I was in a meeting with a group of leaders the other day and after being prompted by a question most of them said that they had many acquaintances but very few friends. It was clear they weren’t particularly happy by this fact, but felt their busy life didn’t leave them much of a choice. I find it paradoxical that in a day and age where we have so many more ways to stay connected with other people, every study I read says that people feel lonelier and more disconnected than ever before. This is especially troubling for people in leadership positions because they feel naturally isolated to begin with.
While personal independence and self-reliance is a good thing, we live in a society that requires interdependency and cooperation. Children and the elderly are dependent based on the very nature of their situation. Physical and emotional vulnerability is a reality that confronts us all at the beginning and end of our lives. In addition, many close adult and professional relationships are co-dependent because we need other people to both experience life fully and get things done. You can’t just flip a switch and expect it to be there.