Teri Haynes : Special to BIZ. Magazine
While visiting Nashville several weeks ago, we stopped at a dive for breakfast. You know – one of those well-worn places that serves delicious, home style, fattening breakfasts. Inside was a variety of people from all walks of life. There was the typical clatter of dishes and short-order cooking. There was also the din of many conversations in the tiny diner.
I looked around and made note of the people. A mom and dad paid the tab while their son exchanged pleasantries and a chuckle with and elderly man. Three laborers visited with the well-heeled looking group at the next table. We chatted with the couple beside us about their plans and our previous night’s visit to the B.B. King Blues Club.
Two young men were at the other table next to us. I wished them a good morning and a conversation quickly ensued. Both were named Kevin but the spellings were different. One was a manager for a construction company. The other man was a singer/songwriter.
Not one person in the diner seemed to be using their cell phone. How odd.
That was when I noticed a battered, license plate style sign on the wall.
“WE DO NOT HAVE WI-FI. TALK TO EACH OTHER”
Was it the sign that had the conversational effect on all of us? Was it the pleasure of eating food while visiting with other people? Was it the close proximity in a small place? I don’t know. What I do know is that we left with a sense of happiness and contentment that comes from positive human interaction. Of course, comfort food doesn’t hurt either.
This has been an incredibly difficult and depressing year. The pandemic has forced quarantines and social distancing from friends, family, and co-workers in addition to unemployment and shuttered businesses. Hurricanes have devastated entire communities and vicious politics have instilled near hatred between many groups in our country. The political ugliness reminds me of Abraham Lincoln words “a house divided against itself cannot stand.”
We need each other, not only for support, but as a check on our moral compasses. Too much input from only one source or mind-set can cause radicalization. While social media can keep us in touch, it does not provide the emotional connections we all need to maintain our humanity.
Invite one or more people for a meal or just coffee to develop and strengthen relationships. Rediscover how interesting everyone really is and how much alike we all are. Whether at home or in a restaurant, put down your phones, make eye contact, be safe, and talk to each other. You’ll find it much more satisfying than your cell phone.
Teri Haynes | Business Interactions, LLC | Improving human interactions in business