Meet The Medium

Stories are a fundamental part of culture and society. The influence of storytelling is weaved throughout all aspects of life. It’s movies, books, media, religion, art, history, etc. It defines our values, dreams, desires, imagination and even our biases and preconceptions.

I imagine the first story was told by an ancient primitive hunter in the shadowy hollows of a cave by a flickering fire.
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(Imagine that’s where you are as you read this story)
Anyway, point is, stories are cool, stories are important and Chatous is for stories. Everyone has one. Chatous is an easy place to share yours.
This is a story that I found particularly intriguing as it involves the supernatural.

Now, allow me to recount for you the events that took place on that fateful day in January when ‘Stranger’ and I matched on Chatous.
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I was actually just testing a new version of the app that day (new features to come, yay!) and not really looking for a conversation, mainly just trolling peeps with random pics of my keyboard to test the media features. That’s when I happened upon a 21 year old girl from Massachusetts whose screen name was “Stranger”… how ominous.
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Disclaimer: This story contains supernatural material, wizardry, and black magic. It may not be suitable for non-believers. But basically, if you like Harry Potter (or Long Island Medium) you’ll probably dig this story.
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One of my hashtags in  my bio is #ghoststories, so Stranger asked me if I had any good ghost stories. I took a quick break from testing the app to engage in a convo about the supernatural. I told her a story and she seemed unimpressed. All she wrote back was “Interesting” so I said,
“What are your ghost stories then…”
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(super sassy)
And then she completely one upped me with an incredibly outrageous story that may or may not be true but should definitely be made into a movie.

She started off by telling me that she’s a medium. We talked about what seeing dead people is like… “Are ghosts nice?” “Are you friends with any ghosts?” “Do they look more like Casper or like Slimer from Ghostbusters?” – Just run of the mill Q’s you might ask a medium, you know?
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Then I asked her if she had always been able to communicate with the dead…and that’s where the real story begins.

She told me that when she was younger she fell extremely ill, she had cancerous tumors in her brain and lungs. Doctors were trying everything but nothing seemed to work. She also didn’t have a mom or dad. Full of hopelessness and desperation to survive she turned to the dark side.
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She said, “I took matters into my own hands. I delved into the occult. Yes, it was an incredibly stupid thing to do. I practiced for 3 years until things got bad. I ended up concurring something I even today can’t describe. It took a toll on me everyday until the day came I couldn’t take it anymore. I was tired of the attacks, of the things it would tell me. I needed help.”
Stranger then proceeded to tell me that she visited every church known to man to see if anyone could help rid her of this evil.
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Obviously a scary story is nothing without some mention of a catholic priest (or Anthony Hopkins), amiright?
No one could help her, most people turned her away and called her crazy. She felt like she had no one.
Until one day…
“Then I met the person I call my savior. She practices a different and old form of ‘magic’… She literally grabbed my arm at the grocery store and said ‘I can help you.’ “

At this point in the story I was like….
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Stranger’s mystery savior taught her everything she knew about this ancient form of magic and slowly, day by day, stranger began to feel sicker and sicker. Mystery savior told her that it was the evil leaving her body. Getting weaker by the day, Stranger’s doctors told her that she had less than 3 months to live.

One day she woke up cold as ice and couldn’t get out of bed, her friend rushed her to the hospital and she was pronounced dead at 6:47 am
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(Actual snippet from convo)
She continued… “During my ‘death’ I saw the light (yes it exists) and as I was going towards it I knew it wasn’t my time. I looked down at my vessel and at my dear friend and I looked back. What I saw… was beautiful beyond words. To this day I’ve never seen anything more beautiful but if you look into the eyes of a new born you can see a glimmer of what it is.”
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“Gaze into my eyesss”

Stranger said she felt something pulling her back and then she awoke inside her body…but something was different. She explained, “When I woke up I didn’t just see my friend. I saw everyone that was in there. I saw my mother, I saw an old man, I saw a child and I realized that this was my consequence. I asked my friend (who was in shock since I had been dead for 20 minutes) if she could see them and she looked at me puzzled and said she was the only one there.”
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Stranger explained that her consequence for delving so deeply into the occult was that she “was to always walk the fine line of life and death.”
She said, “I had to die to give myself to the grace of the higher being. And they rewarded me with a new life but as their servant.”
AND THEN…the docs came back in and examined her. The cancer was completely GONE.
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The end.
Stranger and I still talk, she’s awesome. We’re friends. She still hasn’t told me her name though.

