The Communi3 Challenge: Call 3 People a Day


My Story

My name is Joel. I was born at the tail-end of Generation X, before the tech and internet-savvy Millennials and after the Greatest-Generation-ask-what-you-can-do-for-your-country Baby Boomers. When I was growing up our family used corded phones that were physically connected by a telephone line to the wall, and on occasion I'd use our rotary phone (like the one pictured above)! I've done an average job of keeping pace with technology as cell phones and smartphones have evolved to dominate telecommunications. I've made efforts, especially in my role as an at-home dad, to be less tethered to my smartphone, yet email and text remain my primary mode of communication.

That changed, however, when my daughter learned how to use the phone as Alexander Graham Bell intended - as a telephone! She began dialing phone numbers of people she knew, requiring me to actually talk to them instead of texting or emailing. We made at least 3 calls a day on several consecutive days, and I began to notice a tangible shift - I felt more connected to my family, friends and neighbors. I felt a stronger sense of community. 

As a baseball player I was always interested in streaks, and I wanted to see what happened if I kept it up, so I set a goal to call at least 3 people a day. In short, it's been life-changing. I really enjoy talking to people much more than I ever imagined. I realized it's timely as other people want to talk now more than ever due to 'social distancing' and 'sheltering in place', so I'm offering up the challenge to others ... it's simple, just call 3 people a day!

Details & Suggestions

  1. Make a list of people you want to talk to - family, friends, neighbors - and start calling. If you want a real challenge, ask the people you talk to for their suggestions of who to call!
  2. If you do not regularly talk to the person you’re calling, lead with something like “I’m doing a challenge that involves calling 3 people a day and you were at the top of my list! How are you doing?"
  3. Video calls (Facetime, Skype, Zoom, Viber, etc) are fine but texting, emailing, online chatting, social media posts, etc (obviously) do not count. This is about using phones as phones. 
  4. Set up a daily reminder and schedule time in your day to make a few calls or if you get any downtime or opportunity just make a call to the next person on your list.
  5. Keep a journal - fun to read at at a later date! 
  6. On a more serious note, the coronavirus is having an impact on everyone in a variety of ways. Be kind and empathetic ... and maybe even offer to help with some of the challenges they may be facing.
  7. In the fast-paced, schedule-every-second-of-the-day world we live in you may have to schedule time with the person you're calling or they may not answer the phone. 
  8. If you get a voicemail, that's fine, you tried, that's all that matters. Just leave a nice voicemail and try the next person on your list. 
  9. 3 per day because it’s a challenge, yet achievable. Consider the quantity of texts and emails you send on an average day and imagine making a phone call on just 3 of those occasions!
  10. If you like streaks keep track of how many consecutive days you can call 3 people. If you don’t then just call people and reflect on the impact of that call versus sending a text or an email. Customize the challenge if you want - just remember to make it fun!


March 23, 2020 New Yorker article:How Loneliness from Coronavirus Isolation Takes Its Own Toll

May 2019 Forbes article “Millennials And The Loneliness Epidemic” :

  • 46% of Americans always or sometimes feel alone (46%), according to a recent Cigna survey.
  • 22% of adults in the United States and 23% in the United Kingdom say they always or often feel lonely, lack companionship, or feel left out or isolated, according to a 2018 survey from The Economist and the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF).
  • Nearly half of Britons over 65 consider the television or a pet their main source of company. 
  • In Japan, there are more than half a million people under 40 years old who have not left their house or interacted with anyone for at least six months. 
  • 28% of households in Canada are one person and 34% in the European Union.

“The Loneliness Epidemic”, published in January 2019 by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration:

  • One in five Americans say they feel lonely or socially isolated. 
  • Nearly one out of three older Americans now lives alone.
  • 43% of seniors feel lonely on a regular basis.
  • There is a 45% increased risk of mortality in seniors who report feeling lonely.
  • Loneliness is more dangerous than obesity and as damaging to health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

“Connection is why we’re here. It’s what gives purpose and meaning to our lives.” -- Brene Brown