November 26, 2010

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"Ain't they got no mates?" This was Crocodile Dundee's question about Americans. The answer is no, and it is killing us. This from a PLoS Medicine peer-reviewed article providing a meta-analysis of 148 studies with over 300,000 participants: Current evidence also indicates that the quantity and/or quality of social relationships in industrialized societies are decreasing. For instance, trends reveal reduced intergenerational living, greater social mobility, delayed marriage, dual-career families, increased single-residence households, and increased age-related disabilities [3],[4]. More specifically, over the last two decades there has been a three-fold increase in the number of Americans who report having no confidant—now the modal response [3]. Emphasis supplied. We have fewer friends, fewer family members, we move away from those we have, don't see our spounses because of wwork and often live alone as age disables us. Yet, as my MAPP professor Chris Peterson notes, "Other people matter." Relationships enable us, call out our best even under the most horrendous cirucmstances such as combat, and sustain us over time. We can't create deep, close relationships in an instant. But we can create a real human connection. Jane Dutton studies how "high quality connections" matter in the business world. She notes that these are connections that can carry emotional content, and that they can be made incredibly quickly. Can you create a quick but real, positive connection with today? Could it be the start of a special friendship? What would it hurt to try? It's certainly hurting not to! Photo: "old men playing in El Retiro park" by...

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