It’s no secret that it gets harder and harder to make friends as you get older. In school, you see the same group of people five days a week, do the same thing and share the same enemy (a.k.a the teacher), so not making a connection with at least one person is almost impossible.
True, it’s the same for work, where you meet more or less the same people every day, but with never-ending deadlines and pointless office politics, most co-workers rarely form a friendship outside of the 9-to-5 grind.
Fret not, there is hope yet. According to a study by the Oxford University Department of Experimental Psychology, singing has proven to be extremely effective in bringing groups of people closer within a short amount of time.
Working with UK charity organisation Workers’ Educational Association, researchers separated adults into three groups that took part in different classes: Singing, arts and crafts and creative writing. The adults were surveyed before and after, as well as in the first, third and seventh month of the experiment, to rate how close they felt to their classmates.
The results were surprisingly clear. “The difference between the singers and the non-singers appeared right at the start of the study,” noted research leader Dr Eiluned Pearce. “In the first month, people in the singing classes became much closer to each other over the course of a single class than those in the other classes did. Singing broke the ice better than the other activities, getting the group together faster by giving a boost to how close classmates felt towards each other right at the start of the course.”
While bonding between people usually occurs during individual interactions, singing, however, is able to break the ice in large groups without one-to-one time. If you think about it, this makes sense. Synchronised activities, like collective singing and team sports, give people a common goal, compared to creative writing and crafts that are more independent projects. Plus, music in general is known to stimulate happiness and soothe anxiety — like the anxiety you might feel when meeting someone new.
So, if you’re meeting the boyfriend’s bros this weekend or planning an office bonding day - skip the awkward small-talk phase and jump straight to being BFFs by heading to your nearest KTV lounge.