The radical act of dining with strangers

“Having that resilience, the ability to deal with it, having hope, being curious about other people: all the virtues of optimism I’ve observed are so necessary to building community,” said Danielle Bayard Jackson , a friendship coach who has a quarter of a million followers on tick tockwhere she shares advice on how to make new friends and have healthy relationships.

When looking for new relationships, optimism can work both ways: it can prompt you to seek new friends, and it can also attract new friends. According to Dr. Emma Seppala, associate professor at Yale University’s School of Management and author of The Happiness Track, also enjoy higher-quality interactions. People are often attracted to those who are “positively re-energizing,” which Dr. Seppala describes it as the heliotropic effect: Just as plants are attracted to the sun, we are attracted to those that have life-giving properties.

dr Seppala also pointed out an important difference in forming new friendships: It’s not about how many relationships you have, it’s about how connected you feel to the ones you already have, she explained. “I think that’s really good news because we can’t always do something about how many people we interact with,” she said. She gave the example of a person who is at home taking care of a baby or who considers themselves an introvert.

Or maybe someone who just moved to a new city in the middle of a pandemic.

Ms. Michaud, who is from Ann Arbor, Michigan, got the inspiration for Dinner With Friends after traveling to Lisbon with her parents in April 2022. Her mother, Peg Foen, a Chinese American, had learned of secret Chinese restaurants in Lisbon that operate in private residences and are typically discovered through word of mouth.

Ms. Michaud also comes from a restaurant family. Her grandparents, who immigrated to the United States from China, opened a Chinese restaurant in Plymouth, Michigan in the 1980s. Her mother, Ms. Foen, grew up dining in the afternoons – and as an adult opened a French bistro in Plymouth with her husband Michael Michaud, Ms. Michaud’s father.

“Anita has always been very good at being an excellent hostess,” said Mr. Michaud, who currently owns a distillery with Ms. Foen on Harsens Island, Michigan. He added, “I’d like to think that she understood a little bit of the way we lived our lives.” The radical act of dining with strangers

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