On Connection

We could all use a little genuine bonding

On Connection

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

  • Friends

  • Family members

  • Acquaintances

  • Strangers

  • Teammates & colleagues

  • Business contacts

  • 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

  • Email

  • Text

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

  • Make plans

  • 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

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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 🥯