Laughter helps strangers connect
Laughing among strangers might be the key to making more friends, a new study finds.
Researchers found that when people who didn’t know each other watched a movie together that caused them to laugh, they divulged more intimate information than those in a control group. While observers noticed that these individuals contributed more information, study participants were not aware they had shared more personal details.
“This seems to be in line with the notion that laughter is linked specifically to fostering behaviors that encourage relationship development, since observer ratings of disclosure may be more important for relationship development than how much one feels one is disclosing,” says Alan Gray, lead study author.
Laughter helps people in stress management groups connect with each other, says Nick French, family therapist with Advocate Medical Group—Behavioral Health in Park Ridge, Ill.
“I will see complete strangers talk about what ails them, what makes them anxious,” says French. “And, then there is always a moment someone else says they do the same thing. They will laugh at the habit they share and suddenly these two people just get each other.”
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