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February 19th, 2014
11:46 PM ET

Oprah Winfrey urges people to "Just Say Hello": "Every human being is looking for one thing, and that is to be validated, to be seen and to be heard"

It's not every day that Oprah Winfrey joins Piers Morgan for a live interview. In fact, it's only happened once before, on the program's very first night, January 17, 2011. That is, until Wednesday.

Joining the program via Skype, the universally acknowledged Queen of Media touched upon a topic she's currently championing, encouraging people to "Just Say Hello".

It's an initiative designed to combat loneliness, lift spirits, brighten days, and improve the lives of every day people. But Winfrey is not an every day person. Anything but. Which prompted the host to inquire as to whether or not she has ever suffered from the affliction of which she is so actively aiming to alleviate.

"Have you had periods of real genuine loneliness in your life, do you think," Morgan asked Winfrey.

"Absolutely not," she declared. "I am really happy being with myself."

Nonetheless, as host of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" for 25 seasons, the 60-year-old professed to have garnered a real understanding for the sole goal of all people:

"Every human being is looking for one thing, and that is to be validated, to be seen and to be heard ... at the end of almost every interview in one form or another somebody would always lean in and say, 'was that okay? Was that okay,'" described Winfrey, referencing the numerous guests she welcomed on the program that captured 47 Daytime Emmy Awards. "I started to see that pattern. And what I realized is that everybody is looking for the same thing. No matter if it's politicians, senators, presidents, Beyoncé in all of her Beyoncé-ness. We're all looking to know 'did you see me, did you hear me, and did what I say mean anything to you.' So just saying hello is a way of validating even a stranger."

Watch the clip as Morgan enjoys a rare opportunity to "Just Say Hello" to his show's first guest, and for the next episode of "Piers Morgan Live," watch CNN at 9p.
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  1. Silent Epedemic

    Please help people who are suffering from this silent epidemic.

    " Estrange Stories " started by a mom who was not willing to give up on her boys who estranged her. Today there are over 3000 member & growing. This is vicious and silent epidemic no different than Aspergers or Autism that needs to be addressed. If young adults can discard parents & family as easily without any feelings for Facebook & texting friends. What truly is making our society so unhappy? What is the first " red flag " being seen by young adults with depression & mental illness? Estrangement. Please google Estrangement.
    This epidemic is beeing seen more by mental health doctors when take a survey.

    February 20, 2014 at 12:03 am | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Judy Proctor

    I am 65 and live in WV. I have been trying to tell my children for so long and they do not understand what it feels like to be lonely. I have been divorced for about 5 years now after having been married for almost 40 and this has been so hard, trying to learn to live alone. I was listening to Gayle talk about her weekend and not going out and no phone calls and I'm right there with her. My children do not come to visit, they do not call nor do they invite me to their homes. Loneliness is the major cause of my depression and anxiety. I take medication to keep these under control, but there is no medication for lonliness.

    February 20, 2014 at 12:17 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Samantha

      Judy, I am very sorry for what you are going through. You unfortunately are not alone, there are millions like you who have been estranged by there children. We need public awareness. Many of our young adult have not established any moral principles to hold them through so what do they do instead. Estrange there parents & family. When this does not work they can always fall into the net of a psychiatric or therapist as mentally unstable, depressed or bipolar! There is alway a pills and a gravy bowl to attach at the end.

      There are groups you can join... Just google estrangement.
      You don't need to give your real name. Stay away from the crazy lady living in Australia.

      February 20, 2014 at 12:46 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Kelly

      Hugs to you. You have made a big step already. Please join a support group. Estrangement is a lonely place. You don't have to be alone.

      February 20, 2014 at 12:59 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Pearl

      There are lots of resources & help. No, need to feel lonely.

      Dr. Joshua Coleman

      February 20, 2014 at 6:58 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • TBS

      Estrangement, depression, loneliness ..
      How will " just say Hello" help?

      February 24, 2014 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Jackey

    What is causing this epidemic? Does Dr Gupta want to address this please?
    One third of young adults are estranged from there parents. This number is very high.

    February 20, 2014 at 12:20 am | Report abuse | Reply

    An excerpt from my book, I Said Hello, of which a new version will be out soon.

    "I grab Hailima’s hand and give it a gentle squeeze as we all sit and talk late into the evening. This is the way it should be. People coming together, talking, sharing stories, bouts of laughter and getting to know one another, all with the sense of family I hoped to create surrounding me just as it did throughout this entire journey. And just think, all it took was a simple hello. Amazing."

