MGU 236 | Post Pandemic Loneliness

 

Many people are experiencing post-pandemic loneliness and are craving for social interactions. But then there are others who embrace introverism and having social anxiety in dealing with socially starved people because they would much rather be left alone. On today’s show, Jason Wrobel and Whitney Lauritsen dissect loneliness, superficial friendships, and social anxiety. Did you know that loneliness and chronic social isolation can be as damaging to physical health as smoking fifteen cigarettes a day? At the end of the day, we all want friendship and a deep sense of connection to people who are unafraid of being vulnerable and real. If you resonate with these topics, you’re in for a treat. Tune in!  

Listen to the podcast here:


Post-Pandemic Loneliness: Superficial Friendships & Social Anxiety 

We are doing this episode on Memorial Day 2021. I decided to take my dog, Bella and do an improvised outing in the world. I have not been going out much during the time of pandemic that we are all in. As an aside, Whitney, this is tangential before I get to our subject. On social media, Ive been seeing many people paraphrasing this verbiage of the pandemic being over. Theyre saying the pandemic is over or alluding to the fact that its over. Thats a whole different level of concern and curiosity with that languaging. The pandemic, in my mind, is still happening. 

I havent been out much. I go out probably two days a week. I go once for physical therapy and to the Farmers Market with my girlfriend Laura. I did something a little unusual. I was like, “Im going to take the dog and were going to go to check out a record store here in Los Angeles.” If anyone is into an audio file, youre into vinyl records, theres a cool record store and its in Echo Park. Its called Cosmic Vinyl. Its been open for a few years but I had been meaning to go. Theyve got a cool cafe inside. I got a lavender matcha latte. It was delicious. The two baristas had cat tattoos. We bonded over cat tattoos. Everyone fell in love with Bella. It was sweet.  

What world are you in? We're not picking up where we left off! I'm dreading vapid, shallow conversation. Click To Tweet

I got to talking with the two baristas about whether or not theyre going to have live music in the record store and they said, “We have this mobile stage that comes up from the back. Were planning on booking more bands because everyone who works here is also in a band.” I got to talk to them about music. Bella and I walked around Echo Park and we stumbled into a couple of vintage stores and as Bella does she pulls on the leash and says, “Dad, lets go into this store.” I let Bella do the guiding. It had been a long time since I had an outing like that. It was lovely.  

When I got home later in the day, I felt an overwhelming wave of sadness and I wasnt clear why I felt sad. We were out. We had this great matcha lavender latte, we were looking at old records, connecting with other artists and meeting sweet new people. Bella is an adorable mini French Bulldog. Anytime you take Bella out, youre going to meet people. Shes a guaranteed connection point. Speaking of connection, I realized that the reason I felt sad when I got home is that I have been a lot more lonely than I have been acknowledging in my life. It’s like deep loneliness. I started to get curious why I felt lonely and have been feeling lonely. Theres the obvious like were in a pandemic, youve been inside and you only go out twice a week.  

With this deeper level of sadness, I started to get clear about a few reasons behind this. I want to dedicate a large chunk of this episode to the epidemic of loneliness. When you Google that phrase, “The epidemic of loneliness,” a lot of fascinating studies and a little mini-documentary came up. With my battle with loneliness, I realized theres something specific thats driving it for me. It’s that I dont feel like I am connected to a community. When we talk about loneliness, there are different versions.  

I have five incredibly sweet loving animals here. I have an amazing girlfriend Laura that I see multiple times a week. You and I do this show. You and I dont see each other physically that much but we do see each other. When you and I do this show, in some ways its like you and I sitting down and kicking and having a conversation. We hope you, dear reader, feel that way too. This loneliness, as far as I can tell from meditating on it and crying a lot about it, was triggered by meeting those two young women who were baristas at the record store, how they were saying they were in bands and there are all these bands playing.  

I was in a band a little bit with our friends Kitten Kuroi and Damon Valley. We did that School Night Mashup thing years ago. What is at the core of this deep chronic loneliness for me and this pain that Im feeling is I dont feel connected to a community and to creative collaborators. Honestly, it feels lonely to create on my own. Ive been writing more songs, doing jingles and songs that are all on my own. The writing that I do is all on my own. You and I split the duties with our brand Wellevatr and this show. My point is that I feel like I dont have a community anymore. I dont have a group of creative collaborators. I miss that. I thrive on that.  

Isolation has given many gifts. The isolation has also shown me that creating on my own in isolation is lonely for me. I dont know how to reconnect with a community or find new creative collaborators. I feel like Im a bit lost. I also want to say this before I pass the baton to you and we talk more about loneliness and this little documentary and an article from the Atlantic I want to talk about. Its been exacerbated by social media. With Memorial Day, Ive been seeing so many people like, “Were on a boat. Were at this huge party. Weve got all our friends together.” People are doing shots, DJs and bands. Im seeing people getting together with their communities.  

