Connecting with someone is not necessarily a bond with a significant other, or even a friend, but can be the indefinable – perhaps the rarest and most precious thing in life to find at all.
Donna Lynn Hope
These days social networking sites and apps have become the primary source of human connection. We can become ‘friends’ with just a click or a tap. We scroll through posts and pictures, scratching the surface of each other’s lives. It gives us ‘good feels’, but it doesn’t feed that deeper longing for connection. Real connection. Where we take the time to see each other, listen, and reflect. Where we really know each other. The kind of relationship where your struggles and dreams become as familiar to me as my own.
This kind of connection can only come when we are vulnerable with each other and dig deeper into each other’s lives. Social media is great, but the interactions that happen there are quick, brief like snapshots. Friendships form and fade, and new ones are made in their place. We’re all busy. There’s little time to get to know each other, and maybe some of us already have those relationships outside of our online presence.
We don’t want to get to know each other because building a connection means work. It means giving up time, and we have so little of it to begin with! Instead we parade our best side and flitter in and out of meaningful interactions without connecting. The people behind the comments and likes are strangers that share only a moment of our time.
That’s why I’ve joined communities, both on and offline. I recognize in myself this longing for the deeper connections I used to have that faded as I got older and busier. I think it happens to a lot of us, and we don’t even realize it until we look around and wonder, “Where did everyone go?”
I know some people like their alone time, but I don’t believe anyone truly wants to be alone. We want to connect. So, let’s be intentional with how we do it. Whether that means joining a common interest group or volunteer organization or trying to get to know someone better (like a coworker or neighbor). Even online, there are groups to join.
Open yourself up, and good things will come. I know it’s scary, especially if you’ve been hurt in the past, but life is so much better when you build deep friendships. Don’t wait around for someone to reach out first. Plunge in first to someone’s messy chaos. We’re all a hot mess, but life is happier when we’re in it together.