Photo: Aaron B
Technology has evolved to the point that we find ourselves chatting online with robots and navigating automated phone systems. But the PwC Future of Customer Experience Survey 2017/18 found 82% of Americans prefer human interaction to automated alternatives.
That’s a telling indicator that we crave human connections. We can do plenty on our own now simply by holding a small device in our hands: converse with friends around the world, keep up with geographically separated family, and bank and shop without talking to a live person.
Yet we really long for that human contact.
Having worked from home for 17 years while raising my kids before returning to the workforce, I find the corporate office environment fulfilling because of the personal encounters I experience there every day. My husband and I also volunteer at the Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum, where I enjoy hearing the stories of fellow volunteers and customers, as well as sharing part of my life with them.
Despite those interactions, I thrive on time by myself, unlike many people. As an introvert, I recharge my batteries by doing things on my own, when I can think through and process daily and weekly events. But too much alone time is not a good thing and can lead my thoughts down a dangerous path. I long for human connections.
One of the best things about interacting with people is it can produce laughter, which is a natural stress release with the power to lighten our moods.
We need each other, plain and simple.
Technology has in many ways made our lives easier, but in other ways, it’s isolated us. Human interactions enrich our lives. We weren’t made to be alone. We truly need each other.
Don’t believe me? The next time you find yourself feeling unfulfilled, I suggest you put your phone down and reach out to a friend or family member, or even start a conversation with a stranger. You might be amazed at the emotional boost you experience as a result.
Christian, wife, mother of 5, breast cancer survivor, marathon finisher, writer and editor, author of "Help! I'm a Science Project"