I was reading the September AARP Bulletin (yes, I know it’s almost impossible to believe, but I am over 50) and I read with interest an article cautioning about losing our ability to communicate and relate to people in person.

Eye contact, body language, and voice inflections are absent when we connect online, and I have long known that much is definitely lost by doing so. Face-to-face contact is necessary to learn and maintain “people skills,” and very few occupations, even today, allow you to work totally alone at home, through the keyboard.

Many grandparents I know say that Facebook is the only way they can keep up with their grandkids, but I’m worried about the loss of flesh and blood quality time. Just try giving a hug, or tucking someone in, or baking cookies together over the computer!

Isolation can be a cause, or a symptom, of depression, and getting out of the house to socialize, live and in-person, is important to everyone’s health and wellbeing. To practice what I preach, I’ve been taking some “hang-out time” every few days at one of the local coffee shops. (Since there are several such places, I rotate!)

Starting a conversation with a stranger is a challenge, but I do believe it increases my communication skills and forces me to stretch my comfort zone just a little. And those people I talk with? It turns out they’re just as happy to chat as I am!

So today, the assignment is to get out and away from your keyboard (no fair taking it with you!) and get into the swing of things. You never know when someone you meet will become a true friend, and not just a face that pops up on your computer screen!