We could all use a little genuine bonding
Connection comes in many, many forms.
It may be a water-cooler chat about last night’s game-winning hit…
It could be a deep, emotional conversation with a parent, sharing how they’ve been mistreating you for years.
There’s no exact script for how we best connect with others, or even ourselves.
But one thing is for sure: In this progressively more virtual world, we could all use a little more real, honest, authentic bonding.
From Dr. Evil
Why We All Need Connection
We can't achieve much in this world alone.
Think about how many people it took to raise you.
Consider how you navigated through the most challenging times in your life.
We live in a connected world and heavily rely on each other for all different types of needs.
We need support.
Be it consoling, cheerleading, advice, counsel, direction, or just an ear to listen, we’re constantly leaning on others for support.
We all have limitations, and it usually is clearer to someone who isn’t you to identify those limitations and provide objective feedback.
We need validation.
Everyone needs two basic things: to feel loved and understood.
We all get lonely.
With endless distractions, including our ever-growing number of “connected devices,” we are facing an epidemic of loneliness we’ve never encountered before as a species.
It’s crucial to our health and wellbeing to build in real, authentic social connection so as not to feel isolated and alone.
Even if that means chatting with a friend or coworker over coffee about how you’re feeling… well, lonely.
What Connection Looks Like
With whom can you connect?
Some people choose to have a close circle of meaningful relationships (i.e. friends, family), while others like to spread the love among a larger group of connections.
While there is no right or wrong, you might find opportunities to connect with different people in your life, such as:
A romantic partner
Teammates & colleagues
Online friends, community members, social followers
Businesses and brands
Who do you most feel like connecting with?
How can you connect?
While it may seem like stating the obvious here, there are lots of different ways that you can connect with the people:
In-person hangout (1:1 or group)
Shared activity (i.e. hiking, seeing a show or concert, playing a game or sport, etc.)
A handwritten letter
Phone or video call
Challenge yourself to connect through a new medium that is slightly unfamiliar – and note how it feels.
Why might you connect?
Some of the reasons you might choose to connect are:
Prioritize “being” over “doing”
Share an interest
Update on news or gossip
Enjoy someone’s company
Learn with or from someone
Develop a business relationship
Break down metaphorical walls
Build a bond
Achieve a shared goal
Get support with an individual goal or challenge
Complain or vent
Address a conflict
Express love, kinship, gratitude, concern, or another emotion
Which of the above leaves you feeling the most connected?
How to feel more connected
Be intentional about how you want to interact with the external world.
This may look like:
Scheduling “connection time” on your calendar
Consuming media that fills you up (instead of draining you or leaving you feeling unfulfilled)
Sharing something quickly; not everything has to be a big commitment
3 Steps on How to Intentionally Build Connection
Start with 'why': Set your intention; why you want to connect with this person, group, or entity? Go as wide or narrow as feels right
Then the 'how': how do you want to connect? Go in with a few options, but be flexible to allow the other(s) to weigh in
Lastly, reflect: What did it feel like? Did you get what you hoped for? If not, why?
When to Disconnect
Sometimes we need to disconnect from others and the outside world so that we can reconnect with ourselves.
Signs that you’re in need of some alone or recharging time:
You feel like you need a break
You’re emotionally exhausted
When you've been giving and not receiving much support
If you're naturally introverted and need more frequent blocks of time to recharge
Pro Tip: When to push yourself to connect
There may be times where you’re feeling unmotivated to participate in some sort of social activity, but deep down you’re feeling disconnected or isolated.
Perhaps you could use a walk (exercise is great for getting those endorphins going and changing your emotional state).
If you’re more accountable to others than yourself, consider making plans with a friend for later in the day or week, so you have something to look forward to.
Catch ya next week!
🥯 Bagel 🥯