The Power of “10 Second” Relationships

10 second relationships


Every time we leave our homes, there is opportunity for social interaction.

This is true even if it’s just something small – like talking to the cashier at a grocery store, or saying “Hi” to a neighbor, or complimenting someone’s shirt who you see on the bus or train.

Many of us try to ignore these mini “10 second” relationships. We see them as small and pointless. What’s the use in being friendly to someone if you’re likely never going to see them again?

However, a recent study shows that small talk can improve feelings of belonging and positive emotions. And another study discovered that when we force ourselves to talk with strangers, even when we don’t want to, it still provides an unexpected boost in our overall mood.

We often underestimate how much we need social interaction to feel happy and satisfied with our lives. This includes even the smallest types of socializing.

I like to think of these as “10 second” relationships because that’s the only amount of time you really need to build a positive connection with someone.

Sometimes, you don’t even need to say a single word. Just a smile, a wave, or a nod of the head is enough to tell someone, “I see you and I acknowledge your existence.”

And that can feel good for both the giver and the receiver.

Too often we walk through the world with our heads down, trying to ignore all the people we pass by on a daily basis. We’re surrounded by people, but we feel alone and disconnected.

What if you actually made a small effort to be more social with all of these strangers?

There are many opportunities for these “10 second” relationships. And there’s nothing wrong with starting little interactions with people who you don’t know.

For example, every morning I like to walk my dog and I’m always running into people or passing them by. I try to make it a point to say “Hi” or “Good morning” to everyone.

It doesn’t matter who you are. Young or old. Rich or poor. Attractive or ugly. When it comes to my “10 second” relationships – everyone is the same.

There’s no ulterior motives. I’m not trying to flirt with someone or win them as a friend, I’m just saying “Hi” because they are another human being like me.

When you take this mindset, and you can literally say “Hi” to anyone without hesitation, it transforms you into a much more social person.

And the next time you actually do want to approach a specific person, or flirt with someone, it’s not as big of a deal – because you are already comfortable talking to everyone.

Here’s all it takes to build a “10 second” relationship with someone.


Create more “10 second” relationships:

  • Just say “Hey, how are you?”
  • Smile and wave “Hi.”
  • Hold the door for people.
  • Always say “please” and “thank you.”
  • Give a genuine compliment. (“Nice shirt, I love that band.”)
  • Make an observation. (“I can’t believe it’s snowing in July!”)
  • Crack a joke you recently heard.
  • Start a conversation while waiting (at bus stop, train station, doctor’s office, etc.)
  • Mention a popular current event that’s been going on lately.


A “10 second” relationship could always turn into something more, but the point is that it doesn’t have to. That’s why there is never any pressure. You’re just socializing for the sake of socializing.


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