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If you’ve ever written a paper, article, proposal, or book, chances are new information came to light as you did the necessary reading and research.  In other words, you learned new things. (One of the reasons I love being a writer.) This was certainly the case as I did the research for my new book More Than Just Talk: The Essential Guide for Anyone Who Wants to Enjoy Better Conversations (which celebrates its official launch date of February 9 this week).  Some of what I learned while working on this book was useful, interesting, and even affirming. Other facts drifted into the zone of compelling and sometimes troubling.    Allow me to share a few of these interesting tidbits.

Photo by Timon Studler on Unsplash

For example, did you know:

  • Exchanging even the briefest of greetings or friendly words with others throughout the day provides us with a healthy and steady “drip” of our tend-and-befriend hormone oxytocin.  (Yes. Okay, friendly eye contact, nods, and waves count.)
  • Simple acknowledgement of those in our midst (ahem…this begins with looking up from our laptops and phones) shows good manners. It is also powerful and necessary for our emotional and physical health and happiness, our sense of worth and belonging, and the building and maintenance of strong and healthy communities and cultures.  This goes for our homes, classrooms, neighborhoods, and workplaces.
  • Simple acts of friendliness and various forms of community socialization aren’t as commonplace as they once were in our everyday society. As a result, many of us are feeling ignored and disrespected and suffering from unprecedented loneliness, anxiety, and depression.
  • The average American spends less than four minutes a day hosting and attending social events.
  • The average American spends more time watching television (three hours per day) and grooming (one hour per day) than socializing (half an hour per day).  The study this information comes from didn’t even mention how much time we spend scrolling endlessly on social media.
  • Today’s youth know how to take great selfies and share posts that make them look appealing and interesting, but many lack basic social skills. Some can barely make eye contact, offer a greeting, or initiate a conversation without experiencing social discomfort.
  • My city, Austin, Texas, ranks as one of the Top 20 Loneliest Cities in the U.S.  (This blew me away.  We seem like such a hip, fun, social city!)
  • More people than ever before live alone and eat the vast majority of their meals alone.

And yet, studies reveal:

  • If you want to elevate your creativity, intelligence, and professional success and enjoy a long, happy, fulfilling, healthy, and vibrant life, being socially proactive, enjoying positive conversations, and continually adding new friends to your circle are of the utmost importance.
  • Some experts call our aversion to socializing, sometimes disguised as our perpetual need for privacy and “me time” (in other words, our lack of regular positive social connection) “the new smoking.” It’s that deadly.

Well, whew!  That’s some startling information.  Makes me want to dart out for happy hour or a juicy coffee conversation with a dear friend. Or plan a party!  (Well, with a new book out, I will be throwing a few of those!)

The more I learned, the more determined I was to write and publish a book that could help just about anyone improve or hone their socialization skills and enjoy better conversations.  With the help of my stellar team, I did it!  Grab your copy on Amazon today. And for more details on why More Than Just Talk should be at the very front of your personal and professional development reading queue (or part of your organization’s required reading), click here.