MGU 236 | Post Pandemic Loneliness

Post-Pandemic Loneliness: Social media can make our sense of loneliness worse.

 

I dont think its healthy for me because its exacerbating this acute sense of loneliness I have and the disconnection that I feel. Its another reason for me to get off social media. Its making it worse. I feel sad because I feel like I dont have a community right now. I dont know what to do. Now that Ive identified this feeling and the root of the loneliness, I dont know what to do with it. Many friends of ours whether thats mutual friends of yours and mine or friends of mine who have moved. Theyre like, “Im not coming back to LA. Im out.” Its amplified by the sense that many good friends have moved away.  

I feel sad and lonely. I have a deep desire to somehow reconfigure or find a community. I dont know what to do about it. Im bringing it up because I want to be honest about how lonely Ive been, how sad Ive been about it and getting clear about why. Before we get into the article and some of the other thoughts, I want to pass it back to you. You were feeling slaphappy before the episode and Im like, “Let me be a downer and talk about how sad and lonely I am.” 

To be frank, I cant relate. Im not saying that to be harsh. Im being honest. I have the opposite problem.  

You don’t want to be around people, do you? 

I don’t. I got a phone call from someone whos a strong acquaintance of mine and I was like, “Im not going to pick up.” Now I feel that I have to call this person back. I have another friend who always wants to talk. I love talking to my sister. Its interesting because there are certain people in my life. My sister probably feels that way about me but we talked a ton. Im usually the one that wants to talk to her more than she wants to talk to me. Its different with her. Its not like I dont want to talk to anybody. I talk to you. We will talk no matter what through the podcast. I get that out of my system. Maybe thats part of the reason I feel nourished.  

We have guests on the show. Usually, we record at least once a week with a guest. We record twice a week minimum on just the two of us. I have meetings. There’s just so much going on and thats led me to feel a lot of social fatigue. I read an article related to the pandemic and how I thought that I would be feeling replenished. It would be easier for me to socialize and Id yearn to socialize but I dont. I almost feel like I want to socialize even less than I did beforehand.  

Can I ask you something about that? Thats an interesting statement to say you feel like you want to socialize less than before. Is it a reticence that you feel because you anticipate youre going to be drained by those interactions? What is at the core of that for you? 

Im not entirely sure yet, to be honest. It might be particular to certain people. I’m not sure. Its different from my sister. Rarely, I cant think of any time that I dont want to talk to my sister. Weve spoken so much. We FaceTime multiple times a week. We dont plan it. It happens. Ill dial her up. We use Snapchat to send each other videos. Were on TikTok messaging each other videos every single day. We text. Shes coming to visit me. Its not fully mutual. My sister and I are different. Were not like this mutual best friend. Her best friends are technically actual friends and not me. I would put her up there in one of my best friends easily because we have this ease and we get each other.  

Most people aren’t lifelong friends anyways because people come and go. Click To Tweet

I dont know if Ive said this in the podcast before but I felt for many years that my sister and I have what I imagine as a relationship with a twin. We communicate non verbally. We can sometimes read each others minds or get close. We have this deep connection and that makes it easy. Part of what makes socializing hard for me and one of the reasons I get drained by it is I want a deep connection. Its easy to talk to you because I dont feel like you put on any mask with me. I see you doing that when were in groups with other people. Im sure I do it too, the different postures and tones of voice that we have with certain people. I fall into that pattern of the professional version of me. Thats a little bit different. I also find that draining and maybe thats part of it.  

Outside of you bringing this up, Jason, on YouTube, I came across a couple of semi-viral videos or whatever you want to define viralize. It’s between 50 to 100,000 views from a small channel. For this channel, it was viral. Theres this man named Josh Hitti and he has six videos on his channel under 13,000 subscribers. His videos all get a minimum of 20,000 views. His first video got over 350,000 views. The title of this video is 32 years old – I have No friends – Is it social anxiety? He has update videos like Day in the Life With No Friends 

When he turned 33, he said, “I still have no friends.” Hes doing Q&As. His entire channel is what life is like with no friends. Ive barely watched his videos. Ive only seen a few minutes of them. One thing I like is that theyre raw. Half of his videos are on the longer side. Some of them are short. I dont think he edits them much. His channel says, “Keep going. Mental health matters.” He has mental health. Ive been wanting to dig further into his videos. Maybe you and I can talk about it. Maybe we even bring him on as a guest if hes open to it.  

Because I looked at his videos, I started getting the algorithm kicked in. It showed me a video of this other girl who titled the video Having no friends and why it’s okay. This has over 70,000 views. She also is a relatively small channel. Over 1,000 comments of people talking about why theyre struggling to make friendships saying the pandemics made them realize a lot. They feel more alone around people. Somebody wrote, “Sometimes its better to be alone because nobody can hurt you that way.” That got 600 thumbs up of people relating to it. Another said, “Im an introvert. Most people arent lifelong friends anyways because people come and go.” Reading through these comments, you see how many people can relate. I imagine theyre going to be readers that can relate to this.  

