The Joseph Group

Reach Out

April 19, 2024

To Inspire:


Cue tinny 70s TV music… “Reach out, reach out and touch someone. Reach out, call up and just say hi. Wherever you are, you’re never too far. They’re waiting to share your day!” This classic jingle from a Bell System (later AT&T) 1970s ad campaign might be frowned upon in today’s environment but encouraging everyone to call a friend is still good advice. (You can watch one of the commercials from 1979 here.)

Here in 2024 we have more ways than ever to “reach out and touch someone,” including email, text messages and social media, along with the telephone and mail. Recent research shows that while reaching out – a quick text “hello, thinking of you,” for example – may seem insignificant, it can really go a long way towards maintaining and growing relationships.

Studies show that casually reaching out to people means more than we realize. It seems we tend to underestimate how much friends like to hear from us. In a series of experiments, researchers had people contact others they considered friends or someone they were friendly with. Then the researchers asked the message recipients to rate how they felt about the contact. In all experiments, the people who initiated contact significantly underestimated how much their message would be appreciated. The more surprising the check-ins – to someone who hadn’t been contacted recently –the more powerful the reaction.

The outreaches were simple – a brief email, text or call, or a small gift. The reseachers hope that the fact that these gestures were so impactful will encourage people to reach out more often.

Research also shows that we assume our friends and acquaintances might not like us as much as we think or hope they do. This is known as the “liking gap” and makes us hold back from being as open with friends, or reaching out as much as we may like. And we may worry about being judged harshly if we are open and vulnerable with friends – known as the “beautiful mess effect.”

We know how important social circles are and the impact our friends and families have on our well-being. Unfortunately, many people today are lonelier than ever as the pandemic increased the “loneliness crisis” that was already underway. But study after study shows that people want to connect, even if they are hesitant to reach out.

What does all of this mean? Connections are incredibly important to our ongoing health and mental wellbeing. People in our lives really do like us, generally, and are happier than we can imagine to hear from us. Some people are really lonely but may be afraid to reach out. So, I propose we all take a minute this weekend and “reach out and touch someone.” Extra points if it someone you haven’t talked to in a while.

Have a great weekend!





Written by Michelle O’Brien, Manager of Marketing & Communications



Source: Pearson, Catherine. Text Your Friends. It Matters More Than You Think. The New York Times.