Face-to-face contact is something that we are all missing, to some extent, in the modern world. I honestly believe this is one of the main sources of the societal crisis that we are experiencing. An interesting Ted talk addresses this issue. It is well worth the time to watch it. It seems that face-to-face contact is the most important factor in determining how long and healthy we live, even more than genetics, or even how you eat or exercise. Sure, these are also very important, and I was quite surprised that face-to-face interaction even made the top five.
How did we lose our face-to-face time? I think driving is a major factor. For the past 100 years we have slowly increased our daily driving time to the point where we live far from work, friends, and family. The telephone allowed us to keep contact while being distant, and lessened the blow of decreased personal interaction. Cell phones, email, texting, social media, and e-commerce have made face-to-face interaction difficult to obtain, and often unwanted. I am sure you have noticed more and more occasions where all the people at a table in a restaurant are on their phones.
So, we have lost valuable health-maintaining face-to-face contact to our modern lifestyles. How do we deal with this? Changing the sources of the problem would be extremely difficult, and would require a large part of the population to turn it’s back on these modern advances that we both cherish and, at times, hate. I think it would be best to concentrate our efforts on adapting to the deficiencies that these modern conveniences have inadvertently inflicted on us.
Saying Hello Counts as Face-to-Face Contact
In early January, I enjoy saying “Happy New Year” to people because the responses are almost always favourable. As a child, I used to wonder why people would say this a week or two into January since that day was already over. I now know that the phrase is just a short form of “I hope this new year will be better for you than last year,” or thereabouts. At some point, this greeting is no longer appropriate. People may start looking at you a little strange, especially if you’re saying it in May. It might be a good idea to switch over to a simple “Good Morning.” If you do this in early to mid January, you will more than likely get a favourable response. But as time goes on, and New Year’s fades into the background, the responses may begin to become less predictable.
Be nice, you will feel good. Sure, you may be putting yourself at risk, and may get a negative response that can hurt emotionally. But if you don’t try, your physical and mental health will continue to deteriorate as you lose faith in humanity, which may lead to a descent into utter despair, giving up, and becoming complicit with the age of hate and moral decay.
But seriously, be part of the solution. Be friendly with the people around you, and reap the benefits of face-to-face contact.