PROBLEM: Loneliness

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What is loneliness?

  • Loneliness is defined as the discrepancy between a person’s desired and actual social relationships (Russell, Peplau, & Cutrona, 1980)

  • Humans require not just the physical presence of others but the presence of others who value them, whom they can trust and with they can communicate with (Cacioppo & Patrick, 2008), which means you can feel lonely in a crowd or socially content while alone

Who is lonely?


    • 60% of college students report feeling “very lonely” within 1 year prior to a study and 30% felt “very lonely” two weeks prior to the study (American College Health Association)


    • 46% of Americans report “sometimes” or “always” “feeling lonely” or 43% “that their relationships are not meaningful” (CIGNA, 2018)


    • Only 30% of employees have a close friend at work (Rath & Harter, 2010)

    • 50% of CEOs report feeling lonely in their role & 60% believe loneliness hindered their performance from Harvard Business Review (Saporito, 2012)


    • Increased rates of suicide (20 suicides/day) relates to high levels of loneliness (Stein et al., 2012)


negatives of loneliness

SOLUTION: Heart-to-Heart Events

What is connection?

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  • Connection is a person’s subjective sense of having close and positively experienced relationships with others in the social world (Seppala, Rossomando & Doty, 2013)

  • The formation of meaningful connections is an integral part of human nature (Baumeister & Leary, 1995Cacioppo & Patrick, 2008)

  • Connections must be meaningful:

    • 1997 experiment where students were paired and given questions (first group: factual and superficial and second group: questions that involved gradual sharing of interpersonal details)—participants in the second group showed notably stronger bonds (Aron et al., 1997)

    • Social penetration theory: describes the process of bonding that moves a relationship from superficial to more intimate by inspiring conversations that require vulnerability (Altman & Taylor, 1973)

Benefits of connection

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VIDEOS: Connection

Celeste Headlee: 10 ways to have a better conversation

Brené Brown: The power of vulnerability

Robert Waldinger: What makes a good life? Lessons from the longest study on happiness

Sherry Turkle: Connected, but alone

Sebastian Junger: Our lonely society makes it hard to come home from war