    February 20, 2014 at 12:28 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Las

      So you are a photographer? Nice.

      February 20, 2014 at 12:52 am | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Dax

    I agree with Oprah. It takes so little to reach out and it does so much. Love Oprah

    February 20, 2014 at 11:19 am | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Joy

    An inter-generational group of young and "seasoned" 🙂 people joined together in Harlem earlier this year and started a similar global movement – "The Hello Movement"! We discussed the issues affecting our community, particularly our youth, and posed the question "What can we do right now to take action?". How can we combat feelings of invisibility, loneliness, and disregard? How can we make people feel that they are seen and that they matter? Like Oprah, we chose to take the first step by just saying hello!

    In the past few months we have been committed to doing this work and have been spreading it in New York, Newark, DC, Chicago, and even Aruba! The movement is simple – give a warm hello to at least three people a day and invite others to join the movement! You can join the movement by visiting Read the blog post that launched the movement here:

    Hello :-)!


    February 20, 2014 at 11:19 am | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Bill

    Loneliness is very real. I am a 61-year old gay man. I was an educator and administrator for 33 years. I have been unemployed since 2011. I have Shelton most days in my apartment. Without the TV and computer, I would have had minimal contact with the outside world. I contemplated suicide several times. As a society, we have become so consumed with telephones, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc. that we have forgotten the importance of real, face-to-face conversation. JUST SAY HELLO is commendable for bringing attention to an issue about which many people are unaware. I associated it with being a loser. I am glad to learn that although I am lonely, I am NOT alone regarding how I feel.

    February 20, 2014 at 11:34 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bob & Jann

      Hello Bill, No you are not alone. You are just ONE more to millions who feeing lonely.
      Our 42 year old son has Estranged us for thousands of Facebook & Twitter friend. He is very single holds a good job & a lovely home. He came to visit us two Christmas back.....all he did was Text even in Church & through dinner, before leaving he said the only way he is willing to communicate is via Facebook & twitter. When we texted him he said we were morons. He said FB & Twitter only!

      February 20, 2014 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Maltese

    Unless the cause of the loneliness is addressed, this epidemic of lonely, isolated people will continue. No one wants to be lonely, isolated....more importantly experience the feeling of not being loved. Worst of all, the lack of human touch for the lonely isolated person is inexpressible. ~widower, widow, estranged from family, abused, neglected,etc.,~

    February 20, 2014 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Lets not bandage

      Estrangement in many ways is playing the key roll for loneliness. People don't just wake up one morning and become lonely. Saying hello to strangers will lift ones sprint up but for a moment only... Smile it's a good thing but is nothing more than a bandage. Bandage is not a cure.
      Estrangement is effecting almost 60 percent of Baby boomers. Most suffer in silence because they fear, guilt & stigma. " It was all the parents fault." There are groups that are being formed in many cities all over the States for Estranged Parents. Many therapist, counselor & psychologist have failed to recognized what is causing estrangement & depression in such high numbers?

      February 20, 2014 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. dee

    Read mother teresa. ..The greatest disease in the west today is not tb or leprosy. It has being unloved or uncared for....
    yes . just say hello. Smile. Give that gift. for years after I retired from teaching. I was so down and family helped me find the strength to get out of a bad situation and I thank God for that. I can only pray for shut ins. That allow somebody to help them get out of the will soar like the birds when and if you do. And I love the sight and sounds of life outdoors again....

    February 20, 2014 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  10. ann edgeworth

    What a surprise that Oprah and Gayle exhibited such a lack of genuine empathy. Gayle, "Well I had that one feeling of loneliness once, I think, over a recent weekend." Oprah, "NNOOOOOOOO, I am NEVER lonely." What the hell!!!? They couldn't quite encourage those who suffer loneliness, like others might, by letting their guard down, but lack any guards to let down because of their huge egoes. How about, " I was really lonely when I went to college,""People in military, divorce, widows, chronic illness, empty nesters experience terrible loneliness which sometimes turns into chronic loneliness." Sometimes people may find themselves surprisingly alone after divorce, kids grown up and leave, move away from family, work is independent... To meet others in this day and age is very challenging, especially with the pace of our world and the stigma of 'alone.' I watch Piers Morgan every night and was disappointed for the first time not in Piers but the overbearing control of Oprah and Gayle totally ineffective in kicking off the campaign and in S. Gupta for not having more suggestions on how to prevent isolation in peoples' lives...if it's so prevelant. Where was it Oprah had to go to anyway. Please. The popular pastor (who lost his son... sorry can't recall his name) should have been on to truly address such a serious human condition.

