I read an article on the New York Times website earlier today, by a guy called David Brooks. In it, the author was asked what he would do if he was suddenly given $500 million. After an initial fantasy of putting it towards some kind of anti tea-party political campaign, he came up with the idea of doing something to improve the number of friends we all have.

It is an interesting idea.

His idea was based around some kind of summer camp, because it was where many of his childhood friends came from, and whilst as an unmarried person with no children, the idea of summer camp sounds semi appealing, I suspect to many more it is a pretty horrific idea… to put together some kind of system to help people make more friends.

It is quite interesting really as perhaps the most successful business of recent times has been all about reconnecting with old friends… well really data mining for information under the guise of reconnecting people. In it, he spoke about how he would try and put together some kind of system to help people make more friends. It is an interesting idea.

According to a survey of 3000 people done by Nivea, the skin care company, the average person only has three true friends and a further 22 close-ish acquaintances. I don’t know whether this is accurate but other surveys I have read seem to say the same thing. Perhaps more disconcerting is the fact that this number is apparently going down.

It is also worth noticing that the number of friends one has, has a direct correlation on lifespan.

So the fact is that we need to find a way to improve our friends, apart from anything else I want to live longer!to put together some kind of system to help people make more friends. In

But the question is what is the changing everything concept that can comes from this. Certainly Facebook mentioned earlier was very much a game changing website… but the 130 or so average connections one has on Facebook is often perhaps not ones real friends, and I seem to have gathered over 2000 people on Facebook and I am not sure really who a good 1000 of those are at all!

So the question is what one can do.

And maybe this is the solution. It appears that there is a movement in the US and in the UK called I talk to strangers – although recently the UK version was rebranded as “Talk to Me, I’ll Talk to you.”

And it seems to me that by getting people to talk on a person to person basis, and helping people find the time for each other really can be something that changes everything.

So I suppose my call to you at the end of this article is to do your bit and talk to people. It’s amazing how much better life can be when you make the effort to exchange conversation with people, whether at the bus stop – or in a shop, or anywhere for that matter. Now sometimes people will just think you are a lunatic or a bit of a nut job, but sometimes you might just make a new friend or improve someone’s life.

I leave you with the video put together to help the English version of I talk to Strangers video from their Kickstarter campaign.Would love to hear your comments below.

Would love to hear your comments below.