Comedian Andy Parsons chats to unsuspecting strangers as part of the Campaign to End Loneliness’s new video, Let’s Talk More
Comedian Andy Parsons (from Mock the Week and Live at the Apollo) fronts a new video from the Campaign to End Loneliness to encourage people to talk more.
The film shows public reaction as Andy spends a day in a shopping centre encouraging people to get off their smartphones and have a chat. Secret cameras captured the moment surprised shoppers were approached by Andy, and despite some early awkward moments, the video shows the laughter and joy talking to strangers can bring.
The video is part of Be More Us, a nationwide movement to inspire connection, tackle loneliness and bring people together. Loneliness affects nine million people in the UK.1
The video was developed off the back of research showing that small moments of connection, such as talking with strangers, can make us feel more connected in our communities and reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation.2,3 Polling by the Campaign to End Loneliness found that 9 in 10 UK adults believe that these small moments of connection can help to tackle loneliness.4
Commenting on the campaign, Andy Parsons said:
“I was apprehensive about just sitting down in the middle of a shopping centre and initiating conversations with total strangers. I wasn’t sure whether many people would talk to me at all, let alone whether we would get any footage we could turn into a film. As it was, everybody, without exception, was pleasant and the four hours I spent there passed incredibly quickly. Just a few words, asking someone how they are, can positively change how a person feels about their day and I would recommend the experience to everyone. If we all strive to have more conversations with the people around us, then we can spread a little happiness and help reduce loneliness in Britain. As I go around the country on tour, I shall definitely be popping into more shopping centres and looking forward to sitting down on a bench for a chat.”
Minister for Loneliness, Mims Davies MP said:
“Loneliness is one of the biggest public health challenges in this country, and we know that making new connections is a great way to prevent or overcome feelings of loneliness. I hope this new campaign will help bring people together and show how just a short conversation can help brighten someone’s mood and make them feel less alone.”
Laura Alcock-Ferguson, Executive Director at the Campaign to End Loneliness, said: “In today’s fast-paced world it’s all too easy to shut ourselves off and forget how to connect with people around us. But even a small change in behaviour – like simply saying hello to a neighbour – can make you feel better and brighten up someone else’s day too. Every one of us can make a positive difference in our communities, just by talking to each other more.”
Campaign to End Loneliness’ top tips to get talking:
- Start small – Small gestures such as smiling or just saying ‘Good morning’ to people you pass in the street can make a big difference
- Ask open questions – ‘How are you?’ is a good start but, in reality, it’s almost a closed question as most people will answer ‘fine, thanks’. Instead, try asking for advice or an opinion, commenting on the weather, or sharing a compliment
- Look approachable – Non-verbal communication makes up a minimum of 60% of our communication,5,6 so smile and uncross your arms. That also means making yourself approachable, by putting your phone down and taking off your headphones
- Get out there – Going to evening classes, attending a workshop, learning a new sport or volunteering can open up opportunities to meet new like-minded people
- Challenge yourself – Set yourself goals for talking to new people every week, for example at your bus stop or train station, learning the name of the shop assistant at your local newsagent or having a conversation with a neighbour
You can watch the Let’s Talk More video with Andy Parsons here: https://youtu.be/ZctF9ehIMIk
Anyone who wants to help end loneliness can sign up to the movement at https://bemoreus.org.uk/
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Note to editors
Campaign to End Loneliness
The Campaign to End Loneliness believes that people of all ages need connections that matter.
There are nine million lonely people in the UK and four million of them are older people. Many older people find constant loneliness hardest to overcome. They lack the friendship and support we all need.
We’ve been experts in the field of loneliness and connection since 2011. We share research, evidence and knowledge with thousands of other organisations and the public to make a difference to older people’s lives.
We’re hosted by Independent Age, supported by National Lottery funding through the National Lottery Community Fund, and also funded by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, The Tudor Trust and donations from the general public. Together, we can End Loneliness.
About Be More Us
In May 2018 the Campaign to End Loneliness launched Be More Us in each nation of the UK.
Be More Us is a movement to inspire people of all ages to celebrate the things we have in common. We want people to feel part of their community. We all need a sense of belonging, no matter what age we are. We want to celebrate small moments of connection, like saying hello to someone in your local shop or smiling at someone on the bus.
Small moments count. In every conversation, there is an opportunity to be ‘Us’ and find something that connects us. We want to celebrate that. So, don’t be a stranger.
Let’s be more open. Let’s be more together. Let’s Be More Us.
- The Red Cross. Trapped in a bubble: An investigation into triggers for loneliness in the UK Report, December 2016. https://www.redcross.org.uk/about-us/what-we-do/action-on-loneliness. Last accessed July 2018.
- Sandstrom, GM and Dunn EW. Social interactions and well-being: The surprising power of weak ties Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin(2014):910-922.
- Sandstrom, GM and Dunn EW. Is Efficiency Overrated?: Minimal Social Interactions Lead to Belonging and Positive Affect Social Psychological and Personality Science. 2014. 437-442.
- Based on a YouGov PLC survey or 2035 UK adults in April 2018.
- Mehrabian, A. (1981). Silent Messages. Implicit Communication of Emotions and Attitudes.
- Mehrabian, A. (1972). Non-verbal Communication. Aldine-Atherton.