The quote ‘no man is an island’ by John Donne, is frequently used to show that in life, people do better when they have healthy relationships with other human beings than if they are isolated from others. Research shows that people who have nurturing relationships with family, friends and the community they live in, feel happier, experience less problems with their health and also live longer (Harvard Health Publishing, 2011).
The intensity and frequency which people need to feel connected to others differs; one of the factors that determines this is whether they are introverts or extroverts. Irrespective of the actual time spent interacting with others, having some connections is important. The following are 7 ways that can help you to stay connected.
1. Find friends who have common interests
If you have friends with whom you share a common hobby, it might be easier to make an effort to meet up as when you do, you are enjoying yourself by doing what you like. Some routines can also be developed e.g. if you like running, you find a running buddy and on certain days of the week you go for a run together.
2. Social media
As consuming and toxic social media may be, it can also help us to be connected with others by facilitating communication. When a friend posts something, rather than just liking that post, you can send them a message about it and start a conversation.
3. Coffee dates
Coffee dates are a quick way to meet up with friends or family, they can be brief yet they provide the space to catch up and talk. Find times that work for you and your friends e.g. meeting after work or on the weekend when you may be more available.
4. Celebrating birthdays
Birthdays can be the perfect excuse to meet up. Sometimes we get stuck into our daily routines and busyness that finding time to meet up with family and friends can be challenging. Keep dates that are special as a milestone for when to meet up with people who matter to you.
5. Virtual meetups
Some of your friends and family may be living in a different country to yours thus, meeting up physically is not possible. Find time to video call each other and do not let the distance make you grow apart. Drop in a message to check in on how they are doing and show them that you still think about them even if you do not meet often.
6. Set up traditions
It may be nice to set up your own traditions that can keep you connected with others e.g. meeting for Sunday lunch, hosting an event on specific holidays, meeting up to cook together etc.
7. Be there for each other
We stay connected with people by being there for them; this includes both good times and bad times. Do fun things together, it is nice to create memories together but also show your support when friends and family are going through difficult times and need you to be there for them.
If you think that you can benefit from professional support on this issue you can reach out here.
Dr Marilyn Muscat is registered as an Educational Psychologist with the Health and Care Professions Council in the United Kingdom where she trained. She works with children, adolescents and their families to understand more about educational, social and emotional well-being concerns that they have and to help them improve upon their difficulties. She can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 79291817.
Harvard Health Publishing. (2011, January 18). “Strengthen relationships for longer, healthier life”. https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/strengthen-relationships-for-longer-healthier-life