How to Increase Closeness When You’re Lonely
Our lives have become consumed with protecting ourselves. Connecting with others and cultivating meaningful relationships has fallen through the cracks. Loneliness is an epidemic. And many of us are wondering how to increase closeness and rebuild our connections.
This got me thinking. I’m not lonely because I’m trying to appear better than I am, but I’m playing it safe. We’re overwhelmed by social divisiveness, opting into isolation. We’ve become less vulnerable for fear of judgement. We create safe, shiny public perceptions of ourselves. It’s not real; it’s lonely.
“One of the biggest joys in life is activated by friends you connect with on an undeniably deep level. There is a special energy between you that is rejuvenating. Their presence functions like a clear light in your life that helps you remember what is actually important.”
Together: The Healing Power of Human Connectedness in a Sometimes Lonely World
Dr. Vivek Murthy wrote the book above about human connectedness. He cites powerful research behind loneliness and how it can cripple us. He explains there are three kinds of loneliness: intimate, relational and collective. Intimate loneliness is when you lack connection with your spouse or best friend. Relational loneliness is when you lack connection with friends you’d meet for dinner. Collective loneliness is when you lack a sense of community.
“Some people think they are in community, but they are in proximity. True community requires commitment and openness.”
Studies show 22% of Americans are struggling with loneliness. Society tells us we’re not thin enough, good looking enough or rich enough. This impacts our ability to connect with other people. We’re approaching each other from a place of insecurity rather than a place of groundedness.
HOW TO INCREASE CLOSENESS
1. Is there anything you would change about your childhood?
2. If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about something, what would you want to know?
3. If you knew you would die within a year, what would you change about the way you’re living now?
“On average, it takes 50 hours of interaction to go from acquaintance to friend and 200 hours to get to close friend. Real friendships build over time through sharing moments of joy and of heartache.”
It’s time we break free from our safe, shiny social media posts. We need to take a vulnerable deep dive into ourselves and each other. Let’s dare one another to take off the mask of perfection. Let’s feel the relief and freedom of being real. Sharing honest, non-judgemental and trustworthy human experiences is what the doctor ordered. And like my wise grandmother used to say, “Leave the politics and religion out of it.” —xo
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