In his book titled Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community, Robert Putnam shows how we have become increasingly disconnected from family, friends, neighbors, and our democratic structures — and how we may reconnect.
Putnam warns that our stock of social capital – the very fabric of our connections with each other, has plummeted, impoverishing our lives and communities. Putnam draws on evidence including nearly 500,000 interviews over the last twenty-five years to show that we sign fewer petitions, belong to fewer organizations, know our neighbors less, seldom meet with friends, and even socialize with our families less often. We’re even bowling alone. More Americans are bowling than ever before, but they are not bowling in leagues.
Putnam shows how changes in work, family structure, age, suburban life, television, computers, women’s roles and other factors have all contributed to this decline. In fact fewer members are taking the time to attend club meetings (down 58%). Family dinners are down 33% while friends coming to dinner is down by 45%.
I’ve caught myself labeling myself a “social buffoon” on more than one occasion. This is not a good thing.
Make it your business to add more high touch to your high tech world. Get out of your cozy comfort zone and get into the faces of people who mean something to you. Prospects. Clients. Employees. Family & friends.
Make a few phone calls. Stop cocooning thinking that email is all you need to maintain sound relationships. It’s not!
And for heavens sake, stop bowling alone.