    February 20, 2014 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Thom Myers

      Thank you; thank you; thank you for your comments. I was so very disappointed in the very superficial handling of this very important topic. I could not help but feel, as I often do, that this was yet another time when Oprah has come off as
      never having actually experienced human emotions, that we all have had. The entire interview seemed, as it too often
      does with Oprah as self-serving. A missed opportunity on the airwaves to have a genuine discussion, so that we as human beings in an all too techno world, could get some advice to begin some real healing with and for each other.

      February 20, 2014 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Lara B

      Sadly there never is genuine empathy in any one. Remember Dr Phill the 2 minute mental health guru?.
      Depression, estrangement & loneliness are all real issues that can not be addressed in few minutes. I feel at least an attempt was made, I hope there is more sincerity by the media. This is very big issue and a little fake hello & a smile face is just hogwash.

      February 20, 2014 at 8:28 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  11. g. Phillips

    a wonderful show on lonliness and feeling lonely. I could identify with everything that was said on the show and the above comments. My son took his own life in July, in his suicide note he mentioned how lonely he felt even though he was surrounded with people that cared. He had family for support but very few friends. The letter he left would break any Mother's heart. I'm still grieving and always will.

    February 20, 2014 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • JC

      Hi G Philips. My condolence for the loss of your beautiful son. I don't suffer from depression or loneliness but I can relate to how others feel & don't judge. My son suffers from depression & feels no one loves him. He feels we make fun of him behind his. He is a university grad, holds a wonderful job. He has over 3000 FB friends that he boasts about but no one knows of his depression & loneliness. He refuses help. We are frightened sick he will Estrange us like our neighbors son has. He is always anger, fighting with people or controlling them. I am so happy others are talking about loneliness, depression & estrangement. I truly believe all three are linked.

      February 20, 2014 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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    February 20, 2014 at 10:05 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Sandy

    SC is already a very friendly State, While getting out of our car, in the grocery store or meeting someone as we exit or inter the store. People have said people up north would think we were crazy always smiling and speaking. It will be interesting how the less friendly states takes to "Just saying hello" you always get a smile from the other person as we smile.

    February 22, 2014 at 7:58 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sam

      Wow ! So " Just saying hello" will change every thing? Will this end depression? Will this mean it will end loneliness? Do you have any idea no bandage does not prevent depression. Bandage does not prevent mental illness. Hello is just a word.

      February 22, 2014 at 11:18 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  14. MARTI

    I havent seen my daughter 12 years i thought i was just a bad mom but it sounds like im not the only one who has lost a child due to THEIR choice. I have tried everythng to get thru to her . She is expecting a baby in june of this year and im not allowed to be involved in the birth or life of the grandchild. My daughter and i were close till she was about 18 she was never abused by my , but i do feel that she is abusing me by not letting me be part of her life. It hurts ,sometimes times i wake up in the middle of the night and just cry and have lots of anxiety. I guess i just have to leave it in gods hands and pray she will come around after she realizes what it is to be a parent. I also take medication for depression but your right there is no pill that will cure lonley.

    April 4, 2014 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Nada

    Be sure to hop onto to twitter this Sunday April 13 at 4PMET and join the twitter party where host @ShaunProulx of @ShaunProulxShow @SXMCanadatalks to Gayle King about #JustSayHello campaign Oprah's @OWNAmbassador family will be out in full force supporting this twitter party!

    April 10, 2014 at 8:54 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Marion Jones - Guerra

    Hi Oprah I was visiting in Tobago that is (Trinidad & Tobago) when I saw your show on( saying hello),well I was fortunate to experience that greeting while in Tobago whether in a taxi or just walking along the road it was quite an experience could not agree with you more to be nice to people we tend to lose our prospective on what being pleasant to some0ne can make that person's day, I was quite an experience it put a smile on my face each day keep up the good work.

    April 19, 2014 at 10:08 am | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Lynn Gidlof

    I saw your commercial just say hello and I went out for a run one day and night I said hello to one of my neighbors and they just stared at me as if I didn't say anything that is very embarrassing and it kind of makes you not want to say hello to anyone. Just wanted to through that out there.

    April 23, 2014 at 7:19 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Marion Jones - Guerra

      Don't let that one experience stop you from saying hello keep on saying hello or good day to people that cross your path, no one knows what people going through say a prayer for that neighbour,, , have a pleasant day

      April 24, 2014 at 9:36 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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