Ever avoided someone when walking down a shopping aisle or purposely crossed the road to prevent an encounter with a stranger? You’re not alone! 

New research* commissioned for Uber Pool reveals that 49% of Kiwis are socialising less post-pandemic and 86% of Kiwis have gone to extreme lengths to avoid socialising.

More than half (60%) of Kiwis will walk down another aisle at the shops to avoid someone, and have been using technology to avoid social interactions! More than a third of Kiwis pretend to be on a phone call (36%) or keep headphones in without music playing (40%) to appear busy. Some are even resorting to dishonesty, with more than half (57%) of Kiwis admitting to lying about being sick to miss a social event. 

As Uber Pool revs up ahead of the Summer months, this is the chance to put your conversational skills back to the test! Share a yarn with a fellow rider and save up to 30%! Uber Pool plays on spontaneity, and creates more opportunities for connection – you never know who you might meet!

How to use Uber Pool:

  1. Simply open the Uber app, enter your destination, and scroll down to find the Uber Pool ride option.  
  2. The app will try to match your car with other riders heading your way. You’ll save up to 30% if you’re matched with fellow riders.

We know proactively striking up a conversation with a stranger is not always easy – the research reveals that 1 in 5 Kiwis don’t know or can’t remember the last time they did this. However, the research indicated that over a third of Kiwis (42%) suggest they have formed a strong connection or friendship after chatting with a stranger. 

We’ve enlisted the help of Australian Psychologist Dr Emmanuella Murray to offer advice for Kiwis who are feeling a little shy sharing a yarn with a stranger: 

  • Take social risks: Exposing yourself to situations that you often avoid like striking up a conversation with a stranger can help you learn that a lot of what you worry about doesn’t happen and you may find you enjoyed the conversation more than you expected. 
  • Pace yourself: It may be as simple as a smile or hello with your local barista to begin with and then building on this conversation over time. Often the conversation starter is the hardest part and Uber Pool may be a good activity to share with a stranger and strike up a natural conversation. 
  • Stay present focused: Be aware of any subtle behaviours you may use to avoid socialising like being on your phone and keeping headphones in. Stay present in the moment and pay attention to what’s happening around you rather than what’s going on inside your head. 
  • Grab a mood boost: The more socially withdrawn we are, the more down we feel. Research suggests people who feel more connected to others experience lower rates of depression and anxiety. So, get chatting because the more meaningful conversations we have, the better we feel. 

*Research was conducted by Censuswide on behalf of Uber between 27th of September 2022 – 29th September 2022, involving a survey of 1,004 New Zealanders across all states and territories.