How do we connect with people? I have been thinking about human connection a lot lately and how much it has changed. We lost the ability of physical intimacy, dropping by our friends or family member’s house just for a short visit, and late-night food runs with our friends.
People say that technology radically changed the way we communicate and connect. But I don’t think anyone predicted that there would be a pandemic that would force us to physically distance from one another. Life in this pandemic has severely altered how we as humans can connect. For a good chunk of this time, the way I viewed this shift in connection was that it was gone and I was not sure if or when we would get it back.
But over the last few weeks, I think I have proven myself wrong. Yes, connection has changed dramatically, but it hasn’t gone away and it probably never will because humans are social.
Connection has changed in that the small interactions and conversations we would have throughout our days are gone. Normally, it wouldn’t matter because connection would come in some other form. Through this pandemic, I have noticed that those small snippets of my day brought me joy. And not having those small works conversations in the office, or the chit chat with the barista or even the random conversation with someone on the street has left me feeling a little less connected to other people and the world in general. However, even though I lost those small moments of connection, I find the connection I am experiencing now is more profound, deep and true. Not only myself but those around me are making an extra effort to reach out and have the scary, vulnerable and raw conversations we used to be to busy to have.
So yes, connection in a lot of ways has halted to a stop. But in other ways, true and authentic connection has increased. Don’t get me wrong, I miss my chit chats with the barista and having a good laugh with people I only know from class. But if we want to keep connecting with others, we have to adapt. If it means more face times, zoom calls or phone calls, then so be it! What I have come to realize is that connecting with people never stops or fully goes away, but it changes or shifts dramatically without our consent. The only way to keep it and to have it mean something is if we lean into the new way of connecting.
Connection comes in weird waves and it changes without notice. The only way we can satisfy that need we have as humans is to change along with it. Connection does not go away if we keep trying to connect with people.