It is Friday morning, and I draw breath reflecting on what has been a challenging month.
We are a few days into June, and I am already tired and reflective.
Life is converging, and it feels like it is coming around in a full circle.
Yesterday afternoon, I closed my office door, having dismantled the office furniture, stowing files along with the memories of my thirteen years.
In readiness for my final office departure in August, I thought of all the connections I have made over the many years I’ve been in business.
My dear friend and business colleague who occupies the office next door is more than a connection on Linkedin.
She handed me a lovely bouquet and a card. “I’ll miss you when you finally leave”. I thanked her, choking back the tears tiredness coupled with the whole process of packing and readying the office for departure stung.
Social media boasts of connections, for we are all connected by six degrees of separation, the idea that six or fewer people relate to each other.
Friendships are more than connections.
Humans need connection and friendships. It is an inherent need because we are social animals and crave human interaction.
We are socially wired to belong to one another.
The pandemic reinforced the need for human interaction, and in our digitally isolating world, it has forced us to reappraise our relationships and connections.
To value and appreciate their importance for our mental and physical well being.
I am closer to my parents more than ever because of enforced lockdown.
Our stilted and complex relationship born out of miscommunication and misunderstanding has sharpened the importance of family and love.
Human frailty makes us vulnerable; we need friends and close connections that sustain and mould us into the people we are.
Deep-rooted in our psyche is the desire to be wanted and needed.
When you ask for help nine out of ten times, the person asked will do what they can to help you.
We like to help others; it makes us feel good it makes us feel connected to one another.
The news headlines might suggest that kindness and thoughtfulness are a lost virtue.
Being connected and having friends lowers anxiety levels and depression.
For a middle-aged woman making new friends and connections can be tricky.
We have formulated our views and have routines that make us obdurate.
We are judgemental because life experience has taught us to recognize friends from foes, so we tend not to suffer fools gladly.
Life is important to us, and we want to make the best of what we have.
Strong ties with family and friends fuel love and happiness
“Connection is not an exchange of information. It’s an exchange of humanity. It’s an exchange of emotion”. – Sean Stephenson
“We need to remind ourselves of the beauty of human connection and nature and pull ourselves out of devices for a moment and appreciate what it is just to being human beings.” Olivia Wilde
Brene Brown, Professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, specializes in human connections. She states, “a deep sense of love and belonging is an irresistible need of all people.
We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong. We may think we want money, power, fame, beauty, eternal youth or a new car, but at the root of most of these desires is a need to belong, to be accepted, to connect with others, to be loved”.
As we age, connections and friendships are more important. We rely on people to support us through ill health or simply by being there.
This was evident during our enforced lockdown when people craved the need to touch and hold their loved ones.
My parents, along with many, have suffered tremendously because of a lack of human touch.
The digital world cannot compensate for the feelings you experience when you are in the company of friends and family.
No matter how many Zoom, Skype or Team meetings or catch-ups you have, it is not a worthy substitute for human interaction.
The word connection symbolizes a business transaction; we connect on Linkedin and makes friends on Facebook and Instagram.
It is a core human need, and in our increasingly digitalized world, we feel less connected.
Communication is superficial bourne out of necessity rather than authenticity. We tend to be wary of solitude, fearing that loneliness might lead to boredom and anxiety.
Social distancing has taught us the value of human relationships and not to take them for granted.
Before the pandemic, loneliness was one of the most significant factors in causing anxiety.
The pandemic has made us feel less in touch and isolated from our family and friends, and returning to anything that resembles ‘normal’ feels confusing and stressful.
Imagining post-pandemic life and reintegrating into our everyday routine seems unimaginable.
Meeting with a friend for lunch after so long incarcerated, I felt anxious and worried. What would we talk about? None of us has done anything because we haven’t been anywhere?
My worries were unfounded because we chatted, comparing notes on lockdown and the future.
The myth that it is ‘back to normal’ is flippantly shared as if we will slip comfortably back into the norm.
I think not.
We have spent over a year staring at people from behind a desk in front of a computer.
We will need to interact in a socially constructive way, and if you’re anything like me, it’s proving harder than I thought.
The home has been my domain and the walls my defence.
The world will not recover its equilibrium anytime soon, so for now, concentrating on our relationships by proactively looking forward to a future where human connections are exigent by taking a step at a time.