On some level, I can probably relate but on a different side of this. I feel nourished by my relationship with you, with my sister, with other people in my life, my acquaintances. I feel like there are too many people to keep in touch with. I have older friends with who I have a fortunate dynamic. We dont talk that much but we always have that underlying friendship. I know that theyll always be there for me. If I need them, they will answer the phone and they will show up. A number of them have kids so its hard to hear from them. Its hard to schedule things.  

MGU 236 | Post Pandemic Loneliness

Post-Pandemic Loneliness: It’s easier to have a deep connection with someone when you don’t feel like you have to put a mask on.

 

Some relationships have changed during the pandemic because of different viewpoints on COVID and politics. Theres certainly been a lot of shifts for that reason and I dont mind so much. To the point of some of these comments, I understand that relationships shift over time. Taking the pressure off of having to stay friends with somebody for a long time puts me at ease. Its like, “I dont have to maintain this because its draining for me.” For me, in the pandemic, I am having the opposite experience. I rarely feel lonely. I feel stressed out. Im nervous about people inviting me to do things.  

It happened. Somebody who I used to see regularly, our mutual friend, Jason, who would invite us over to watch TV shows or movies. I would see them a lot over the years. They’re social people. They invited me over to their place and I responded, “First of all, Im not fully vaxed yet. I dont know if I feel ready doing that. Second of all, Im not sure that Im ready to dive back into socializing.” Im nervous about being in that atmosphere. I’m afraid that people aren’t going to respect my boundaries. Thats maybe something I havent even articulated before and Im curious if you feel this but on a different level. The mismatched energy, everyones trying to dial it back in but some people are going to be socially starved that it might be over the top.  

For someone like me, that gives me so much anxiety because I want to be left alone. I want to be someone who’s like, “Let me slowly come out.” It’s almost like your cat, Figaro. He can only take so much touching. He likes to be touched but you’ve got to know when to stop touching him. Otherwise, hes going to scratch or bite you. I wont scratch or bite someone but I would like to sometimes because I want to be left alone. Let me come to you like a cat and let me back away and leave me alone when I want to be left alone. 

Now it is clear why you love Figaro so much. In some ways, hes your spirit animal. Thats funny, Whitney. It also makes sense too. It’s a dichotomy in the sense that Im lonely and I miss having a community. I miss having consistent social interactions with people in person. Yet I do resonate with what youre describing. In some forms, it’s the community that I was a part of previously. One of the gifts of this time has been reflecting on how many of those relationships were not friendships. They were mild acquaintanceships under the guise of, “Were in the same movement. Were in the same community. Were going to get together.”  

Relationships shift over time. You don’t have to maintain a relationship that’s draining for you. Click To Tweet

I realized that a lot of those people that I was spending time with in social situations were not actual friends or acquaintances. There’s nothing wrong with that. I have gotten clear about who our friends in my life are and who are acquaintances. That was maybe a bit muddled for me for a little while. That being said, my reticence is I dont want to be in a vapid conversation. I dont want to get together with a group of people acting like the pandemic didnt happen or picking up where we left off. What world are you in? Were not picking up where we left off. Are you ignoring whats occurred?  

Im dreading vapid, shallow interaction. Im wondering how Im going to respond when those situations inevitably do arise because they will. Whether or not Im going to walk away from someone and not give a crap or gently and courteously tell them Im not interested in having this conversation. Im going to be bold in some way. I dont know what that is. I have no desire to engage in a conversation that doesnt have weight, purpose, meaning or soul. Im going to either proverbial or walk away. Theres that anxiety around that, which is similar to what youre describing.  

When I say community, I want to be around real people who are in touch with their emotions, with their perspectives, who are afraid to be vulnerable, uncomfortable and real. Thats probably going to take time to build that community again. Its going to take time for me to find those people. It may not be in LA. Ive talked ad nauseam on this podcast about moving which I still intend on doing. That means Ill have to seek out and build a new community somewhere else and thats fine because I dont feel like I have a community here anyway anymore.  

The people I was in community with when I think about most of them, Im like, “I don’t want to hang out with you anyway.” I’m being real. I think about the handful of people I have seen during the pandemic and those are real friends. Those are humans I know that I can count on whether the tide is high or low. It revealed the depth and the meaningfulness of specific friendships, vapidity and the shallowness of other acquaintanceships. Thats been a gift in that sense. This idea of this loneliness epidemic, if you Google this phrase, it is fascinating what is coming up around loneliness. Were not talking about the US. Were talking about globally.  

There is an article that I pulled up and sent to you before we started from The Atlantic. It is a fantastic website. Weve referenced many articles from The Atlantic. The article is titled The Voices of the Loneliness Epidemic. To summarize quickly, theres a short 13.5-minute docuvideo. This documentary is called Disconnected. It was done by a British filmmaker in her twenties called Alice Aedy. She was documenting these anonymous phone calls that were left on the voicemail in the inbox of the UK’s British Minister of Loneliness. Theres a minister appointed to address the loneliness epidemic in the United Kingdom.  

