|Photo by Mary Vee|
I heard a report worth our conversation on the morning news today. The reporter stated social interaction, face to face, is just as important to your health as a good diet and exercise.
The problem is, according to Shankar Vedantam, the older we get, the smaller our social circles tend to be, leaving us with a lot of alone time.
I disagree with that. I know many social older individuals. They gather together, travel, laugh, share. It's what each individual tends to do with their life. So, let's consider those who have found themselves in this alone world.
Vedanta pointed out that social media interaction is not a viable substitute. I agree with that. Although I enjoy staying in contact with friends and family who live far away, there is nothing like the initial "Hi!" followed by a hug, handshake, or simply a smile. None of which can be done in social media.
Today is a unique day for me. Hubby and I are going to see a college friend for coffee. It's been a few years plus a few more since we've spoken. My friend lives in the south and is here on business. I live in the north. And although we've seen each other's posts on social media, I've notice the corny jokes never appear. I'm fully expecting to hear a few. Those jokes usually require prior knowledge. They play off shared experiences, like past choir tours, skits, friends, etc. Can't get that so much on social media, eh?
I see a lot of benefit to social media...but I see way more in face to face time.
Vedantam's point revolved around the increased suicide rate of men above the age of 50. Between divorces, changes of jobs, moving...all American current cultural characteristics, these men are not finding avenues to make new friends. The study reported today stated most people who get on a train, plane, etc, feel uncomfortable with speaking to the people near them. The issue falls in the first few minutes. Once a conversation manages to get off the ground, surveyed individuals said the comfort level changed.
What can we do?
When you stand by someone you don't know....say hi. Let's get back to the basics in making friends. Hear their voice. See their body language. etc.
Who knows? Maybe you might help someone feel good enough about themselves to reach out to someone else. Watch out for the butterfly affect. This change could change the world!
This post has been brought to you by the one word: ChangeTheWorld