A civil society needs the kindness of strangers and acquaintances
The quality of tiny interactions in shops and streets seriously affects our daily wellbeing. No wonder we’re anxious about it
New research suggests that that how people treat each other – civility – is more important than crime statistics in influencing how people feel about where they live and their sense of belonging. Much of our day-to-day wellbeing is rooted in the granularity of tiny interactions in the shop, on the street and buses. Isolation can be eased by a greeting, anxiety assuaged by friendliness; and the reverse, an irritated or aggressive response can reverberate in someone’s mind for days, and leave lasting damage in how someone might perceive a place. The research found that many said it was the single most important factor in their quality of life.