These phone calls were people in their late teens and early 20s to mid-20s. I felt pain in my heart. This anonymous hotline where these young people were calling into, theres no one to respond to them or judge them. It was like them stepping into a confessional box if anyones been to church before. Its interesting to hear about how London is this loneliness hotspot. These major cities around the world are these loneliness hotspots where you have millions of people in any of these given cities but people feel more disconnected and more lonely than ever before.  

The epidemic experts, if you will, are labeling this. They say it is an actual venerable public health crisis. Some research studies theyre referencing in this article show that loneliness and chronic social isolation can be as damaging to physical health as smoking fifteen cigarettes a day. Thats mind-blowing. This loneliness and this lack of social relationships increase the likelihood of mortality by 26%. The same study found that when compared with people with weak social ties, people who enjoyed meaningful deep relationships were more than 50% more likely to survive and have a longer lifespan. That is fascinating.  

Theres a guy, hes a neuroscience professor, at the University of Chicago. John Cacioppo wrote a book called Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection and found that loneliness had affected us on a cellular level and altered the way our genes are expressed. It talks to a deep-seated biological need for us to be connected to one another. Its no shock. Weve referenced this in previous episodes about the massive spike in binge drinking and alcoholism, particularly with women over the pandemic weve experienced. The level of drug addiction and the level of suicide, weve referenced all these in previous episodes. To see research that its affecting us on a cellular level, that its altering the gene expression from loneliness and lack of social connection.  

MGU 236 | Post Pandemic Loneliness

Post-Pandemic Loneliness: A lot of people that we spend time within social situations are not actual friends or acquaintances that we may have no desire to pick up where we left off before the pandemic.

 

Ive had physical pain when I feel lonely. My heart will hurt when I feel that depth of loneliness. It will feel like someone is taking a tiny butter knife and stabbing me in the heart. To hear that its affecting us on an actual physical cellular level, I resonate with that deeply. How are we going to address this? Not just on an individual level, me talking about wanting community. Its going to be interesting to see how humanity handles this in a post-pandemic world. How are we going to reconnect with each other? It goes back to the weirdness Ive been feeling when I look at social media and seeing people having these giant Memorial Day parties. Some people act like nothing ever happened. Some people are like, “Were partying.” Im like, “I want that but I also feel freaked out by it.”  

It makes me feel even weirder to observe people snapping back into these social situations quickly and effortlessly when I feel a mixture of loneliness and sadness but wanting that social interaction. Like you, I need a ramp-up period to get used to those things again. Seeing people doing that, snapping their fingers and jumping into these parties again, I almost feel like theres something wrong with me. I know there isnt. 

Its challenging because there are so many different perspectives and comfort levels. Were out of sync with each other. Maybe we were more out of sync than we realized before. It would be interesting to see studies about how many people identify as introverts now. I feel like that word has been used a lot in the past. Maybe it was already building and being a trend before the pandemic but the pandemic brought it more to the surface. Its tough. To me, it’s similar to social media.  

I had a conversation with a social media client who feels so much shame around how shes showing up online. I was listening to her and realizing that shes looking at all these other people on social media who appear to have it all together through their follower accounts, their type of posting and consistency. Shes looking at herself and thinking, “I dont have the same amount of followers. I’m not as consistent. I’m not doing the same type of post.” Shes not doing those things because its not something that she wants to do right now but she feels the pressure to show up. She feels less shame and all of these emotions that come up because of that comparison.  

Loneliness and lack of social relationships increase the likelihood of mortality by 26%. Click To Tweet

I said, “The truth is that people probably arent even noticing what youre not doing because theyre also focused on what other people are doing.” In a way, you can hang back and be quiet and youre not bringing very much attention to yourself which might not serve some of your goals from a marketing perspective. Its not like people are going to your account and thinking, “She hasnt done this or that. Look at what shes not doing.” Maybe some people do that but I dont think thats as common. Most people are looking at somebody else and thinking those things. Thats similar to what youre describing because the people that are into parties, theyre not like, “Jason is not here.” Unless theyre close friends of yours and theyre personally disappointed.  

I dont think the majority of people are paying attention to what others are doing because theyre too busy comparing themselves to somebody else. People might feel ready to socialize but perhaps their bodies changed and theyre feeling self-conscious. Thats a big thing, too. As youve talked about in that vive experience, my body has certainly changed during COVID. Im starting to feel more comfortable. Ive been back in a flow that I feel good with in terms of taking care of my body and building internal confidence despite how it looks on the outside. I certainly have my insecurities.  