I’ve met some pretty cool and interesting people through Chatous (a lonely boy at an orphanage in the Ukraine, a fashion student in paris, an artist from Brazil, a farmer in Indonesia, etc.) but Stranger told me the wildest story of all and I had to share that experience with the Chatousphere. Whether this really happened to Stranger or she thought up a really good story, the world will never know, but either way it was a magical adventure and that’s the beauty of a story.

What’s your story?

Add me on Chatous @andifromchatous – tell me your story. Holla!
#shareyourstory

Ask Not What You Can Do For Social Media But What Social Media Can Do For You

There are so many different types of social media out there for so many different things and people. There’s social networks, anonymous messaging apps, social news, dating apps, bookmarking sites, etc…
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200I think its easy to forget what the point of it all was in the first place. Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t it to make us all feel more connected?
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What does it even mean to “be connected?” Does it mean you’re connecting when you see/like/comment on an album or  photo or a status update or tweet? Does it mean you’re connecting when you post a photo or status or tweet?
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Sometimes, when it comes to social media, the only thing I want to connect is my fist to the computer screen. I’m talking pointless statuses, exaggerated self importance, selfie after selfie…the list goes on.
 Is all that really connection or is it narcissism and self promotion?
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I call this piece “Aggressively Liking Stuff”

Even the word “network” has a negative connotation. Networking feels as though you’re befriending someone because eventually you want something from them. When you think about it though, isn’t that why we post pictures and updates, etc.? Because we want likes and validation and affirmation? We want so much from these sites that we’ve even come to rely on them for a sense of belonging that they can’t fully provide.
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Connection and bonding are inherent human needs. I’m serious! Look it up. So what happens when we’re presented with a false sense of belonging? We become lonelier and instead become connected with these sites themselves, rather than our friends who use them. Then, that can turn into a deadly addiction. Okay, maybe not deadly, but probably not healthy.
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(Don’t get me wrong, I certainly don’t abstain from social media. I might even be guilty of a shameless(ful?) selfie or two. It can be fun and it’s satisfying when your “friends” and followers like or comment on your postings…but that’s not to be confused with connection and belonging.)
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Then there’s recently popular anonymous messaging apps which seek to solve the problem of inauthenticity by allowing users to be anonymous. This gives users the freedom to be candid and express themselves in way that they aren’t able to on their public profiles. That’s great! Until people use it for gossip and bullying and start sharing gruesomely personal information. Also, when people are anonymous they say some really weird stuff…
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TBH, I don’t feel connected to any of these people with weird anonymous statuses…

To me connection means engaging in an authentic and meaningful dialogue with someone whom you may or may not know. This is rare these days. How often do you stop someone on the street and really get to know them?  How often do you engage with someone on a social media site and get to know who they really are instead of their carefully scripted online persona?
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Maybe these social networks have distracted us from what’s really important — true friends that we can really be ourselves with.
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Spongebob and Patrick — a friendship that transcends space, time and social media.

— Enter Chatous –One app to rule them all.
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In a one on one conversation without a public profile it’s a bit easier to be yourself and speak your mind. One user told me Chatous was like having an interactive online diary. A place you can go to share yourself and your life and learn from others along the way. I might be biased…okay I’m definitely biased, but to me a place that fosters and encourages this type of “connecting” is truly unique in a world of constant and unending social interaction.
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Although Chatous might not have as many users as other social media sites, that doesn’t make it irrelevant.

Can I interest anyone in a dose of reality?

The truth is it doesn’t matter how many users you have or how many followers you have or how many likes you get. What matters is the quality of your interactions. If even just two people met on Chatous and found a meaningful relationship, I’d consider that a success.
Take, for example, this blog, if the two people who read it (my mom and one other user) find it enjoyable, then I’ve done my job.
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Chatous is about enriching your life. Your life becomes enriched through connection. I’m serious! Look it up.
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Just in case you were confused by any of this, I made this helpful infographic.
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Now get out there and connect!

