There are two questions that follow: “How do I connect with people?” and “What do I do when I get there?” These are the two biggest hurdles we face when trying to understand how to connect with others. In my own experience, I can only describe the sensation of facing these questions as abject horror. Even more so when I didn’t know who to turn to for help.
In my mind, the worst thing is when someone who hungers for that connection doesn’t know how to find it. My heart goes out to them. It’s alright to be alone, but it’s not alright to feel lonely. The difference is choice. As an introvert, I often prefer the sanctity of being alone at my apartment or with a close friend. Feeling lonely, I can only describe it as a form of pain. To feel that desire to reach out and connect, but not knowing how to fill that need or who to reach out to.
We need those positive connections that unleash positive feelings and conversations that have a natural progression and provide an exhilarating experience. Otherwise, we’re left alone to stew in our own thoughts. We need an experience of connection to move us in a positive direction. It’s my goal to help people make these connections a regular occurrence and not a rarity.
Connecting with someone is finding a shared interest that we have a positive association with… Find something you both like. Look for positive emotional responses. Do they smile, giggle, laugh? Then you’re connected. You’ll know it because their eyes will light up, they’ll fill with energy, and wear a genuine smile. That’s what the excitement of finding a conversation we enjoy looks like. A conversation where we feel connected to another individual and act without having to think.
Now that we’re connected, what do we do? How do we keep this going? How do we reignite this when we next see them?
Don’t panic. One of the defining experiences of loneliness is the struggle to trust in our own abilities, so we need to find trust in others. That’s why having helpful and constructive support is so important. They provide a solid foundation of their confidence in us that we can borrow from. We also need to trust in the smile and laughter others share with us. We shouldn’t try to be entertaining, just try to find something we want to learn about them or something we’d like to share with them.
It’s easy to feel like we’re broken or lacking something because it doesn’t seem like anyone else has these struggles. The problem is the support people have behind them is invisible. We don’t know how many hours they’ve struggled with the same concerns as us or how many people it takes for them to feel supported and comfortable.
Sometimes family and friends are able to provide all the support we need, but when they don’t have the time or the skills we need for support then we need other options. Life Coaches and Counselors are professional options for support. They have skills and training far beyond the average person for providing support and listening to others. What we need is kindness, support, and a connection that can act as an example to learn and draw from.