Connecting with others helps create a sense of belonging. Some days our life can feel like we are browsing the internet. Connecting, disconnecting, and attempting to reconnect all day long. We may also feel the same way about people and relationships. We can meet lots of people but may only connect long-term with a few. The connections we do make help us to keep connecting and building relationships over time. Although the ways we connect have changed, the importance of intentionally connecting with others has not.
Making connections is possible, we can:
Be inclusive, not exclusive
Develop short term/casual friendships
Get involved personally
Keep connecting long-term
Be Inclusive. Every person you meet may not become a lifelong friend. Friendships keep changing as life and circumstances change too. Long term relationships play a role in helping us to feel more connected. Those relationships give us something to build on but should not be something that holds us back from seeking new friendships. We can always pull up another chair when we meet a potential friend.
Develop casual friendships. We can continue to build our community by intentionally looking to make new friends while keeping our lifelong friends. I tend to frequent the same walking paths, restaurants and even hotels when I travel. People whom I see on a regular basis I purposefully choose to say hi to, ask them about their day, or find something we have in common that I know we can talk about. I believe that intentionally connecting with others on a regular basis is what helps create feelings of belonging (community) over time.
Get involved Look for ways to become a part of the community you live in. Isolation is lonely. We make life better for everyone when we choose to serve and work together. We need each other. It is our strengths and weaknesses that allow us to work best together. Our differences may be the exact skillset needed to further bring a project together. We may also be the exact friend someone else needs.
Keep connecting through social media and in personal encounters. Connections help create a sense of community. Social media relationships allow us to feel instantly connected, at least in that moment. Taking those connections to the next level involves spending time together. It is two different ways of connecting to people, both can be a foundation used to further establish relationships.
Casual acquaintances (short term connections) can meet an in-the-moment need to feel as if we belong. Relationships (long-term connections) bless our lives by providing us with feelings of acceptance.