People aren’t lonely because there are too few people around. If anything, in cities especially, there’s a feeling of overwhelm from the uncountable number of people zipping by. The problem is that we’re not slowing down to actually connect with each other. That 18 inches of space between you and the person in front of you at Trader Joe’s, or that 1 inch of space between you and the person on the bus, can end up feeling like a mile of separation.
Usually, all we need is the spark of a good question to initiate conversation with someone. For ideas on how to ask simple, fun questions appropriate to any context, look up Gary Poole’s book, “1001 Conversation Starters,” or check out this video, “7 Greatest Conversation Starters That Actually Work,” that includes, “Where is the restroom?” and “Where’d you get your shirt?”