How To: Make Friends (With Gifs)

If you’re like me then you’re probably tired of talking to yourself. Making friends is hard. Especially IRL, on Chatous it’s a little easier since everyone is also there to make friends. Plus, you can practice your real life social skills and make awesome online friends along the way.
Here are some tried and true tips on friend-making so you don’t miss out on your future Biffle.
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First let’s talk about what a friend is:
giphy-3F is for Friends who do things together

A Friend is Someone Who:
  • Listens to you
  • Laughs at your dumb jokes (This is crucial, all my jokes are dumb)
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  • Empathizes with you
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  • You can tell anything to
  • Is honest with you
  • You never run out of things to talk about with
  • You have inside jokes with
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  • Tolerates your incessant complaining
  • Is amused by and/or interested in your weird interests (Aliens, ghosts, alternate realities)

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Holla if you like weird stuff


Many of you who have social anxiety like myself are probably wondering “Who needs friends when you have Netflix?”
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Well, let me tell you why friends are important:
  • They can improve your mood
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  • They encourage you to do things that inspire you OR dumb stuff that will get you in trouble but will still probably be really fun
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  • Support you in tough times
  • Friends can help you know yourself better and shape who you become
  • Friends alleviate loneliness
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Making friends on Chatous
There is no right or wrong way to make a friend.
These are just a few tips so you can brush up on your Chattiquette.

Check your Chattitude at the door
Chatous is for finding friends, not bullying or offending someone else’s culture or lifestyle. For those of you who do this I only have this to say to you:
“I have are a very particular set of skills, skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you stop trolling now, that’ll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don’t, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will ban you.”
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Liam Neeson is my spirit animal

Trolling
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Speaking of trolls…trolling can be fun from time to time, who doesn’t love a little trollish behavior. Just make sure you’re not offending someone with your troll ways. Who knows, you might meet your troll soulmate (trollmate) .
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Me trolling someone on Chatous. (I’m the blue)

Do’s and Don’ts of Online Friend Making
  • DO ask open ended questions.

On Chatous I usually like to ask people questions about where they live and how they like it, what they do for fun etc. and then see how it compares to where I live and the things I do. For example: “What do you like about living in antarctica? What do you do for fun? What was it like being raised by polar bears?” You never know what you could have in common with an Antarctican(?) raised by Polar Bears.(This is exhibit A of a dumb joke that only a friend would laugh at..and maybe not even then.)

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  • DON’T ask for a pic first thing. It’s plain rude.

There’s a reason Chatous doesn’t have profile pics. We want to encourage people to get to know each other for who they are, not what they look like. After you get to know someone it’s socially acceptable to ask, but asking first thing is a blatant violation of the unspoken laws of the Chatousphere.

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  • DO send pics of a view from your window or the street.

I love getting photos like this. It gives me a sense of my new friends life. This is the pic I like to send so people have an idea of where I live and what I do. (AKA drink champagne on rooftops and troll Chatous in my spare time)

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  • DON’T Just use Chatous for meeting a gf/bf.

It’s not a dating site. There’s more to life people. Sure people meet all the time on Chatous and fall in love and its really cute blah blah (see: A Controversial Love Story) but if you’re using it for the sole purpose of online dating, you could be missing out on meeting some really interesting friends.

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  • DO Share media.

I love sending gifs (obviously) and memes and YouTube vids to my new friends, it’s fun to bond over something hilarious and get an idea of someone else’s sense of humor. Here are a few of my fav YouTube vids ATM:

Rob Cantor’s Shia LeBeouf – Epic

Three Beat Slide – Can’t tell if they’re trolling or serious

Drunk Kitchen – Classic


  • DO Find things you have in common.

Talk about music, sports, food, culture, hobbies, etc. Finding someone in another part of the world who likes some of the same stuff you do is such a cool feeling.

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Seeeee? Making friends isn’t too hard. Just follow these simple steps for a bustling social life. You can work on your real life social skills some other time. Your online friends are waiting for you.
Yours truly,
@andifromchatous
Be my friend! Please?!

I would like to amend this blog with another “Don’t.”
  • DON’T beg people to be your friend…It’s unbecoming. Oops.
But for real. Add me.
okiloveyoubye.

