In the wake of the pandemic, people have discovered what it truly means to connect, but also what it truly means to be lonely.
So many single people, seniors, as well as entrepreneurs and students feel isolated and unable to connect beyond the occasional video chat. The social distancing imposed by local governments might aim to reduce virus-related deaths and severe illness, but it also makes it incredibly difficult for people to create connection, yet feel safe and secure.
Even without the pandemic in the mix, we know that many people have started fostering bonds only via digital channels – which may be empowering to an extent, but also limiting if that’s all you do. As ever-connected as we are with the help of digital tools, it’s vital to remember just how important real human connection is, and how building our communities can impact our wellbeing. Whether you need to detox from work-related stress, or you need to have a riveting conversation about a mind-bending book, there are ways to build connections with the help of digital outlets as well as beyond them. Here’s why and how!
Turn video chats into weekly connection dates
Now that practically every app we use has the option for video calling, we’ve started treating this as just another version of texting the grocery list. Add to that, people often don’t have the tendency to savor these conversations, even when they are all we have in self-isolation and during such difficult situations such as the pandemic.
One way to build relationships remotely is to use these video chats as more than an act of courtesy. Schedule them and respect them much like you’d schedule and honor a dinner date. Turn them into meaningful moments to connect by drinking a cup of coffee and devoting all of your attention to that discussion. Commit to these calls and they’ll become a wonderful source of closeness, even remotely.
Asking meaningful questions – and listen
We have such an abundance of resources available at our fingertips or merely clicks away that we have become used to a different way to communicate. From googling information to asking our voice assistants to help us learn something new, we rarely ever rush to our friends for advice anymore.
Even if you don’t intend to use every tip people around you can share from their experience, that is one of the most fundamental ways for us to exchange ideas and come up with creative solutions to everyday issues.
Before you reach for your phone mid-conversation and allow it to come to a grinding halt, ask the person you’re talking to about their views on the matter, or their experience. Asking meaningful questions can give new depth to any relationship, and it’s a wonderful way to learn about our loved ones’ views and opinions, and connect without distractions.
Building and joining a community
Cultivating peer bonds can be a challenge, especially as we grow older and more set in our ways. When the kids fly the nest, or you’re widowed or divorced, connecting with people of your age can be difficult. This is where digital outlets are a perfect opportunity to fuel your social life in silver years, online as well as offline.
You can join and build social groups for seniors via online platforms that bring people of the same age together. The rest is up to you and your imagination! You can meet your new friends online regularly, set up video calls with them, or you can organize get-togethers in person when it’s safe. This is a beautiful way to meet new people and stay in touch even during the pandemic, when you can diversify your digital interactions in such meaningful ways.
Connecting through nature and activity
Among the many benefits of spending time in nature, the freedom to connect with your friends and family outside all the noise and air pollution is by far the most significant for your mental health. We have grown accustomed to all the chaos of our urban jungles, and we neglect our need for silence, clarity, and conversations without distractions.
Especially now, when the ability to meet people is fairly limited, spending time with your close friend or family member enjoying a hike or a walk in the park is a treat we all need. This is a perfect opportunity to organize a getaway in a lake cottage or a seaside house with someone you love.
It helps you detach yourself from the stress of everyday living, work, and obligations, and it allows you to have hours of meaningful discussions and think about life in general. This can be a truly restorative experience especially for someone in their silver years, needing to reconnect with their perpetually busy family members.
Fostering socialization and community through hobbies
We typically choose pastime activities in order to introduce some kind of work-life balance, stay fit and healthy, and learn something new. These are all wonderful sources of motivation to join a new book club or take up dance lessons, but we should also evaluate these options from the perspective of socialization. All of these activities are filled with people that share common interests with us. Why not do our best to connect and communicate with them and thus expand our social circle?
There are activities that even have a unique way of enabling people to bond, such as dancing. The physical closeness combined with the effort to help one another master a new skill brings people together. In the current situation, you have limited options, but once the pandemic passes, you can choose your hobbies for more than their initial purpose – to grow your social circle.
As imperfect as this world of ours can be, we can create our own little universe built on closeness, kindness, and connection. Fortunately for all of us, we have access to a wide array of social networks that help us stay connected. By combining these digital connections with creative activities, we can foster lifelong companionships and improve the quality of our lives with this new mindset. The listed tips can help you weave more meaningful relationships into your life, effortlessly so, and build communities with like-minded people around you, online as well as offline.
Sophia Smith is beauty and lifestyle blogger, an eco-lifestyle lover, graphic designer and a DIY enthusiast. Design plays a huge role in her personal expression. Sophia loves sharing meaningful content that educates and inspires people. She has contributed to a number of publications including: Women Love Tech, Cause Artist, Carousel and Viva Glam Magazine.