I imagine most people feel insecure about how they look because were not even used to being observed by others in person. Thats going to feel awkward for most people. I bet you, most people are feeling those emotions about themselves. Theyre not even thinking about what you are unless theyre comparing themselves to you for good or bad. I bet you a lot of people are socializing sooner than they feel comfortable. Theyre trying to push themselves outside of their comfort zones or maybe they feel peer pressure. I feel fortunate that none of my friends or family are pushing me to socialize. Im preparing for it because several events are going on. I decided to get vaccinated so that I would feel socially comfortable.  

One of the big hesitations for me was my fear of getting COVID or spreading COVID. Thats prevented me from socializing as many people have felt, except for people that dont think that COVID is real or feel somehow protected from it in whatever way. On that note, Ive been hearing more stories of people who have been affected by COVID. Off the top of my head, Ive heard a good number of stories of people passing away from COVID. It still is a real thing. I want to be cautious. Im curious once Im fully vaccinated what itll be like. Im looking forward to getting my second shot and being officially fully vaccinated.  

What if I get to that point and I dont feel that different? What if I get to that point and go start socializing and recognize, “This is too much too soon?” I have no idea. I can only take it day by day. I went out to a different part of Los Angeles, walked around and it was busier. It feels uncomfortable. Im looking forward to being fully vaccinated because Ill feel more comfortable taking my mask down while Im walking down the street. I dont know if Ill feel fully comfortable not wearing my mask in public settings. That could take me some time. At least, in the back of my head, therell be that difference between what I feel and then what the CDC is saying. It’s like, “I might personally have some anxiety but since Im fully vaccinated and the CDC says that its okay for me to do these things.” That gives me some comfort. That was part of why I decided to get the vaccine.  

MGU 236 | Post Pandemic Loneliness

Post-Pandemic Loneliness: Major cities around the world are loneliness hotspots. There are millions of people in any of these given cities, but they feel more disconnected and lonely than ever before.

 

To some level, I knew that for me to start to feel ready to socialize, it was important for me to get the vaccine so that I could feel like I could start making progress towards socializing again. The more I reflected on it, the more I recognized that a lot of my fear around COVID whether I got it myself or was asymptomatic and spread it to other people. That was a lot of stress. It still is since Im not fully vaxxed. Its stressful for me. It was stressful to be around my parents when I traveled. The extremes were stressful. It was stressful having those conversations with people and being around people that felt more comfortable than I did and feeling that awkwardness of trying to stay 6 feet apart and wear masks.  

There were times where I let my guard down. I was a little bit more relaxed about how I was acting with people than I truly felt comfortable. I gave in through peer pressure. From what I know, Im looking forward to being fully vaxxed simply so I can feel like, “I can let my guard downI can ease back in. I dont have to have that weird social experience. On that note, the next wave socially is going to be awkward for some time in this conversation of, “Did you get vaccinated or not?” Some people were saying how flying on airplanes now, I dont feel ready to do that. Im not sure if its airplanes or if it was something else I was reading. There was a story of this woman who felt deeply uncomfortable going on the airplane when she realized that they were full again. She had to sit directly next to a stranger. She was like, “If I had known that, I would have put more protection on. I would have had two masks and a face shield on.” Honestly, I cannot imagine being on an airplane. That scares the crap out of me.  

Its going to be uncomfortable once Im fully vaccinated and starting to be in more social situations, it’s crossing my mind, “Is this person not wearing a mask because theyre fully vaccinated? Are they not wearing a mask because theyre anti-mask?” Its not a judgment thing. Its a safety thing. Its a trust thing. It feels uncomfortable for me to ask somebody if theyre vaccinated because Im not trying to judge them. Are they hugging me because theyre vaccinated? Are they hugging me because they feel safe and theyre not vaccinated? In those situations, Im nervous about that the more that I reflect on it.  

There’s a number of friends and people I know who are either on the fence, hesitant or maybe theyve made up their mind and they dont want to get vaccinated. I respect their choice but I dont know if they respect me enough to keep a distance. If somebody is not fully vaccinated, I want to stay 6 feet apart and be masked. Im not comfortable. Im not certain that a fully vaccinated person and a non-vaccinated person are completely safe to be around each other. I dont feel comfortable with that. There are going to be those types of situations that are going to make socializing more complicated.  

Not to mention dating. Two things on that. There have been some interesting memes floating around. Full disclosure, the acquaintances and friends in my life are all over the map on this issue and not just the idea of loneliness, which Im going to tie into what Im about to say. The issue of, “Whos vaxxed? Whos not? How do we communicate about it? How its going to affect dating?” I have one and he used to be a friend. Hes more of an acquaintance now to be real about it. He posts a lot of anti-vax stuff. Hes hardcore about it. I respect him. He posts some funny stuff too, which I appreciate the funny stuff more than I do the biblical crap that he posts.  

Loneliness had affected us on a cellular level and altered the way our genes are expressed. Click To Tweet

He posted something about the dating criteria. It’s like, “Eats organic. Does yoga. Vegan. Meditator. No vaccine.” This is his criteria now of like, “Im not going to touch you or come near you if youre vaccinated.” Theres that stuff going around now. Ive seen people post, “Men and women, if you are vaccinated, youre out of my dating pool. I wont even consider you as a partner.” That is going around like wildfire. The other thing Ive seen to go back to the foundational topic of this episode about loneliness and social isolation is people in the same sentiment around here who are choosing to not be vaccinated, wearing their sovereignty and isolation as a badge of honor.  

