Have you ever been speaking with someone and realized that you missed everything they just said to you because you were lost in your own thoughts and were unable to maintain focus on even a brief conversation? With all that’s going on in the world, and the never-ending demands of our daily lives, most of us are too stressed and preoccupied with our own thoughts and worries to be able to really listen to each other for long. Often, we seem to somehow "miss" each other, misunderstand each other, or talk past each other. Many of us are left wishing for someone who could really listen, understand, and genuinely connect with us.
These growing difficulties with connecting have led to a dramatic rise in loneliness and alienation in American society over the past several decades. Our connections have been further frayed in 2020 by COVID-19 and the necessity for “social distancing,” which has additionally atomized us. Global crises like COVID-19, racial injustice/police brutality, and climate change have driven us apart, resulting in greater disconnection, which in turn impairs our ability to work together to addressing these pressing issues.
In Missing Each Other, researchers and clinicians Edward Brodkin and Ashley Pallathra argue that we must find the ability to be in tune with each other again, and they show us how. Based on years of research that they conducted together in a National Institute of Mental Health-funded clinical study, the authors take a wide-ranging and surprising journey through fields as diverse as social neuroscience and autism research, music performance, pro basketball, and tai chi. They use these stories to introduce the four principal components of attunement: Relaxed Awareness, Listening, Understanding, and Mutual Responsiveness--explaining the science, research, and biology underlying these pillars of human connection, but also providing readers with exercises through which they can improve their own skills and abilities in each.
Praise for Missing Each Other
“In a world dominated by divided attention, the people who stand out are the ones who make us feel like the only person in the room. This book is a thoughtful exploration of how we can strengthen our connections by becoming more attuned to those around us.”
Adam Grant, Ph.D.
"They write with a passionate, encouraging, come-and-join-me quality, showing how we can find attunement through the exercise of its basic components…A dynamic approach to focusing, connecting, and developing mutual understanding."
"In Missing Each Other, the authors, Edward Brodkin and Ashley Pallathra, share how attunement to ourselves and others can have a positive impact on our lives. How often have you walked away from a conversation and wondered how it turned into a disagreement? This book shares insight and activities to help understand each of our parts in creating communications and connections. Especially useful in the time of technology and social distancing."
"If ever there was a book written for our time, Missing Each Other is it. Paradoxically, all the modern communications technology that has proven so important in the midst of a global pandemic has only reminded us how much we actually miss each other. This book will help us learn those lessons as we escape from our walls and screens."
Jonathan Moreno, Ph.D.
"If you want more love and meaning in your life, you must read this book. Brodkin and Pallathra give expression to an inchoate yearning more and more people feel today, yet do not know how to fulfill—how to make true contact with another, which the authors call "attunement." Combining rigorous scholarship with heart and soul, Brodkin and Pallathra break down the four different pillars that make up a meaningful connection, and show readers, through concrete exercises, how to build those pillars so that we each may have richer, deeper relationships with loved ones, friends, and colleagues."
Emily Esfahani Smith
"An absolutely compelling perspective on the science and practice of authentic human connection. If you want to know how and why to get in sync with other people, this book is for you. I absolutely loved it!"
Angela Duckworth, Ph.D.
Honors for Missing Each Other
Missing Each Other has been nominated for the Next Big Idea Club Winter 2021 Must-Read Booklist, curated by Adam Grant, Susan Cain, Malcolm Gladwell, and Daniel Pink. Hear Ashley describe five key takeaways from Missing Each Other in the Book Bites section of the Next Big Idea app.
Interviews of the authors, Edward Brodkin and Ashley Pallathra