Surfing TV channels this evening I stumbled upon Piers Morgan’s program. Gayle King and Sanjay Gupta-with a bit of Oprah-joined him in discussing their new “Just Say Hello” campaign. This campaign wants to help combat day-to-day loneliness, foster civility and simple acts of friendly decency. And who knows; real friends may actually be made. Wish I thought of it.
Over the years I have phrased it as a question to myself: “Why the #$% can’t people just say hello?”. Gosh, Gayle, Sanjay and Oprah, you have struck a sensitive chord not only with me but, if response on Twitter is any indication, with so many others.
But here’s the thing: I’d like to know why saying hello is so difficult. Yes, social media is no doubt a part of the alienation we are dishing out and receiving–let’s face it, techie developments may have exacerbated the problem–but unfriendliness has existed since biblical times. The psychology behind it, I think, is human insecurity. No, I don’t have any studies to point to right now. This is just my gut speaking. We all harbor the need to belong (at all costs?), we fear being judged, wrongly or otherwise; we are possessive, competitive and suspect others so we attack first.
If what I’m guessing is true, that much of this is personal insecurity, then there are a lot of people in pain out there. Our insecurities perhaps surface on a larger scale in society as prejudice and discrimination. The human implications can be huge.