Do you love going to events where you don’t know anyone? Or do you dread it? Would you rather be in a room filled with others you can bounce stuff off of, or in your own office free from the distraction of others? If you like and need to be with others, our society calls you an extrovert; if you get energy on your own, you’re called an introvert.
Most of us, regardless of what kind of person we are, likes time with others, because we are all social animals. It’s a basic human need. And even if we would rather commune with plants and animals instead of other humans, we must connect to grow and thrive. And with rare exceptions, we all need some of that connection to be with our fellow humans.
But, making these connections can be hard. We may be in a brand new place with unfamiliar rules of engagement; or in a small town that tends not to welcome strangers, or in the middle of a large city where people treasure their private time and don’t especially want new friends.
It might be intimidating for you to approach new people, especially if you’ve been rebuffed a few times. I would be! It takes a thick skin, or a strong sense of self-love – or both – to withstand this kind of apparent rejection.
I say “apparent” because it isn’t really rejection. The person who hasn’t shown interest to connecting with you isn’t necessarily judging you beyond noting that you’re new and they’re busy, or tired, or any number of things that have nothing to do with you.
It really isn’t personal! That’s the first thing to remember.
The next thing to remember is this: if you want to make meaningful connections, ones that feed your spirit, then make sure they’re meaningful to both you and the person you’re connecting with. Otherwise, at best, it’s a chore and at worst, it’s manipulative. In either case, it isn’t going to feel good to either of you, and definitely won’t nourish your spirit.
It may seem odd, but meaningful connection begins with self-connection. How do you feel about yourself? What do you like? Dislike? Desire? What are your passions? Goals? Dreams? If you know these, then you have something to connect with others about, and a way to find those people you can meaningfully engage.
If you google the web on how to connect, you’ll pretty much get the same advice over and over: join conversations that genuinely interest you, get interested in what’s happening in the life of the person you’re talking to, be honest, courteous, and truthful.
We can now describe the physical aspects at work in our brains that make a connection meaningful to us. Tom Wujek (see the video below) identifies three mechanisms that are necessary for this to happen: image recognition, the relationship that image has to everything else that is meaningful to us in the space, and how we feel about.
Which translates as: we work best with people we want to get to know, and who’s interaction energizes us. So, the most important thing to remember when you’re wanting to connect is knowing yourself and what’s important to you.
Now I’d like to hear from you – how do you re-focus? What item in your life helps you do that?
Included is a video related to this topic from another perspective, and a quote that I hope you will enjoy.
Tom Wujec – 3 ways the brain creates meaning
Quote of the Week
I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship. ― Brené Brown
At times we need more – we know the logic, know what to do. And yet something is still blocking us. I offer both one-on-one consultations and coaching packages. For more information, visit my website www.thejoyofliving.co/services-and-programs or contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org