The stories of loneliness are all around us. I was traveling to Atlanta, Georgia for a short business trip. Just shy of arriving, my rumbling stomach got the best of me. The Chick-fil-A logo on the exit sign lured me off I-85 and I pulled in for a quick bite. Who can pass up some Chick-fil-A, right?
After ordering and receiving the expected “My Pleasure!”, I found a seat next to the window and grabbed a waffle fry. I looked across the crowded room and was amazed at what I saw. With the exception of one or two moms with kids-in-tow, all of the other tables were filled with groups of people. But what caught my attention was that at the majority of those tables, there was no conversation taking place. There was eating, of course, but there was also the uninterrupted minutes of eyes and thumbs on the screens. A bite of a fresh waffle fry, and a swipe on the phone. A sip on the straw of some Sweet ice tea, and a click.
These people had all been sucked in like zombies to the smartphone “matrix.” I couldn’t help but shake my head as I realized even in the midst of connecting, they weren’t. The real connection that could be happening around them had been replaced by a digital, lifeless transaction on their lit-up smartphones.
What do you see around you? Do you see loneliness? What are some ways you think we can change this epidemic?