To paraphrase, it’s like, “If I dont have any friends after this, Ill be alone and be not vaccinated and you can go screw yourself.” Its that kind of language where theyre not going to hang around with vaccinated people anymore. Theyre essentially saying, “If youre vaccinated, were not going to be friends and were not going to hang out anymore.” Theyre taking pride in their sense of isolation and sovereignty. Theres that which is fascinating to me psychologically of them cutting people out of their lives if theyre choosing to be vaccinated. Thats interesting. The other thing and this is back to the air travel thing. I got sent something in the mail. I have not tried it yet but Im interested to use this device, specifically for air travel. The company sent it to me. I intend to use this for my next plane flight. This is something I read about that they werent going to come out with. Its super tech geeky. Its a helmet called the Air MicroClimate 

This is essentially a wearable helmet with two HEPA air filters that circulate fresh air throughout the module. Its like a space helmet with air filters in it. The filtration system is supposed to be effective against micro particulatesI was reading online about this Air MicroClimate. At airports and depending on the air carrier, some of them have demanded that people wear masks inside the helmet. Certain helmet wearers of this Air MicroClimate were like, “Its a completely hermetically sealed helmet on top of my head. Why are you asking me to wear a mask?”  

Some people have been complaining about certain policies of like, “Nothing is getting in the helmet. Wearing a mask isnt going to help.” It will be interesting when I take this on a flight to see how airline staff responds. It’s like, “Im going to get on the flight. If I have to wear a mask, its dumb. It doesnt make any biological sense to have a fully enclosed helmet with a mask on.” Thats what Ive read online with some people complaining about people at airlines requesting that. I am interested to see not only how it works but what reactions I get in the airport wearing this high-tech, space-age, air filtration helmet. Its probably going to look nuts but I also dont give a crap because Im fine-looking nuts and looking like a crazy person.  

Is it heavy? 

Its not at all. Its probably half the weight of my motorcycle helmet. Its light. They always send me the bonus gel pack. Thanks for the bonus gel pack. I always wonder why they do that. Why a gel pack and a helmet? Inside, where your mouth goes, there are two giant filters on the bottom here. Two massive HEPA filters. Its not super fitted. Its not super comfortable. I would imagine it’s like a hazmat suit or a hazmat mask would feel. Its pretty resistant to fog so thats good. It does have these adjustable ties on the bottom. It feels sealed pretty well. Its hot.  

MGU 236 | Post Pandemic Loneliness

Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection

Its pretty cool but I have to say that the fit isnt like a motorcycle helmet that’s fitted to my head. Its pretty much as close to custom. This is one size fits all. I would imagine if youre someone like André the Giant, this would fit him well. I tend to have a pretty big head and this was on the loose side. Thats not the part that potentially bugs me. It is hot inside that helmet. It goes around your entire neck and you can tighten that. Its going to be hard for anything to get in there. Im a little bit concerned that Im going to be sweating. Thats the only thing about it. I am going to try it with the air filters activated and see if its less hot in there.  

I still feel like I want to take it on a plane and see how it works. If nothing else than for the reactions of people. It’s like, “Whos this weird?” I like getting reactions out of people. Stay tuned for a future review on the Air MicroClimate. Shout out to Air for sending it to me. I have no idea how you found me. They sent me an email, like, “Do you want to try one of these out?” Im like, “Yeah.” Im going to try it out hopefully when I go see my mom in Detroit. Is there anything else we have to share? Do we want to tell people about our new Hello Audio venture? We have a special announcement. Weve teased it in a previous episode about a private podcast were launching on a new platform called Hello Audio. 

Ive been thinking a lot about this. Theres a lot to discover. We want feedback. Mainly, were experimenting with different forms of audio releases. Theres this incredible platform called Hello Audio that we joined on May 31, 2021. Ive had the pleasure of getting to know one of the cofounders. I feel like theyre doing something great for audio. If youre a podcaster, check out Hello Audio. They do trials. Were going to try it out and probably test it out. There are a lot of different things that we can do with it. Being podcasters, as much as weve loved doing the show, I want to continue to explore like, “How else can we reach people?” Its great for minimizing visual device usage. Thats what Im interested in.  

Our show is long. It would be fun to experiment with a shorter show. Im on the fence. We’re going to start by doing it privately. Theres part of me thats like, “Should it be another public podcast?” That feels like a lot of pressure. We want to do something special for dedicated followers and our Patreons. The plan is that itll be available for newsletter subscribers. It will be an extra perk for Patreon supporters. Well take it from there. This is a good time for me to run by some names Ive been throwing around in real-time. By the time somebody reads this episode, well probably have made up our mind on this. Now you get a little behind the scenes.  

