Updated: Aug 3, 2021
We’re now two years into this pandemic. Tensions are high and morale is low. Our way of life has been affected across multiple levels. However, many people have shown amazing resilience, while adapting to this new normal. When discussing what has made the difference between becoming resilient and slipping into despair, one age-old factor stands out: social connection.
The pandemic and the lockdowns have served as blockages to our innate will towards connecting with others. We’ve been starved of opportunities to create and to maintain relationships. Whether you’re extraverted or introverted, the will to connect is one of the strongest desires we, as human beings, possess: one might argue, our most meaningful experience as human beings.
In a technological age of virtual social connection, it’s difficult to believe that people are reporting the highest levels of feeling isolated and lonely that have ever been. These experiences seem to be strongly connected to sharp rises in anxiety and depression! However, through both general discussions and my practice, it has become clear to me that those people who have managed to both cope and adapt during this pandemic are those who have been able to maintain and, at times, create social connection and attachment. If you’re somebody who struggles to connect with others there are ways of getting there.
Here are some ‘tips’ for those of you who struggle to connect, socially:
Recognise your own needs for connection;
Think about who you’d like to connect with and why;
Think about a focused topic of conversation you’d like to discuss;
Be direct regarding the reasons for wanting to connect with someone;
Try to understand that you reaching out to someone might be welcomed by the other;
Allow yourself to make ‘mistakes’ in conversation.
Connecting with others can be anxiety provoking. Accepting a certain amount of ‘social anxiety’ and risking vulnerability in connecting with others can be very rewarding! I hope that these tips help to lessen some of the angst that often accompanies making oneself vulnerable.