Nearly half (46%) of Americans say they are experiencing loneliness. 70% of pastors say they have no close friends they can trust with personal matters. In this episode, Joanne joins me to talk about combatting loneliness and creating friends – over food and great questions.
Episode #858 November 25, 2022
I’m getting together with family and I’m already dreading the questions I’ll be asked. – Have you put on a little weight? – Are you still unemployed? – Can you believe what Ron Desantis – Joe Biden – Donald Trump – Nancy Pelosi just did?
We’re told that we have a loneliness epidemic in this country — more people than ever reporting that they are experiencing loneliness, even though we are more connected technologically than ever before.
A recent study conducted by health service Cigna found that nearly half of Americans report sometimes or always feeling alone.
Another study found that 22% of millennials in the United States say they have no friends. 30% say they always or often feel lonely.
This is an important issue. Researchers at Brigham Young University studied tens of thousands of people and examined everything from diet and smoking habits to marital status and exercise to try to understand what leads to longevity. After seven years of tracking these groups, they have an answer.
The greatest predictors of longevity were the relationships those people had. The most important predictor of living a long life was what researchers call social integration.
Our son Kevin recently interviewed Dan Pink about his new book, The Power of Regret, where Dan says:
“Close relationships, more than money or fame, are what keep people happy throughout their lives. Those ties protect people from life’s discontents, help to delay mental and physical decline, and are better predictors of long and happy lives than social class, IQ or even genes.”
Without connections, we suffer all kinds of negative effects on our health, productivity, and satisfaction.
What’s the difference between entertaining and hospitality?
“In 1976 I read a book by Karen Burton Mains called Open Heart, Open Home. It was life-changing for me. It helped me to recognize that there’s a very distinct difference between entertaining and hospitality,” Joanne said.
When you’re entertaining, you’re on stage and you’re having to perform. It’s much more stress-producing in many respects than hospitality, where you’re just giving from your heart.
However, hospitality seeks to minister. It doesn’t try to impress, but it tries to serve and allows people to see us as we are. Hospitality puts relationships as a high priority. It promotes being real with people instead of being perfect.
Find out more in Joanne’s book, Creating a Haven of Peace.
“Any kind of relationship takes nurturing — your spouse, your children, and your friends. If you are feeling lonely, get out there and make yourself unlonely. Make yourself available. Call people, text people, love on people, invite people in. That can happen even informally at the grocery store or a restaurant where you engage in the conversation.”
People, people need other people
Joanne says, “Back when I was 50, I was feeling lonely. There were a lot of things happening in my life. I had some poor health diagnoses, I had an empty nest when our youngest child had just gone off to college. I recognized then that I needed other women in my life. I called a lady in our Sunday School Class that I didn’t know well and said, ‘I need a friend.’ And she said, “Oh my gosh, so do I.’ We developed The Circle of Friends, a group of 8-10 women that get together every month.”
“If you’re experiencing loneliness, reach out and create what you want.”
How does Joanne stimulate great conversations at the Miller house?
Our conversation questions started with The Ungame, Tell It Like It Is that had little cards with questions on it. Then Joanne created jars with pieces of paper on them with different questions — different jars for different occasions.
When Joanne came out with Creating a Haven of Peace., we packaged some of those questions on cards in little tins.
Examples of those questions:
- What is something that you’ve learned about yourself in the last year that surprised you? What have you done with that new discovery? Has it made you a better person? How has it made you a better person?
- Name three items still on your bucket list. Have you set a timeframe for doing them? Do you have a plan to check them off the list? Why or why not?
- What are you most grateful for that brings beauty to your daily life?
- What book has made the most impact on your life this year?
- What act of kindness has made the greatest difference in your life?
- What place do you feel most at peace? And why?
- If you could change the course of your life in any way, how would that be? And why?
- If you could go back to school and earn a degree in a specific field, what would it be?
The goal of those questions was not just to ask one question that somebody could answer in a sentence. I wanted people to elaborate and create a conversation because conversations are not just one-sentence or one-word conversations or paragraphs.
This year at 48 Days, we did something similar called Food For Thought. We had people apply to join us and asked a question to discuss around the table with those 12 people.
Take the initiative and lead those conversations with things that are interesting, things that stimulate people’s thinking, and things that let you get to know each other in more meaningful ways.
Quotation:“The most universal strategy for success is creating meaningful connections with those who can impact you, your life, and the things you care about.” Jon LevyClick To Tweet
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