"There are genuine emotional benefits when we connect with strangers," says our guest, Kio Stark. These fleeting interactions are important interruptions in the steady routine of our lives. "They bring connectedness and belonging."
Kio is the author of "When Strangers Meet: How People You Don't Know Can Transform You." Her popular TED Talk has received more than 1,450,000 views. "My own interactions with strangers resonate with meaning for me," she writes in her book. "You find questions whose answers you thought you knew. You reject the ideas that make us so suspicious of each other."
"We live in pretty insular ways," Kio tells us in this episode of "How Do We Fix It?" "When you talk to somebody who is different than you, you are forced to see this person as an individual in a way that you wouldn't have done before."
This speaks to our divided politics at a time when it is often far to easy to vilify people we don't agree with. Being more open to people of different races, social class and age groups can open us up to surprising moments of pleasure and transformative possibilities.
Kio explains how shy, frightened or suspicious people can benefit from being more open to briefly allowing strangers into their lives. We discuss how dogs and babies can make it easier to speak with people you don't know.
"There's an amazing power in being seen. We live in cities we don't see each other," Kio tells us. "When you are seen, when you notice someone is acknowledging you it's a momentary bond."