A Controversial Love Story

What’s better than a love story? Obviously, a controversial love story.
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A great love story usually involves forbidden love, a social messaging app, and vampires.
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[Edward Cullen on Chatous]
So buckle up because this baby has all of the above. Okay, maybe not all of those things, but most of those things.
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A while back I received an e-mail from a very grateful user. Her name is Lindsay and she wanted to thank the Chatous Team for changing her life. Naturally, I wanted to know more. So I reached out to her and asked her how her life had changed.This is Lindsay’s story:
From the outside looking in Lindsay had everything going for her. She’s 25 years old, born and raised in Louisiana, excelling in nursing school, she has supportive family and friends, a steady job and she was engaged. Only problem was, she was engaged to the wrong person.
“We had known each other basically our whole lives and he was my highschool sweetheart, our families and our lives were so intertwined… it felt like the thing I should do. But it didn’t feel like the right thing to do.” Lindsay told me.
(Hopefully you’re reading the quotes with a Southern accent.)
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She had a lot going on and didn’t know who she could turn to without feeling judged or persuaded to feel differently. She said, “Sometime in late September, your app changed my life. At the time, I was engaged to someone I was struggling to love. I was struggling with a lot of things, and I joined your app to make friends.” She turned to Chatous as a comfortable anonymous platform to provide the outlet she needed.
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“It was the only place where I could talk about how I really felt, without feeling scared of what people might think. I made friends who would listen and give me advice, but there was one person in particular, who was there for me everyday to listen to my disgruntlements and talk me through my problems. His name is Jake.”
Lindsay and Jake talked everyday for three months. Jake lives in Colorado . “At first it wasn’t romantic, we were friends. He would even try and talk me through my fights with my fiance. He played devil’s advocate and encouraged me to keep trying.” As things progressed Jake and Lindsay couldn’t ignore the connection that was growing between them.
[There’s nothing better than forbidden love, amiright?]
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[Roms and Jules – at it again.]
“Talking to Jake on Chatous became my favorite part of everyday. Our thoughts were on the same page, insanely so. All of our beliefs and ideas lined up perfectly.”
Finally, Lindsay decided to call off the engagement. “I realized that being alone would have been better than marrying someone that I wasn’t in love with anymore.” She was surprised to find that her family and friends supported her decision, just like Jake said they would.
After she called off the engagement she skyped Jake for the first time and they’ve skyped everyday since then. She flew out to see him a month later and they spent the holidays together. After Lindsay graduates she intends to move to Colorado to be with Jake.

“I felt the need to send my appreciation to everyone who led to the development of this application. Without you, I would never have met the love of my life, the man I intend to marry. Thanks Chatous Team – I owe you everything!”

You’re welcome, Lindsay 🙂

But sorry ex-fiance 😦

but yay Lindsay 🙂

The only thing that could have made this story juicier is if Jake was a vampire.
I’m sure he’s really cool though.
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You never know how the people you meet might change your life. Whether it be on Chatous or in person, take a chance and don’t be afraid to let people know the real you.
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If you have a cool story (or hot goss) about someone you met on Chatous let me know! @andifromchatous.

Meet Dani & Emad

The internet is pretty cool. It connects and informs people. The news is constantly updated with the latest happenings in the world. People from around the world constantly update Twitter with all the latest. Instagram and Snapchat update you with personal pictures. You can search for topics with hashtags and read, write and like posts.

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What’s really incredible and unique though, is being able to really interact with someone in another part of the world, in a one on one conversation and be able to get an intimate account of their views. To talk to someone about their religion or their country or their view on a current event without filters or public broadcasting is a truly unique experience that you can only really get if you travel the world.

Chatous is kind of like traveling the world through your phone, at least that’s how I think of it.

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Today I was interested in seeing what people around the world had to say about the tragic terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo. After scanning Twitter, I took to Chatous and joined the tag #JeSuisCharlie. What I found was pretty interesting and led me to meet some amazing people with interesting views on terrorism, Islam, and life in general.

