As I sat in the presence of 6 other women this past Saturday morning, I was reminded once again of the importance of gathering and coming together. It’s an opportunity to take a timeout from our busy schedules in order to connect with others, drop the masks, and share what’s on our hearts.
At this particular meet-up there were 4 different nationalities and we were more similar than different with our feelings, experiences, doubts and hopes. We spent only an hour and a half together. Although the time was short and for some of these people it was the first time they had met each other, the conversations were honest, courageous, and transparent. I was inspired by each and every woman there for being able to share their truth even in front of people they had just met.
I started this meet-up for many different reasons, but one of them was so I could bring a community together of women who I knew most likely would share similar values, interests, and beliefs. I was hoping to extend my friend circle, but I also wanted others to know they aren’t alone. They aren’t alone in their struggles, pains, doubts, fears, disappoints, and broken hearts.
Even though we are more connected than we’ve ever been in history, we are feeling less connected to our communities and to each other. Loneliness is on the rise and people are craving real, deep and meaningful connection. As much as I love (ummmm……okay, maybe not love…like is better) social media it’s just not cutting it. Social media will never be able to replace a nice long coffee chat with a good friend, a phone call to your parents, a hug, small talk with the person waiting in line next to you, or the person you see every day at work, but you actually don’t know a darn thing about them.
I’m guilty of all of this too. I send a quick text, rather than pick up the phone to call. I jam pack my schedule with work so there’s not much time for meeting with loved ones. I put my headphones on during a flight rather than chatting with the person sitting not even 1 inch from me. I do all of this. And the worst part is I catch myself doing it and I still do it.
This kinda (almost) makes me laugh. Why? Because connection is one of my values. And even though it’s one of my values, I still choose my phone rather than the person right in front of me. Just writing that line made me wince a bit. This is something I’ll most likely be kicking myself for. I’ll regret not being more present with my loved ones. But I won’t regret not scrolling through my instagram feed for the gazillionth time that day. Connection matters. Real, meaningful, and present connection.
Now I’m not saying you can’t find connection on social media. I know many people who have connected with some amazing souls and that connection eventually flourished into a beautiful friendship. That definitely happens, but we need to stay mindful of how often we crave for connection and reach for our phones to scroll through our feed, rather than calling up a loved one. Your newsfeed is just not going to fill you up the same way. I get it though. Life is busy. It’s jam-packed. It’s stuffed to the brim with expectations, should’s, appointments, deadlines, and more. How can you find the time for connection, when you have a mile long to-do list.
One thing I’ve learned is that you have to MAKE the time.
That’s the only solution I’ve come up with. We have to make the time in our life for the things we say are truly important and matter to us. Which means we have to say no to some other things.
What are some ways you can start to make more connection right now?
- Schedule in 2 phone dates in your calendar per week. As hard as it may be, try not to multitask during these calls and stay present with your friend or family member.
- Carve out space in your calendar for a coffee date or lunch each week. Protect this time and prioritize it.
- While waiting in line or just waiting somewhere start chatting with the person next to you. Remember that loneliness is on the rise, so there could be a good chance you’re the first person they’ve actually connected with that day as well.
- Be vulnerable, put yourself out there, and ask someone who you’d like to get to know out for coffee or a drink. This can really be stepping out of your comfort zone for some of you, but a few of my greatest friendships has come from me reaching out and asking them to meet up.
- Start joining activities and meet-ups you’d be interested in. This is a win-win as it gives you a reason to carve out time for an activity that you enjoy, while also connecting with like-minded folks in real time.
- Presence. Put your phone away and engage with the people right in front of you. I know firsthand how addicting our phones can be, but social media and your emails really can wait. At the end of the day, the most important thing are the humans right in front of us.
- If you’re in a relationship, ask your SO out on a date. Plan something fun, laugh, reconnect, and be present (again, put those darn phones away).
All I’m doing is learning with you and experimenting and sharing anything that has worked well for me. I certainly haven’t mastered any of this. These are simply areas I’m working on in my own life and things I strive for.
I hope these were helpful! How have you been connecting more with the humans in your life lately? I’d love to hear from you! xo