What’s #HappyToTalk all about?
I’m Chris, founder of #HappyToTalk
As a Londoner, I’m all too familiar with the awkward silence of a tube carriage or the search for a double seat on the top deck of the bus. Avoid eye contact, head down, certainly no random conversation with a stranger. I’m often as guilty as the next person.
I’m also conscious of society becoming increasingly divided and insular, a theme perpetuated by the media. It’s ‘odd’ to know your neighbours, we’re too busy staring at our phones to give off more than a grunted ‘hello’ as you walk in the door.
However, as someone who lost a parent to suicide, I’m also acutely aware of the drip-down impact of our silent society, and have been keen to make an impact, however small.
The idea for #HappyToTalk was conceived moments after a 20 minute chat on the Victoria Line on a sunny Sunday morning in June 2019. In between podcasts I was caught off guard and started chatting with a friendly gent, rucksack on, heading across London to spend the weekend with his daughter and granddaughter. The exchange, an engaging conversation filled with stories recounted of his life in London many decades ago, left me smiling from ear to ear. The glow was contagious; our smiles mirrored on other passengers overseeing the interaction.
It left me with a spring in my step that day, but also a lasting determination to try and make what was, for me, a rare occasion, slightly less uncommon. If it turns out we’re still too grumpy, then so be it, it’s worth a shot.
So here we are, #HappyToTalk. For me it’s not about mental health, it’s about social health; through short, friendly conversations we can become better, happier members of our society, a society that benefits in return.
The badge is just a symbol. Buy it, wear it, copy it, make one yourself if you want, but for as long as it’s the odd thing to spark up a conversation, use it as a catalyst for change.
Hopefully, together we can go a little way towards creating a society where you don’t need a bloody badge to normalise a cheery chat on the tube.
£5 for a badge? Where does my money go?
A minimum £2 of every badge sold goes to supporting Run Talk Run. Check out the amazing Jess and the work she is doing here.
From the remaining £3, I will first ensure all costs for the badges, such as production, delivery, the website, online sales fees etc. are covered. On an annual basis, once all accounts are approved by our friends at HMRC, I will look to donate additional profits to selected charities.