The importance of small talk: the big health benefits of ‘weak ties’

13 January 2022

Associate Professor Fiona Barlow from UQ's School of Psychology spoke to MindFood about the importance of small talk. 

“A lot of our health and wellbeing comes from feeling we are part of a supportive larger group,’’ Dr Barlow said.

“What the literature suggests is in fact that everyday positive and pleasant interactions with people we only know incidentally, or people who we may not get deep and meaningful with, can actually have a really positive effect in terms of how we feel."

Which is why we miss the cheery hello from John from Accounts and a brief word with the lady from yoga whose name you don’t know but whose family and dog you know all about.

And why does it feel so good that your barista knows your order by heart, greets you by name and asks about your holiday plans that you mentioned to him last week?

“It makes you feel special, it makes you feel cared for, it makes you feel part of a community and we love that and we need that,’’ says Dr Barlow.

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