Despite technology creating so much connectedness around the world, we live in a time of vast disconnectedness. People are busier than ever, under more pressure, stressed out and isolated. We are living amidst an epidemic of loneliness in our country. Personal relationships are a treasure. When customers, or employees, treasure those relationships with you and other people in your company, they won’t go elsewhere. In fact, they find ways to stay and do more of everything with and for you.
Recently a Navy vet named Ronald White was found dead in his Dallas apartment. The coroner found that he had been dead for three years. Think about it. A man died, and for three years, nobody noticed he was gone.
Last year Cigna released the results of a study of 20,000 Americans. It produced some alarming findings about the state of connectivity and loneliness in America today:
- Half of Americans regularly feel lonely,
- 20% of people rarely or never feel close to others,
- Less than half of us report having one or more meaningful conversations daily,
- Adults 18-22 are the loneliest segment of our population.
Social media platforms connect people, but it’s a different sort of connection than friendship or companionship. It lacks authenticity and meaningfulness. Having a thousand friends on social media actually has very little, if any, impact on feeling lonely. Personal relationships, real ones in the real world, give life richness. Feeling connected, feeling like you are part of something, is healthy and desirable – and it is deeply valued by people.
Customers demand compelling solutions to solve their challenges, provided at a fair price. Employees demand a job that helps them support their families. But customers and employees also want to work with and around people who they like and trust, and who they prefer to spend time with. People who treat them well. People who make them feel like they belong, like they are connected and part of a community. All people have an innate need to belong and to be treated well. So engage, and be engaged. Build relationships continuously and intentionally. Do it because it’s more fun, and because it’s the right thing to do.
Do it because, more likely than not, that other person is feeling lonely.