How to Forge Close Bonds Through Food

Why “breaking bread together” brings people closer


Health, Wellness
group of people eating a meal together

(Ground Picture / Shutterstock) 

Who doesn’t love a warm, delicious and satisfying meal? Food is what keeps human bodies full of nutrients and it provides the energy needed to go through life. But there is more to eating than just survival. People often use food to bond with others through shared meals, food gifts and at celebrations. As the Better Health Channel reports, food is used by people in all countries and cultures around the world as a way to come together and enjoy.

The power of eating together
Gathering together with friends and family, or even with strangers, nourishes more than our bodies, 24 Life magazine reports. And what’s interesting is that it's not necessarily the actual food that makes the meal so important. The social interaction of the meal setting encourages people to pay attention to each other and to connect.

So how can people incorporate these essential “bonding through food” sessions into their lives? Some suggest going out to eat with friends, family members or coworkers bi-monthly or even weekly. After all, we all need to eat anyway, right? Going out to eat or even preparing a meal at home and sharing it with others creates much deeper and more meaningful interactions when compared to other joint activities like watching a movie or TV together.

Research conducted by the University of Oxford showed that people who eat socially are more well adjusted in social and emotional settings and are more likely to feel better about themselves. And although many people eat their meals alone, 76 percent of the people questioned think sharing a meal is a good way to bring people closer.

Why eating with others feels good
So why is it that eating with others feels good? A study conducted by the University of Chicago concludes that it is all about trust. Researchers studied whether similar food consumption creates a sense of closeness in adults. They paired up strangers and some pairs got similar foods while others got different ones. They were then asked to go through negotiation scenarios. The results were mind blowing: the pairs that had eaten similar foods were able to reach an agreement almost twice as fast as the ones that had eaten different foods! Needless to say, many companies are insistent about including good food and drinks during business meetings and other important events. 

According to NPR, food helps develop trust since eating the same food together with someone else suggests that both parties are willing to bring the same thing into their body. It’s only natural that trust and cooperation are likely to develop as a result of this bonding experience.

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