Monday, October 24, 2022

How those little social interactions in choir make your happier

We’re often told of the many benefits to our physical and mental health of singing together.

What is not often mentioned is the benefit of the many small social interactions that occur.

There was a fascinating article in The Guardian recently: Forget marriage – if you really want to be happy, spend more time with strangers.

It said that “Nothing lifts morale more reliably than talking to lots of casual acquaintances. Or, as Harvard researchers call them, ‘weak ties’.”

‘Weak ties’ are “all the people you encounter in your daily life, from friends and family to the vaguely familiar faces you interact with on your commute, in cafes, in the street, at the gym.” They form part of your ‘social portfolio’.

Recent research has shown that “the relational diversity in one’s social portfolio—the relative diversity of relationship types across one’s social interactions—is an important predictor of well-being.”

The greater the variety of the people you interact with is more important than how long you spend with them. Chatting with a wide range of different types of people has a huge impact, even if the interactions are short and irregular.

Which brings us to choirs …

Of course, many long-term friendships are formed at choir, but most of our relationships with other choir members are ‘weak ties’. We chat with a range of people each week who we might not see between rehearsals.

Or perhaps we go on a singing weekend and catch up briefly with someone we met a couple of years ago. Or we go to a local singing day and chat with a whole new set of people we’ve not met before.

The more diverse our ‘social portfolio’ is, the happier we will be. Which means it would benefit us to go to singing workshops that we don’t normally go to. There will then be a greater chance of meeting a diverse range of people.

You might find this post of interest too: The social side of singing: any excuse for a tea break!

Sing with others, chat in the tea break, and be happier!

Chris Rowbury


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