At midnight on New Year’s 1990 the man I was promised to (that’s a different story) officially asked me to marry him. After I accepted the ring he went back to partying with his friends. I remember standing in a house full of people I didn’t know wanting to share what should have been a momentous occasion. A woman bumped into me and screamed “HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!” right in my face as her drink sloshed on the floor. I said “Thanks! I just got engaged!” She might have said “That’s nice” before stumbling away.

In that moment I felt completely alone; with more than 50 people celebrating around me, I had no one I could tell, no one I could show the ring, no one to share the feelings of happiness, fear and confusion I was feeling.

Too often in today’s social media world we are judged by likes and followers, repins, retweets and comments,up votes and down votes. But no one is really there to listen, to hear us, to see us. I have read too many stories about the last post before someone committed suicide saying “I am alone. No one understands me.”

I have decided that I personally am going to do something to change that in the small way I can. On my lunch break, between meetings with clients, on trains, in airplane terminals, when I am in public and able – I will be Happy2Listen. If you are here you may have seen me with my cardboard sign and wondered what I was doing. Now you know. If you can be a non-judgmental listener, I invite you to create your own sign and join me. One of us will be in the right place at the right time to make a huge difference for someone just by being Happy2Listen.

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