted in collaboration with Multiscope among 1042 respondents in May 2019.