Alyssa Thorne
February 03, 2017 6:07 pm

Many of us are lucky enough to meet our basic needs relatively easily — food, water, and shelter are hopefully consistent features of your life. But the one core need that we often forget to think of as such is human interaction. In a world where the workday for many increasingly consists of sitting in front of a computer and interacting with coworkers virtually, it’s alarmingly easy to go a full day without reeeeally talking to anybody. And it’s absolutely not that virtual means can’t be used to develop real, deep relationships — but there’s something to be said for actual human contact.

Enter the “Happy to Chat” buttons from the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness, a handy little accessory that will let people know that you’re open to having a conversation!

The Jo Cox Commission was named for Jo Cox, a British politician who was murdered last year. The Jo Cox Commission handed out the buttons on the London tube to encourage people to open themselves up to conversation. We think it’s a really lovely idea, because it really quickly points out who is, and who isn’t, open to chat. Sometimes you just want a quiet tube ride! Some people are too anxious to deal with unplanned interaction! Sometimes you’re having a bad day and don’t want to be bothered! All totally valid. But sometimes, it’s just nice to have a chat, and even nicer to have a button like a traffic light to tell others when it’s okay to go. (Respectfully, of course.)

Jo Cox felt strongly that loneliness was an issue of importance, but not oft dealt with. She said, “Young or old, loneliness doesn’t discriminate … it is something many of us could easily help with.”

We think this is such a cool idea, and a lovely tribute to Jo Cox’s memory!