In an age where social media and technology reign, and staying physically away from one another is now considered to be a part of current everyday life, we find ourselves in a quandary: we are now forced to find different ways to connect. Isolation has become an emotional challenge for many, and the perception of reality viewed through the screen of an electronic device is now a mirage for those who long for a deeper connection. And yet, as we continue to look to the social information we’re being fed as a window into the lives of each other, there is one question that continues to linger like a blanket of thick fog: Have we forgotten how to truly connect with one another?
The meaning of human connection is personal. It impacts everyone in a different way. Some of the deepest relationships may begin with a mutual understanding that there is a personal commonality, or even the shared joy of simply being in the presence of another human who strikes an internal chord. It is difficult to be able to recreate these in-person emotional experiences through a virtual setting with distance. However, any kind of relationship begins with a reach or an extension of someone’s time and energy. No matter what kind of meeting takes places whether virtual or in-person, the giving of time and energy is always where the human connection begins. That connection can be achieved in a currently socially distanced world if that is what we truly desire. Connection to those we hold close and to those who we have yet to meet should be a priority no matter what kind of culture we live in. We have to decide to make meeting others and fostering our current relationships a priority.
When absence makes the heart grow fonder, the need for a way to communicate with each other regardless of physical distance becomes a necessity if the connection is there and a positive relationship is evident. Sometimes the need to communicate this year feels like going through the desert without water. Attempting to meet new faces or network becomes a sudden need because the isolation is too intense. And there, in the middle of the desert of isolation, you will find a way to connect because you need personal and professional connection to survive. And you will find those who share the same needs and desires.
This year has enhanced the need for connection. It is now a matter of taking care of ourselves on a daily basis, physically and mentally, and we don’t want to feel like we are alone or fighting the battles of 2020 by ourselves. So how do we fight the feelings of isolation? We reach out and make an effort to connect with someone regardless of the distance or circumstances. A human connection will always exist if it is genuine and selfless.
In whatever way we decide to reach out to each other, let it always come back to the foundation that having something meaningful in common with another human touches the heart in a profound way – whether that’s over a virtual video call or in-person. And when it comes down to it, we haven’t forgotten how to connect, we’re uncertain as to whether someone will relate or even understand the current circumstances in our lives. But I bet if we put an ounce of feeling and effort into reaching out and starting a conversation, we’ll discover that the genuine connection still exists with the right people and those who are meant to be in our lives in spite of what we’re going through.
Claire Friday is a guest experiential strategist, producer, writer, and public speaker who resides in Las Vegas. Recently, Claire gave a TEDx at Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky. More information can be found on her website at clairefriday.com.