I’ve got a quick question for you — one that may seem frivolous, but in light of recent research is worth our consideration.
If you could buy one luxury item what would it be?
Would it be a new purse? Or watch? Or jewelry?
Would you buy a luxury car? Or take your family on a luxurious vacation?
While there are millions of luxury goods to splurge on, new research sheds light on an idea that will cause us to pause as we dream about our next luxurious purchase.
In a recent New York Times article, researchers argue that human contact is becoming a luxury good.
That’s right, human contact — face-to-face interaction, a hug, eye contact, meaningful conversation — is becoming an extravagant, opulent investment that the wealthy are paying to experience.
This week we’ll unpack this idea and figure out how we can reconnect with others and build meaningful relationships without having to live a life of luxury.
But first, some exciting news!
We value relationships SO MUCH that we will actually REWARD you for making human contact and sharing Contact Mapping with the people in your network!
If you’re an active Contact Mapping user (either in your trial period or subscribed) you can earn rewards by referring your friends! Just imagine a world where everyone prioritized relationships and made an effort to build meaningful connections —sounds dreamy, right?!
Starting tomorrow, all active users will receive a unique referral code from our referral platform, Referral Candy. Be on the lookout for that email and start getting rewarded for making connections!
Just see all the ways you can be rewarded:
THE TECHNOLOGICAL RISE
Since the 1980s when the technological world began to blossom, people have been attracted to screens and the latest and greatest gadgets.
In the beginning, it was the wealthy with expendable income rushing to acquire these magical devices — forking out $2,500 ($6,000 in today’s dollars) for the very first Apple Mac Computer.
In the 80s and early 90s a pager was a status symbol—a sign that you were so important people needed to reach you at all times. But now, being able to go off the grid or disconnect is a luxury — reserved only for the people in charge.
The Luxury Institute, a research and consulting firm that advises companies on the spending habits of the wealthy, found the rich want to spend money on anything human.
Which brings us to the claim made in the NYT article — human contact is becoming a luxury good while people with less wealth turn to their phones, screens, and devices for connection.
The wealthy elite — more specifically executives in high-tech areas like Silicon Valley — are spending more money on sending their kids to low-tech/no-tech schools. They are spending more money on vacations that take them “off the grid.”
While low-income schools are receiving technology grants and one-to-one laptop programs — giving poorer children access to more screen time — the rich are removing screens from their homes and paying for schools without them.
TIPS AND TRICKS
So where does this leave us as a Contact Mapping community?
I think if nothing else, this assertion should cause us to open our eyes.
Even now, as I type this newsletter from a coffee shop, I see 8 individuals glued to their phones.
I see a father sitting across the table from his young daughter — she is sitting quietly, while he scrolls through his newsfeed without even offering a word.
I see a couple sitting side-by-side, but instead of talking to each other, they are interacting on their phones.
I see people rushing in the door to pick up their “to-go” order without speaking to anyone.
Sure, technology can be helpful, but it is not a human replacement.
There is no joy like making a baby giggle, or catching up with an old friend. There is nothing more cathartic than belly laughter shared around a table. There is not much that delights our hearts more than a giant hug from a friend or a friendly smile from a stranger.
And these are the actions, my friend, the tiniest ordinary actions that save us from feelings of loneliness or exclusion or isolation.
And the best part is — these things are free. They don’t have to be luxury if we don’t make them one. Luxuries are luxuries because they are rare, unique, one-of-a-kind.
But to see the path we are on, it means we must open our eyes and be conscious of our tendencies to be sucked into our screens.
This week, I’m offering up a challenge for us all.
Instead of “liking” a post on Facebook, let’s call the person and talk about the picture the posted — ”I saw you guys were at Disneyland! Tell me all about it!”
Instead of commenting on a friend’s political post, give that person a call and invite them out to coffee to learn more about where they are coming from.
Instead of making excuses about why we haven’t followed up with a particular contact, let’s make THIS week the week we finally give them a call.
In short, let’s make human contact a priority and it will no longer be a luxury.