How Many People Will You Interact With in Your Lifetime?

Carolyn’s Online Magazine (#COMe)



How many people do we interact with in our lifetime?


I don’t know why I was researching this question. However, I found an answer: 80,000. This answer is based on our living in the city and interacting with 3 new people daily after the age of 5 years old. (Infographic )

I have a little difficulty in defining interacting. Must it be in person, or can it be on the phone—or, in today’s world, even on social media? I think they mean in person.

One writer said:

  • We’d have to define “meet”. Webster says “to come face-to-face” or “to come into the presence of”. This is too broad of a definition for my question. If I work as a cashier and Jim Morrison buys a pack of gum from me, that doesn’t really count. Yes, we came face-to-face, but we didn’t exchange names, we didn’t share any conversation, perhaps we didn’t even make eye contact. Let’s agree to use the following definition: meeting someone qualifies if ANY of the following takes place:

1) hands shaken with eye contact and acknowledgment

2) names exchanged with eye contact and acknowledgement

3) any form of substantial conversation takes place in person

His definition sounds plausible to me.

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Consider that I will live the average life span—78.3 years, Adjusting the number of days to include Leap years I will interact with 78.3-5=73.3 x 3 x 365.24 = 80,316.28, about the population of Amiston, Alabama or Lafayette, Colorado.

Using the calculations above— and adjusting for age—I estimate I’ve already interacted with 73,413 new people so far in my life. (72 years minus 5 (67) = 201 x 365.24 = 73,413.24).

That’s equal to the population of Lake Jackson, Texas, or Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

However, this calculation should be adjusted, since much of my adult life has not been lived in cities, but in small towns—so, perhaps, I’ve interacted with about 70,000 persons so far in my lifetime—after all, I’m a very social person.

151022 IMG_4466E

Why should I care about how many new people I’ve interacted with during my lifetime? Well, I’m curious, and it’s an interesting factoid.

Having been sole proprietor of several businesses, having headed family support groups in two communities, being a free lance writographer, I’ve learned that much business (both cash and story contacts) are made via interpersonal contact. As a writer of a novel-in-progress interacting with others will allows me to share a story summary and develop a platform for future sales of my completed novel. In essence, interactions with others is a marketing technique.

Even more important, interacting with others allows me to have an impact on both our lives. We enrich each other. For example, I met a woman outside our local diner just by smiling and saying hello. We ended up sharing an outside table and talking. It turns out she was visiting from the Orlando, Florida, area, and, coincidentally, my husband and I had recently visited Orlando. She shared information on Orlando, and I was able to tell her about the corpse flower we almost saw bloom while we were there. We agreed to share articles for each other’s writing—her on her visit to my town, and me on my visit to Eola Lake in Orlando.

One of my goals each day (that I’m not holed up in the house) is to make at least three people smile. That smile is infectious. It does my heart good to know I bring sunshine to someone’s life (often someone I don’t know) and I’m certain their smile enlightens their life, even if for a moment.

Most important is being open to others in interactions with them. Often these interactions are fertile ground for sharing God’s love (not preaching or proselytizing, just loving).

Alan Chryst shows us the corpse flower on April 16, 2015

Alan Chryst shows us the corpse flower on April 16, 2015

This year—2015—will soon end. According to mathematical computation I should have interacted with 1,095 people—I’ll adjust it down roughly to 900, because I live in a rural area. What impact have I had on these people? Has it been positive? Are some persons I’ve interacted with left with negative feelings? It’s possible.

Our interactions with others should uplift them. If we are too much of a marketer we may come to see others mainly as potential purchasers—of our business, of our product. This dehumanizes both them and us. If we truly care about the other person they will know so even in a brief, one-time interaction. This is what matters about the approximate 900 new people I interacted with in 2015 and will interact with in the coming year.

And often a special blessing occurs: the new person I’ve interacted with becomes a friend. Perhaps not a BFF, but someone I can meet with for coffee or call for advice from their particular specialty. A couple of nights ago I briefly met a man who worked at Kennemetal in Slippery Rock. I’ll call him for information on an article I’ve had in my files—his information will add to it. And he is delighted that someone is interested in work he did decades ago.

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However many new people you meet this day, this week, this month, this year, give your best and be rewarded with a blessing.

About carolyncholland

In several if my nine lives I have been a medical lab technician and a human service worker specializing in child day care, adoptions and family abuse. Currently I am a photo/journalist/writer working on a novel and a short story. My general writings can be viewed at My novel site is
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3 Responses to How Many People Will You Interact With in Your Lifetime?

  1. Grace ( & Fred) Wells says:

    Ever smelled a corpse flower ?


  2. Petru says:

    IMHO, this calculation is one of the most false and most stupid at all. Every day you “meet” 3 totally new persons? And everyone “interact” with you? I can answer, and the answer is NO.


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