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We are not robots!

As I popped into Anne’s office today, I heard her say, “No, I am not a robot!” I didn’t see anyone else in the room and she wasn’t on the phone. “Who are you talking to,” I asked.

Anne shook her head and replied, “No one. I’m just frustrated that every time I go to log in to this site, I must complete the Captcha to prove I am not a robot.

“Why is that? If Google can autofill my details, including my credit card info, why can’t it remember that I am not a robot?

“Actually, I have noticed that people are acting like robots and treating each other like robots so maybe I shouldn’t be surprised. With masks covering our faces, our smile is hidden and interchanges between masked people has become very robotic.

“Do you need bags? Do you have a loyalty card? How would you like to pay? Thank you for shopping at ____. Have a nice day.

“We seem to have lost our ability to relate to each other as human beings.

“A few months ago, when I asked my doctor “How are you managing with your two little ones?” She started to cry and told me, “You are the ONLY person who has asked me that. It’s hard. I know I am very fortunate that my mom can look after my two girls. I don’t get to see them or my husband very often as we seem to be literally passing in the night while he works the night shift in the Emergency Department.”

“Can you imagine? Here is a person who is working night and day and weekends to care for us. Who is expected to CARE and be EMPATHETIC, and make no mistakes while she is on duty and switch to being a wife and mother when off-duty, during a particularly difficult time due to COVID19, and no one cares enough to ask her how she is doing?

“When I saw her again this past week, and I inquired about how she was doing, while she didn’t cry, she told me that I was still the only person who had asked her!

“How sad is that?

“We are all people, and we need other people to see us, care about us and ask us how we are getting along. And I don’t mean the perfunctory, obligatory, “how are you?”, I mean asking with kindness and compassion in your voice and really listening to the answer."

“You may get a whole lot of details that you are unable to do anything about, but you can listen, and you can say something that acknowledges their difficult situation (e.g., “that must be hard”, “I hope it passes soon”, “I am sorry that is happening”), or that appreciates their positive news (e.g., “congratulations!”, “I am so happy for you”, “that is great news”).

“You never know, you may be the only one who does.”

Let’s all remember we are people dealing with other people. We are social beings, and we have a fundamental need for connection. We are NOT robots! Even Google doesn't want to deal with robots!


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