I wanted to have our new private show, which is going to be our product and service shout-out even though Jason did a product shout-out. This show will be a weekly release. Itll be much shorter, under ten minutes or maybe closer to five minutes. Well be talking about products that we love from food, online services, experiences weve had, restaurants, drinks, supplements. It’s those things that we typically talk about at the end of our show. Instead of waiting for the end, you can read this show separately.  

Ive been trying to think of something that would be complementary to our show name This Might Get Uncomfortable. The first thing that I talked about in a previous episode was, “Why dont we call it Comfort Food?” I thought, “Thats generic. Somebodys got to have claimed that.” There are a couple of podcasts, although it doesnt look like any of them are active. The downside would be that it would imply that it was mostly about food. I also thought about Soul Food but it’s the same thing. I want to tie in the word comfort. I looked up other phrases with the word comfort. One that came up is Creature Comforts, which is fun but a little too out there.  

This one, I thought you might like. I thought this was cute. I dont think this is quite right, Crumb of Comfort. That’s cute. Heres one little thing you can have thatll give you some comfort. That acknowledges the fact that the show is more of a band-aid than a deep solution. Doing things, eating food, drinking drinks, taking supplements. They are crumbs of comfort. I like that name. What was your a-ha? What came up when I said creature comforts? 

There are two things. Ill try and keep the story short. When I was singing in bands in Detroit in the early 2000s, there was another band in the city that I loved. It was one of my favorite local bands. Theyre no longer together. It‘s called the Atomic Numbers. They have a great, phenomenal song called Creature Comforts that we could use as the intro because I could direct message their former guitarist who owns a studio in Detroit and be like, “Were thinking about maybe using a song. I know the band isnt together anymore. Could you give us permission?” We could do that. The other thing that I thought of, a modification since we are featuring different products, services, shout-outs, things we recommend, use and love. What if it was Creature Feature Comforts or Featured Creature Comforts, Creature Feature? I think of putting Feature Creature Comforts. Its hard to say. What do you think? 

I like where youre going but I’m not sure yet. Let me read you some more off the list. The other that I thought was cute but also might not work is Care Package, Comfort Zone. Maybe that could be something tied into the website, like, “Youre coming into the Comfort Zone.” Maybe thats the section of our newsletter because this will be available for newsletter subscribers and Patreons. It could be like, “Come into the Comfort Zone.” Maybe thats part of your jingle. Im going to encourage you to write a jingle for this.  

Social interaction is challenging because there are so many different perspectives and comfort levels. We’re out of sync with each other. Click To Tweet

The other one that I dont think the other one is going to work is Security Blanket. I like the feel of it being cozy. We have some phrases. I like the word cozy. It was similar to the word comfy. I was like, “Can we work on the word comfy?” Making someone comfy and cozy, like food that makes us feel good. A phrase like, “Take comfort in this.” My favorite if we want to have it similar to our show name is something like, “This Hits The Spot.” Thats satisfying to say. 

Thats something I use all the time in colloquial speech. like that. This Hits the Spot. Everyone knows that phrase and what it means. It implies deep satisfaction, which is why were sharing these things because we do feel deeply satisfied by them. Thats growing on me. 

I also like Deeply Satisfied. Satisfied is one of my favorite words too or Satisfying. It could be This is Satisfying. 

I like Satisfaction. I like Creature Comforts because I imagined us having a friend of ours designing a cute little logo with a cute little monster with a little blanket wrapped around him, her, it, them. Also, having a doughnut in one hand and some supplements in the other hand. It’s representing the things we review in the cute little creature icon. I like that because there could be a cool logo we could design for that. I also like This Hits the Spot. You get a lot out of both titles. Those are my top two so far.  

The other contenders were This Brings us Comfort or This Just Got Comfortable. 

It’s too on the nose. Dont you think? 

People will be confused.  

They’d be like, “Which one? Do we want to listen to the Comfortable podcast or the Uncomfortable one? What mood am I in now?”  

In a way, that’s cool. Its the antithesis. Maybe some people dont listen to our show because theyre afraid that it’s going too depressing. 

This Hits the Spot. This Might Get Uncomfortable. I have to think about it. I feel like this is a good opportunity for us to maybe compile these choices as we did with This Might Get Uncomfortable and get trusted feedback from our close friends and business associates. It’s how we chose this name. 

I dont want to get analysis paralysis. I want to pull the trigger. I looked up and it doesnt look like theres a show called This Hits the Spot. When I looked in quotations on Google for This Hits the Spot, phrases like, “Now this hits the spot.” Can you come up with a little jingle on the fly before we wrap up this episode? We got to go record This Hits the Spot. I like the name. We got to go with that. Whats the This Hits the Spot jingle? You can weave in the Creature Comforts. We can still have that and be our logo. 

MGU 236 | Post Pandemic Loneliness

Post-Pandemic Loneliness: People might feel ready to socialize, but perhaps their bodies changed and they’re feeling self-conscious.

