The power of human connection

I am sensing a “people trend” on the not-so-distant horizon. Ironically, what triggered the intuition and prompted me to report on a prediction — instead of a concrete and proven trend — had absolutely nothing to do with humans.

A trend newsletter featuring offbeat happenings included a post about the city of Melbourne, Australia, where trees were assigned an ID and email address with the hope citizens would report back if broken branches, dryness or disease were spotted. However, a very unexpected curve ball occurred when thousands of unsolicited love letters from individuals to their favorite trees poured into the city’s offices!

The reasoning behind the outpouring of letters reinforced a trend-intuition I’ve experienced as we live in this obsessively addictive, electronically driven era. And frankly, I have often wondered how long it will take before people just literally start snapping, because the tree article wasn’t the first post I’ve read that centered around this craving for “human interaction and relationships.”

I tend to be a gregarious person, so it’s in my nature to connect with people. But oddly, recently I’ve recognized how it is a rare occasion when I take the time to call or physically connect with friends. I am typically so wired to text or email that tweeting or checking in on friends via Facebook and Instagram (where my “friends” appear to be doing fine, anyway) actually feels like second nature and suffices.

Another related example I borrow from a friend who periodically brags about her 2000-plus Facebook friends. After reading the Melbourne tree article, I decided to ask her about the quality of those relationships (which she refers to as “friends”) and how she balances such a massive network. Her response centered around her good fortune of having a network of low-maintenance friends and how her electronic likes and 40-character comments brilliantly save time and eliminate those god-awful, time-consuming, intrusive phone calls.

Many trends often feel as though they blossom overnight, but in reality, that trend has probably been “maturing” in an incubator for quite some time. One of the arteries of the not-yet-fully-developed human-connection trend simply leaked, and in the case of the Melbourne tree letter incident, it was probably prompted by the superficial sensation culprit occurring due to the massive infliction of today’s social media and technology-driven connections and relationships.

Via my brief research on the possibility of this human-connection-need trend, I was actually reassured how healthy “live” relationships are. They increase self-esteem and confidence. They make us feel important and, on occasion, even “worthy” all while further developing our social skills in order to meet more people, which in turn triggers (dare I say) an almost abandoned lifestyle trend — real-time friendships!

Whether you agree or disagree with my prediction, ask yourself if you miss deeper conversations or knowing more about your relationships. Or is the “new you” simply someone who believes conversations are just too messy and confusing, especially when an electronic relationship can be edited to “a perceived perfection”?

In the interim of confirming if my crystal ball is “on or off” this week, allow me to propose an adoption of one of the following:

  • Spend more time engaging guests, co-workers, family and friends “live.”
  • Encourage a conversation at lunch (and take it away from the screen).
  • Reduce your social media time on the weekend.
  • Attempt to start a new relationship that isn’t dependent on technology.

Who knows, you may even want to pick up the phone for your next “check-in”! 

Either way, it is my hope this week’s blog post squashed a temptation someone may have had to write a love letter to a tree.

I look forward to receiving your thoughts and comments.