When an act of terror occurs and the perpetrators are Islamic extremists, I think all Muslims tend to feel the brunt of the accusation and an entire group of people feel inadvertently blamed for the actions of a few. So I want to talk about my friends, Emad and Dani, whom I met on Chatous.

Dani and I got matched in #JeSuisCharlie. From his bio I learned that he is 25 years old and a Muslim living in Yemen. I asked him how he felt about the Charlie Hebdo terrorists being Muslim. He said “These terrorists are not true Muslims they are just defaming Islam. Islam does not teach this. Its a religion of peace. They are just using the name of Islam. They are not Muslims, I’m sure of it. How can they be? They must be brainwashed. And we Muslims are the ones who are mostly affected by them.”

Yemen is riddled with violence and terrorism so I asked Dani, how he deals with that and if he is scared all the time. He said “We’re just used to it, and if my time ends, I’ll die on my bed. Everything is in Gods hands.” Not fearing death is an important principle of Islam. Then I asked him how he distracts himself from the violence, he said he focuses on his school work, he is studying to be a medical equipment engineer. He said when he’s not studying his second priority is his friends and girlfriend. Sounds pretty normal right? It’s truly remarkable how Dani maintains the livelihood of a “normal” 25 year old man when he is constantly surrounded by imminent terror.

Emad and I have been buds for a little while now. I met him on Chatous when I was looking for someone cool to talk to in New Zealand because I’m traveling there soon. He’s 18, Palestinian and was raised in Kuwait. He attends a Muslim university in Christchurch, New Zealand now. The subject of his religion and beliefs hadn’t been brought up until today. Usually we talk about New Zealand, school, friends and stuff… he even sent me this lovely picture of the landscape which he took himself.
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 (It was expiring, so I snuck a screenshot)
 Today, I asked him how he felt about Islamic radicals and terrorists and if he identifies with them at all. This is what he said: “Idk what to say about these people…I just hate them! Islam is about peace and it was never about killing. The word Islam in Arabic means peace. I think these extreme people were tricked into thinking that way…they make us break from the inside, maybe opponents of Islam have brainwashed them to destroy Islam, because that is what they are doing.” Then I asked him how he feels about people judging him for being Muslim based on the actions of Islamic terrorists. He quoted an Arabic saying “The good behavior belongs to you and the bad behavior belongs to everyone.” I asked him what he meant by this and he said that it’s not fair that he is “blamed for the few.”
The friendships that I cultivated with Emad and Dani were incredibly eye opening. I was able to connect and interact with two people so far away who lead such different lives. Dani and Emad opened my mind and encouraged me to see things differently. They also reminded me that we’re not so different. My life is enriched from having met them.
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Meet Marya

Today, on Chatous, I met Marya. She’s 20 years old and from a place I’ve never heard of before called Ushuaia. Ushuaia looks and sounds like a winter wonderland. To describe it Marya said, “It’s a little fisher town, capital city of Tierra del Fuego province, it’s the southern tip of Argentina. It’s a land of glaciers, penguins and mountains, with dense pine tree forests everywhere.” So in my mind this is what Ushuaia looks like:

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(Yes – That is Arendelle from Disney’s Frozen)

In reality this what Ushuaia looks like:

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Which actually isn’t too far off.

Anyway, Marya is a pretty rad chick. She studies Zoology at the University and is in her 2nd year. She has two older brothers and a younger sister, as well as a seven yr old siberian husky called Amélie and a 6 yr old snowshoe cat called Dzíekí. Even though most of the population of Ushuaia is 60+ years old Marya finds ways to have “loads” of fun. She said that she frequently snowboards, hikes, plays ice hockey and tennis. In the summer she fishes and sails.

Pretty much Marya lives the dream.

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(This is probably what Marya looks like, living the dream in Ushuaia)

But then Marya told me some pretty crazy things about the Argentinian government. She told me how corrupt it is and that for the last 12 years, its been the worst it’s ever been. A lot of production has stopped and infrastructure has been ruined without plans of rebuilding. She said “The rising poverty and crime in big cities has been a nightmare for us. All this generates a real social destabilization.” She also mentioned that many leaders of the country are involved in heavy narcotic trafficking.

