We humans are social creatures. When we have too much time alone, we instinctively reach out to others for connection. Yes, even us introverts.
No matter how much we may like the quiet and our alone time, it gets old pretty fast. Eventually, we all get to a point where we crave time and connection with others.
The Science Says…
Havard has the longest-running study on happiness. This study has been going for over 75 years. That’s almost unheard of. But they’ve managed to keep it going. And what have they learned? That relationships are the key to happiness, good health, and brain function. This TED talk is a great summary.
It is so powerful. And a reminder that I need to hear again and again.
Why don’t we connect more?
It is so easy to get wrapped up in the day to day concerns. And as an introvert, it is so easy to think that it will be too overwhelming to talk to people after spending all day at work surrounded by people. But when I do make the effort to reach out, it is never a burden to talk to my favourite people. It always makes me feel good to connect with them.
Whether we go out in person to a social event, call a friend, or go on social media, we are looking for a sense of connection, of belonging. But some of these strategies work better than others. And how you engage matters.
Passively scrolling through the newsfeed on your phone is more likely to suck you into the comparison trap, where you feel drained, disconnected and lonely. But social media can be a way to connect with people. If you have a conversation. Or even better, if you use that conversation to make plans to connect in person or with a video chat.
Seeing someone is so much more powerful than a text-based conversation. While those are a great way to stay up to date on what is going on with their lives. Real connection is more likely when you see the other persons face and their body language.
You’re able to pick up on all the unconscious “stuff” that happens between the words. If you can get together in person, take that opportunity! And if you can’t, technology can help with video chats, or at least a phone call.
What about animals?
In this conversation, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention our pets, our companion animals. I have always had dogs in my life. And they have always been treated like a part of the family.
Despite how much we love our companion animals & pets, they can’t quite replace our human-to-human relationships. (Even though sometimes it would be easier.) And yet, they do provide an amazing connection. An unconditional acceptance. Dogs don’t care what you look like, if you haven’t showered, or what you’re wearing. They don’t try to cheer you up when you’re sad, they simply spend time with you.
The close relationships
We all need at least one relationship where this is true; it doesn’t matter what you say or do. You are accepted and loved. Because they connect to you, who you are at your core.
I feel extremely grateful and lucky to have so many amazing people in my life. I feel privileged to have family and friends that I know will support me no matter what. It is something I hope never to take for granted. Especially because I know people who haven’t been quite as lucky as I have.
No conversation about relationships is complete without acknowledging they can be hard. They can be messy. And they can be downright toxic at times. It is always worth it to reach out to the positive relationships in your life. And it is always worth it to seek help if you need it.
It comes back to my opening statement of this article. We humans are social creatures.
The relationships in our lives make our lives better. Having close, positive connections with other people leads to better physical health, better mental health, and a sense of purpose in life.
So what are you waiting for? Go send a message or call a friend. 🙂
You are reading this because you are interested in improving your life. That means we have something in common. I’m still working on what the Foundations for the Good Life is all about, and I’d love for you to join me in this journey. I’d love to build a community with you. With people who are trying to figure out what “the good life” means, and how to set up their life to make it possible for them.
If this interests you, join the newsletter to be the first to know about updates, new articles, and to try out tools as they are developed and improved. I hope to connect with you soon.