Wednesday I wrote about the value of talking to people you run into at the market, convenience store, restaurant, and so forth. Then — what a coincidence — I saw a report on CNN about the Power of Hello and the negative impacts of loneliness.
Apparently Oprah is championing an initiative designed to encourage people to #justsayhello. Initiatives turn me off. “Initiative” is just a fancy word for “fad,” and fads come and go like the Snuggie and the Zone Diet. What I’d like to see is a steady reversal in the trend toward isolation. Or maybe a permanent revelation on the part of humankind that putting down cell phones and talking to folks in your actual vicinity is a wonderful thing.
I know, it’s a lot to ask, but look at the evidence. We already know the dangers of talking and texting while driving. Now we know that there are measurable negative health affects associated with loneliness and isolation. And that being isolated and self-absorbed (or phone-absorbed) you could even get shot:
“The San Francisco Police Department says that security footage reveals the alleged killer of a young man on a San Francisco light-rail train had his weapon out in plain sight, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. But what investigators found more alarming is that none of the other passengers noticed because they were staring at their phones.”
Here’s hoping at least a few of us change our ways for good.