Is it any wonder that many of us are feeling increasingly unfulfilled in our relationships with others? We’ve been conditioned by advances in technology that can create isolation and even anti-social behavior. It’s the norm to substitute drinks with friends to binge watch seasons of Narcos. We are drowning in a sea of entertainment, fast electronic communication, and shallow connections. So how do we get back to relating to others and making deeper connections? Well, we have to want to. And, we have to change. Here are some simple steps to connect to people more.
Connect to People More #1: Recognize the Disconnection
We may spend our Saturday afternoons crammed into shopping malls, searching for more things to bring us fulfillment, only to be disappointed. What we really need is human interaction, touch, and connection. These core needs are crucial for our mental and physical health at all stages of our lives. It’s important to take an inventory of your social connections for any holes that may have developed over time. This can happen without even realizing it, especially if you’ve been ill or have been under a lot of stress. Write down what you want in your relationships and set a goal to do something about it.
Connect to People More #2: Make Decisive Plans and Put Them on the Calendar
Is there anything more frustrating than catching up with old friends through social media only to make nebulous plans like, “We should get together sometime soon!”. While well-meaning, this usually doesn’t work out the way you want it to. The easiest way to avoid this is to make solid decisions and agree on concrete plans right there on the spot. I realized a long time ago that people generally do what they want to do. If you and your loved ones want to really get together for a meaningful time, you will.
Connect to People More #3: Don’t Let Social Media Be Your Only Connection
I know, this is easier said than done. We have grown accustomed to popping on SM every day to feed our addictions. And, while social media is a useful tool, it can become a hindrance to real social activity. I recommend minimizing social media time and using that time to make face to face contact. Social media is no substitute for social interaction.
Here are some ideas: for every 3 social media interactions you have, resolve to have a genuine social contact. Call someone you haven’t spoken to in a while or go for a walk and spark up a conversation with a stranger. Check in with your next door neighbor. Ask a work colleague to go to the movies with you. Even simple things like handwriting a note and mailing it can show someone that they are valuable to you.
Connect To People More #4: Get out of the House and Meet New People
A night in can be a wonderful and comforting way to spend your downtime, especially if you are an introvert. That said, we all need human contact in a social setting. Though you may not like crowds or can even call yourself agoraphobic, getting out of the house helps to keep you balanced and healthy. Address any fears and concerns you have about meeting new people or socializing with those you know. Remember, you may have simply created a pattern of staying in and have forgotten how much fun you used to have with friends.
Connect To People More #5: Meeting Someone Special
Though I’m not suggesting that we all spend more time online, there are no shortage of apps and phone lines to help you to make friends, chat, flirt and find a special someone. You may have heard of Bumble, Tinder, and Fonochatlatino.com. You can even find people who share your niche and common interests. However, do not let digital communication become your default. Give face to face contact a fair shot!