The Loneliness Epidemic: Does it Affect You?
While working in a restaurant last summer I took an order for a very unique guest; he was a middle-aged man who had long blonde hair, wore an ACDC t-shirt, and listened to Metallica out loud for everyone to hear on his iPhone 5 speaker while waiting for his to-go order. I didn’t think much of him until I noticed he came back the n
ext day, and then the next day, and then the next day after that. I was intrigued so the next time I took his order I asked, “What is your name?! I see you in here every day!”
That simple question was the start to one of my most cherished friendships.
My new friend, Tim, and I got to know each other over the course of that summer by sharing day-to-day experiences, laughing our way through the challenges we individually faced, and by swapping life changing advice all while waiting for his to-go orders together.
He asked me one day, “Do you know why I come into this restaurant every day?”
I sheepishly replied, “Um, because you really like burgers?”
He did admit to really liking burgers but followed up with, “I don’t really have any friends or family here in Utah. I’m all alone. I come into this restaurant every day because I know either you or one of your other team members will look me in the eyes, sincerely ask me about how my day is going, and make me feel like a real human being.”
Cigna recently performed a study that found 1 in 4 Americans suffer from loneliness with Gen Z being the loneliest generation yet. Those are some shocking statistics for such a digitally connected world. These statistics just go to show that while online interaction is great and does serve a wonderful purpose, it does not replace good ol’ fashion face to face love and friendship.
So, what will you do today to build up a meaningful face to face relationship? Who in your life needs some extra TLC from you? How can you help put an end to the loneliness epidemic?
After all, Kid President has said, “You don’t need a cape to be a hero, you just need to care.”