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How my Starbucks Mobile Order Is A Slippery Slope to Social Isolation

By Debra Kissen

Convenience is key in this bustling city. Why wait 16 minutes for the crowded bus when I can Uber pool for the same price? Why go to the grocery store when I can Instacart with free delivery for my first order? Why wait in line during “coffee rush hour” every morning when I can mobile order via Starbucks app and have it ready for me upon arrival?

These technological conveniences are incredibly handy, and save us hours upon hours in the long run.

The downfall that struck me this morning… what happened to authentic human connection with strangers? 

By short-cutting my way through life’s errands, I realize I cut out the challenge of “showing up” and having to perform, even in just the awkward small talk with the barista, or the shared grunt and complaints with my fellow bus riders when we’re all stuck in the same 4:30 traffic. Its all shared human experience. And there is no substitute for it.

While these moments may not seem life-changing, they are mini-challenges for those who struggle with social interaction. As an anxiety therapist, I encourage my clients to take risks in their every day life. To be brave in challenging their social anxiety. Meanwhile, I’m hiding behind my phone, tapping away at apps because I want to save 3 minutes of waiting in line and dealing with people. While not terribly consequential right now, it can be a slippery slope to avoiding tasks that make one slightly uncomfortable. 

While sipping my coffee, I realize I missed out on a smile. On a “Have a great day!” 

Take a moment to consider when you have taken the loophole to avoid talking to real life people. Especially for the single readers out there who are looking to meet someone organically. Organic meetings happen on the bus ride.. the grocery store and at Starbucks.

Dr. Debra Kissen is CEO of Light On Anxiety CBT Treatment Center. Dr. Kissen specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)...

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