7 Strategies for Deepening Your Social Connections
Jun 07, 2022
Social connection has been shown to lower anxiety and depression, improve physical health, improve day-to-day performance and quality of life, improve our immune systems, and help us live longer. Not being able to spend time with others had significant negative effects for many people during the pandemic since, for most of us, we are inherently social beings. What is important to consider when thinking about how socially connected you are is not the number of people you are connected to, but the quality of those relationships.
In assessing whether you have meaning social connections, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I have people I can confide in?
- Do I show up as my authentic self in my relationships?
- Do I have people who I can rely on when I am having a hard time?
- Do I have people who I really know and who are honest with me about the ups and downs in their lives?
- When I am spending time with others, are we fully present with one another?
I like these questions because they will help you to assess if you are truly connected with other. I believe that sometimes we think we are more connected than we really are. Have you ever gone out with friends or loved ones and realize you spend half of your time on your phone paying attention to other things? Do you have hundreds of “friends” on social media, yet you don’t really know any of them or what is really happening in their lives? Do you think you are connected with others because you are quickly responding to a text as you are running out the door for an appointment?
In today’s world, it is easy to stay “connected” without having true connection. It’s easy to let weeks, months, or even years go by without being intentional about your social connections. If you answered “no” to most or all of the questions above, consider making some adjustments to deepen your social connections.
7 strategies for deepening your social connections.
- Decide which current connections you have that you would like to make stronger. Identify who the people are that you already know, with whom you would like a deeper connection.
- Decide if you want to make new social connections. Consider who you might want to connect with and why. Consider how you might connect with them, safely and in a way that does not feel too rushed. Finally, take one small action to form a new connection.
- Prioritize your relationships. When you say you are too busy for something, it is likely that you are not prioritizing it. Make your current relationships, and establishing new relationships, if necessary, a priority.
- Be open. Once you identify the people with whom you want to have a stronger connection, allow them to get to know the real you, not the person you think you should be. Authenticity is an important aspect of creating deeper connections with others.
- Be curious. Ask questions about what is going on in the lives of those you want a deeper connection with so that you get to know them better. They will appreciate you showing a real interest in what is happening in their lives.
- Go beyond social medial likes and quick text messages. Social media is a great way to keep in touch, however, it does not allow you to know what is really going on in someone’s life. Texts can be a bit more personal, and can allow for more frequent communication, however, they don’t support a relationship like real conversations do.
- Be present. When you are with the people you want to have a connection with, be present. Put your phones aside and enjoy the time you have together, rather than allowing other life distractions to steal this precious time.
The key with social connections is always quality over quantity so it is helpful to take inventory of your relationships and put in the work and effort required to form and maintain strong social connections. Knowing all of the benefits of having strong social connections that were highlighted at the beginning of this article, consider assessing your current relationships and taking action to improve and deepen your social connections if needed.
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