 

This hits the spot. With our favorite product, were going to drop it like its hot. You got creatures and they’re showing the features. Supplements and foods to get you in a good mood. I pulled that out of my butt cheeks but Im sure there will be something there. I can put it on the piano and record it. Theres a theme song in here somewhere. I do see a little creature with a blanket, a sauna and some food. I see in my mind a cute little logo for this. 

I see it as a green creature with things but cute. It‘s like your cat, Claudia.  

We’ll turn Claudia in the logo.  

A fluffy green cat-like creature with fangs and wings. We need somebody to design that. 

I know the right person. Our previous guest Ruby Roth can design that.  

We need some more Patreons so we can pay for it. 

On that note, dear readers, if you want to support us and our brand-new private podcast, when you sign up as a Patreon on our Patreon account, Patreon.com/wellevatr, your support can help us fund the creation of this new logo. 

We could create all sorts of cool merch like This Hits the Spot stickers, T-shirts, mugs, maybe water bottles or reusable straws. We could start doing a whole line with this cute little creature and it would be exclusive to Patreons. 

Theres some incentive for you all up the wazoo. 

Jason, you could start doing some of your jingles as Patreon perks. You come up with them on the fly. Can you try it? Before we wrap up a little bit more of This Hits the Spot theme song, I know that you have a little more on you. 

Do you want me to do it on piano or no?  

Yes. I do.  

This is Hits the Spot. We’ve got a lot of products we’re going to drop it like it’s hot. We’re going to hook you up to food to get you in a good mood, change your attitude. This is the spot. We’re going to tickle that spot that needs to get touched. You know that secret spot that you tell no one about. We’re going to touch you. We’re going to make you want to shop for chocolate bars. Got the stars. Going to get you when you can. You’ve got a chocolate bar.” I know that was only one chord but its a work in progress. Well work on that.  

My request is one more bit. Dont make it just about food because were also talking about all sorts of other things in Hit the Spot. 

“Such as product recommendations, services that we stand by, things that should go make you feel good if youre a shaman or gadfly, I’ve got CBD, terpenes, THC. It’s going to make you feel free. You’ve got essential oils, trident oil, got extra virgin olive oil. Were going to recommend our favorite stuff. We going to tell you about all that fluff. The only fluff youre going to have is in our logo.” 

“We wont include any MLMs.”  

We have a guarantee on this show that we will not ever share MLM products with you. Thats a guarantee.  

When we talked about MLMs, I mentioned that I inadvertently joined an MLM but didnt promote it like an MLM. Should we guarantee it? You bring in MLM and you believe in the products.  

A kinder and gentler MLM. 

Can you promote a product without doing it in the MLM style is my question? We need feedback on this. This is a good reason for people to email us. Similar to vaccines, if you are part of an MLM, Im not going to be someone thats like, “I cant talk to you. Youre a horrible person because youre part of an MLM.” Im not a huge fan of the practices and the cliché elements of them but there are people that we know, love and both of us have joined MLMs so its not like youre a bad person and the products are bad. There are elements of the MLM cliché that were done on my list.  

Its culty.  

We have a whole episode on this but I dont want people to feel like theyre not welcome here. 

You are welcome here. We dont personally align with some of the marketing practices that weve experienced in our MLMs. Thats more accurate. 

Thats not fully true because the one that I was part of in the episode talked about how theyre no longer in MLM but they were and I didnt have a problem with them. I treated it like another affiliate referral. I wasnt doing anything MLMy but you had a completely different experience. You believed in the product.  

Theyre delicious. 

You promote their product or youre saying you wont ever promote their product even on a gentle level. 

I wont because the marketing tactics and the business structure scared me and everyone away. I didnt feel like I wanted to succumb to the pressure of walking around being like, “Brothers and sisters, do you want to live forever? Do you want to piss gold? Do you want to crap platinum then take these products?” “Is it going to make me piss gold and crap platinum?” “Yes. You need to take this for a year and sign up for my subscription service so you can piss gold.” That wasnt my bag but it could be your bag.  

The fear of getting or spreading COVID has prevented people from socializing. Click To Tweet

There’s no judgment. It wasn’t for me. What we do want to be your bag is to go to our website Wellevatr.com. We have a great Patreon account. If you feel supporting this podcast helping us grow, get this new private podcast out there, get a logo based on my cat, great. If you want to join Patreon, Ill throw in some jingles. That being said, we will be back again for another episode. Weve got them every Monday and Wednesday.  

Our guests are on Friday. We have some kick-ass guests coming up. Our lineup lately has been phenomenal. Stay tuned, stay with u and stay uncomfortable or if you want to get on Patreon and join the private show, get comfortable and cozy with us. We offer it all. Thanks for reading. We love you. We appreciate you. Thanks for enjoying and supporting our witty repartee and our crazy banter. Well see you again for another episode. Peaches!

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