I never noticed this before.
The last time I traveled for work, I took an Uber. Pretty convenient, actually. And something I do a lot on the road.
But this time, I noticed something new. A way to select “Quiet Mode.”
Basically, it tells your driver you’re not interested in small talk or conversation.
I guess I can understand why you might want to do this. You’ve had a long flight, or you’re generally a shy person.
Or maybe you just want to be alone with your thoughts for a moment.
But I for one actually enjoy striking up a conversation with Uber drivers. And cashiers. And the people I run across in my daily life, even if it’s just for a moment.
Our world is becoming increasingly geared towards isolation. You barely need to leave your house to get anything you want.
And now so many places let you get things, and just pick them up without uttering a word to anyone. Or have them delivered to your doorstep.
But we miss out on something if we do that.
And that’s human connection.
Sure, I am guilty of getting on a plane and immediately popping in my earphones from time to time. (It’s the universal signal that you’re not really up for a chat).
And yes, limiting these interactions does make life easier, faster, and more efficient.
But is efficiency everything?
Americans are lonelier than ever, according to recent studies. I don’t know if there’s a connection between that fact, and so many people moving about their lives, earphones on, face down.
Without interacting much with anyone unless they really want to, or there’s no other choice.
We know when we’re hungry, we should eat. When we’re tired, we need to rest.
But when we’re lonely, do we get the message that maybe we need more connection in our lives?
Maybe the next time someone strikes up a conversation with you, you should fully engage?
Or, instead of rushing through your interactions in the checkout line, start a conversation yourself.
It might be one of the most important parts of their day… or yours.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend.