Social Ties
/ Author: Gordon O'Coin
/ Categories: Blogs, Newsletters, National /
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Social Ties

Combat loneliness by making new and deep connections

By Gord O’Coin, Regional Director, Sudbury and Ottawa Member Centres

Relationships matter. Making connections with humans is vitally important for our overall health.

According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, besides food, water, and security, human beings have a need for love and belonging. However, in a recent study reported by CNN, nearly one in four adults are lonely, with young adults ages 19 to 29 having the highest rates.

My family and I have lived in the same city for just over 10 years, which is the longest we have ever lived in one place. Prior to our last move, we lived in 4 cities over a 10-year span.

With each move came the nonenvious task of beginning to make connections within a new community. The benefit of moving to a new city forced us to build new connections. Our only alternative was to be alone.

I used to think that people who had the luxury of living in the same town they were raised in, with family nearby and friends from childhood, didn’t experience loneliness. However, even when we are surrounded by people, we can still feel lonely. It doesn’t matter what appears on the surface, as the CNN study shares: loneliness appears to be an epidemic.

We can combat loneliness by making new and deep connections. Yet this feels more awkward as we get older.

Children seem to have the ability to make connections very easy. Basically, exchange names and go play. As we get older it seems to get more challenging.

I’m realizing that what makes connection with others more difficult lies within us.

There are many websites that share information about building connections. One such website is the Science of People. A few points on it’s webpage on 15 Effective Ways to Connect With Absolutely Anyone, Anytime resonated with me:

  1. Be authentic with people. People will easily pick up when you aren’t being real. This also includes being vulnerable. Being vulnerable involves self-disclosure, which can make you more likeable and relatable while helping others open up.
  2. A fear which most have is the fear of rejection. Creating new connections makes this fear real. Push yourself to overcome this fear through self talk and doing what it is you really want to do.
  3. Extend invitations to get together. This may be inviting people over, going out to an event, or anything that may be mutually interesting. Many of us have the tendency to wait for others to invite us. Take the initiative.

Having to make new connections can be extremely challenging, let alone the added pressure to make new connections because you have moved. Looking for a new relationship or starting a new job can be daunting.

Once we realize that most people feel this way in our lives, it does make the task to build new and deeper connections a bit easier. Make a commitment to connect with someone in your workplace or a neighbour, and begin to develop those deeper connections.

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