On Friendliness to Strangers

Many of us, even the very kind ones, have a habit of walking through the world wearing a distinctly uncongenial and surly expression. If someone secretly photographed us on our way…

What to Do at Parties If You Hate Small Talk

A lot of discomfort about going to social engagements is rooted in what can sound like a rather high-minded concern: a hatred of small talk. We can develop a dread of…

How to Approach Strangers at A Party

A party at the house of a friend, eleven o’clock, on a still-warm evening. A metre away from you, a group of people are chatting animatedly. Someone is telling an anecdote,…

How to Be Comfortable on Your Own in Public

We’re spending a few days on business in a town where we know no one. It’s dinner time and, feeling claustrophobic in our hotel room, we wander the main streets looking…

Akrasia - or Why We Don't Do What We Believe

A central problem of our minds is that we know so much in theory about how we should behave but engage so little with our knowledge in our day-to-day conduct. We…

Why We Think So Much about Our Hair

It could seem bizarre quite how long we spend on those strands of stringy keratin that sprout – unreliably – from our scalps. We will, over a lifetime, devote thousands of…