Hey Uber Driver – Don't Talk to Me


Angry woman screaming at herself with finger on lips gesture

Uber is testing a new idea to permit passengers to signal to drivers that they do not want to engage in conversation. You don’t TELL them you don’t want to talk. You use the app in your phone to let them know.

In search of a way to reduce the barrage of messages thrown at us daily, people are increasingly using technology to silence the noise. Don’t want people to bother you? Put in a set of earbuds. They don’t need to be connected to a device to be effective.

The concern being expressed by psychologists is that increasingly technology is being used by some people as a means of isolation, and that isn’t mentally healthy for social animals. “The isolation that our technology has provided us is showing an increase in depression and anxiety because too much isolation can mess you up,” says psychotherapist Shannon Thornton.

And not everyone knows appropriate boundaries. Twitter introduced a mute function in 2012. It’s now their most popular feature.

But Thornton suggests there is a lesson to be learned in our recent history before we tune out the conversations of the rest of the world. “We used to call 800-numbers and talk to a person but it got really annoying having to talk to people so we thought the automated way was the way to go. It was great. Until it wasn’t. And now we want to talk to people again.”

Point well taken.


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