I started to think about what that kind of oppression must be like and I felt bad for Marya… but then we started talking about her family and friends and she really put things into perspective for me. She said “my friends are iron friends, they’re people who would never let you down, we have nothing really, we’re middle class people, nobody is rich, still I’m sure we’re much happier than many rich ones. I think friendship is what makes you rich, anyway.”

And that’s why I’m glad I met Marya. She’s a beautiful soul living in a far away wintry land full of corruption and also beauty. She’s someone I might never have met otherwise, but I’m so glad I did. Talking to her made me realize how important it is to be grateful for what you have and also that relationships, not circumstance or material things, are what matter in life.

And that’s how Marya and I became friends.

If you have awesome stories about the people you’ve met on Chatous let me know! You can chat with me on Chatous whenever. I’m pretty much always on! My username is @andifromchatous.

How to Be More Interesting

Tired of getting skipped? Tired of having the same old conversation over and over again? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you should probably try to be more interesting…here’s how!

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1. When Someone Asks the Age Old Question “What’s up?” Don’t Say “not much, you?”

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This question is the first step in getting to know someone. When I ask this question I’m looking for a hint or a clue about who this person really is…like maybe what you’re doing at the moment or how you’re feeling. By saying “not much” you’re not giving me any new info and we’re back to square one. Even if you’re just sitting on the couch watching TV, at least then I can ask you what you’re watching and then maybe we’ll talk about our favorite TV shows and then maybe we’ll bond over our mutual love of New Girl and then maybe we’ll become best friends forever.

2. Explore More

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Get out and do more stuff…then tell people about it! Having hobbies is a sure-fire way to be more interesting and make new friends! First of all, when you are passionate about something it gives you depth, second of all, when you have a story to tell people are more likely to pay attention. Explore new ideas, places and opinions and then SHARE them!

3. Have Some Good Stories on Hand

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It’s a good rule of thumb to just have a few outrageous stories than you can whip out in a time of need. Whether it’s something hilarious that happened to you or something magical or something touching…stories are a great way to connect and inspire interest. My personal favorites are ghost stories… if someone has great ghost stories I instantly want to be their friend.

4. Be a Good Listener

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Sometimes we forget to listen because we just want to be heard. But, truth is, the people who are great listeners are the most captivating. Ask more questions, people love talking about themselves. If you ask people more questions about themselves they will love you.

5. Embrace Your Weirdness

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 Don’t be afraid to be who you are! If you like weird stuff, if you do weird stuff, if you have weird opinions, let the world know! It’s what makes you different and different is always interesting.

6. Write About Your Interests in Your Bio

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Let people know what you’re all about!

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5 Reasons Why Meeting New People Makes You a Better Person

Welcome to the best blog you’ll ever read.

Chatous is all about meeting new people, right? So we thought it would be a good idea to make our blog about, you guessed it…meeting new people! We’re going to update you with the best stories about the people WE meet on Chatous, the people YOU meet on Chatous and just people-meeting in general. We will also update you on cool features and other awesome stuff.

But First…. Here’s how you can be a better a person just by meeting someone new (On Chatous [and other places too, but mostly on Chatous] )

1. You never know what you might learn from someone else.

  • Especially when they are from another part of the world. Learning about other cultures and lifestyles enriches your life and gives you a broader perspective.

2. Brain Stimulation

  • Just 10 minutes of interacting with someone new increases your cognitive performance. Actively talking to others and processing social cues wakes up your brain and allows for better cognitive processes. In other words, the more you interact with people the smarter you’ll be.

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3. Exposure to New Ideas

  • Talking to different people from all over the world can expose you to ideas and hobbies you never considered before. Keep an open mind and you might find something you’re really passionate about!

4. Get out of your shell!

  • We’re all trying to figure out who we are or who we want to be. Our interactions with new people say a lot about who we are. Our interactions with new people also help us become who we are. New interactions open our minds and encourage us to see things differently.

5. “The Click”

  • We’ve all felt it before… the moment when you find someone you just “click” with. It kinda looks like this…giphy It’s also called “chemistry.” The joy of meeting someone you “click” with sets off tons of endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people live longer.

So that’s how you can be smart, happy and live forever just by meeting someone new on Chatous.

Your Welcome.

Oh yeah….and Welcome to the Chatousphere.

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