You need other people to be happy.

I’ve spent a lot of time alone. Oodles of time. Do the math and it would probably add up to a shockingly high percentage of my years on this planet. As an only child, flying solo always been my M.O. I’m fiercely independent and admittedly introverted.

And truth be told, the introspective time investment has paid off. It’s allowed me a keen self-awareness, which, in turn has helped me grow, evolve and change. THANK GOD.

But hermits aren’t happy. We need people. I need people. Despite my affinity for aloneness, my friends have always been my world — my soulmates, my confidantes. Without them, I wouldn’t be me.

Part of being human involves making meaningful connections with other humans. Without those, life feels pretty empty. Happiness in a vacuum is challenging, if not impossible.

Science has shown that community is a key component of happiness. People with close relationships are happier, period. There’s no getting around the fact that we’re social creatures, built for love and companionship and connection. We need each other. It’s why we get the warm fuzzies when we see videos like this, or this.

My point is this: you can do a massive amount of work on yourself solo. You change your habits, your behavior and your mental patterns. You can transform yourself from top to bottom. But without feeling connected to others, lasting happiness is likely to elude you.

We’re all just looking for someone to hold our hand. Like fish, adrift in a sea without our school, we’re longing to find each other.  We’ve trained ourselves to seek connection through social media and technology, but nothing can substitute for face-to-face, person-to-person, human interaction.

If you feel lonely — if you’re working towards happiness but it seems like you’re missing something — if you’re spending too much time alone — REACH OUT. Even if you’re afraid, reach out. Even if you’re shy or introverted or quiet, reach out. Trust me on this, just power through your discomfort and reach out. There are innumerable others just waiting for you to make the first move.

So many humans seeking contact and connection. They’re everywhere. That’s why there’s Meetup and Yelp. That’s why people hit the bars and flock like lemmings to adult sports leagues. They may seem confident and busy and aloof, but they’re aching for authenticity and kinship — just as you are.

Bottom line: we need more group hugs, more handshakes, more cheek kisses. More love, more openness, more trust. These are the things that help us get happier. Without each other, we’re doomed to swim the seas alone.

So today, make it your mission to reach out. It starts with you. And me. <3

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