The Importance Of Connection

The Importance Of Connection

We were created to connect.

I recently posted an article about my love of spending time in solitude. I wrote about how spending time alone is important, enjoyable and self-revealing. While I will always be one to seek solo experiences, I've lately been recognizing my need to seek connection.

However, this need is not solely my own. This need for connection is hardwired into all of us. It is quite literally a matter of neuroscience.

This need is a fact.

This need is ours.

We were created for a connection that satisfies us on a physical, emotional, spiritual, intellectual and biological level. Brené Brown says that connection begets connection and without the reciprocated energy of others, we suffer on all of the previously mentioned levels.

When I speak of this reciprocated energy, I'm referring to the energy that is exchanged between people when they make a connection that does not include screens or social media masks. I'm talking about that real, vulnerable, face to face, I hear you, you listen to me, substantial, human-interaction experience. It doesn't have to be emotional, it doesn't have to be serious, it just has to be genuine and all involved have to be present in that moment. That is reciprocated energy. That is the connection.

The more I thought about my inclination towards being alone, the more I began realizing that connection, for me, can be hard work.

I immediately thought why is connection a struggle if it's something that I'm hardwired to do?

Heavy stuff.

I've reached the understanding that connection is difficult for me because I battle with seeking and accepting help. At the end of the day, my struggle is with the vulnerability aspect of connection.

The following is a list of practices that I strive to implement in my own life. These practices increase connection and encourage the deconstruction of the walls we so often build around our vulnerability.

1. Don't mistake simple communication for connection

Having an online/social media presence allows for communication (not connection) to take place. A "comment" here and a "like" there does not constitute a human connection experience. I recognize the hypocritical nature of communicating this message through an online platform but let's look at it this way: I'm communicating a message that will hopefully encourage connection.

2. Practice courage

I gained inspiration on this topic from Brené Brown and I feel I would be remiss if I did not incorporate her definition of courage: In one of its earliest forms, the word courage meant "To speak one's mind by telling all one's heart."

By practicing courage according to this definition, you are practicing vulnerability. Yes, this is scary, exciting and immeasurably challenging (and even that is an understatement) but I’ve found that most anything worth doing is. The payoff can only be as big as the risk taken to get there.

3. Count your I's

How many times are you saying the word “I” when in conversation with someone else? Are we really connecting with another individual if the only connection we can make is to ourselves? I’ll help you out… NO, you aren’t truly connecting if you’re constantly turning the conversation back onto yourself.

Make it about them, make them feel heard, valued and appreciated. I think that we all have an intrinsic desire to be wholeheartedly heard.

4. Hear and here

One of the most crucial components of connectedness is being here and being able to hear. This means that we must disconnect in order to connect.

If we want to be here in the moment, wherever and whenever that moment is, we can't have our minds wandering someplace else. We can access our social media communication at any time but we are not always guaranteed access to an in-person connection.

So, when you find yourself with the opportunity to connect, show that person you’re listening and that you are not only listening to them but also hearing them.

Nod every so often, engage in the conversation, release any thoughts or questions that are distracting you from receiving the other person’s efforts to connect with you. that you can fuel others.

Cover Image Credit: Sophia Winter

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14 Fraternity Guy Gifts Ideas, Since He Already Has Enough Beer

Frat boys are a species of their own and here are some exciting gifts they will be ecstatic to receive!


What more do frat boys love than alcohol, partying, and just acting stupid? Here are some gifts that help fulfill all of those needs for the frat boy in your life!

1. Beer holster belt

Whats better than one beer? Six beers! This fashionable camouflage accessory can be used for tailgates, beach days, formals and everything in between.

Price: $8.49

2. Phone juul holder 

You know those cardholders everyone sticks on the back of their phones? Well, now a Juul holder for your phone is on the market! This will save your favorite frat boy from ever again losing his Juul!

Price: $10.98

3. Animal house poster 

This Animal House poster is a classic staple for any frat boy. This poster will compliment any frat house decor or lack thereof.

Price: $1.95

4. The American Fraternity book

Does the frat boy in your life need a good read for Thanksgiving or winter break? Look no farther, this will certainly keep his attention and give him a history lesson on American fraternity heritage and tradition.

Price: $28.46

5. Beer pong socks 

These snazzy socks featuring beer pong will be loved by any frat boy. As for the way to any frat boy's heart may, in fact, be beer pong.

Price: $12.00

6. Condom case

This condom carrying case will not only protect condoms from damage but also make frat boys more inclined to practice safe sex, which is a win-win situation!

Price: $9.99

7. Frat house candle

Ahhh yes, who does not like the smell of stale beer in a dark, musty frat house basement? Frat boys can make their apartment or bedroom back home smell like their favorite place with the help of this candle.

Price: $16.99

8. "Frat" sticker

Frat boys always need to make sure everyone around them knows just how "fratty" they are. This versatile stick can go on a laptop, car, water bottle, or practically anywhere their little hearts desire.

Price: $6.50

9. Natty Light t-shirt 

Even I will admit that this shirt is pretty cool. The frat boy in your life will wear this shirt at every possible moment, it is just that cool!

Price: $38.76-$41.11

10. Natty light fanny pack 

This fanny pack can absolutely be rocked by any frat boy. The built-in koozie adds a nice touch.

Price: $21.85

11. Bud Light Neon Beer Sign 

A neon beer sign will be the perfect addition to any frat boys bedroom.

Price: $79.99

12. Beer Opener

Although most frat boys' go to beers come in cans, this bottle opener will be useful for those special occasions when they buy nicer bottled beers.

Price: $7.99

13. Frat House Dr. Sign

Price: $13.99

Forget stealing random street signs, with this gift frat boys no longer have to do so.

14. Beer Lights 

Lights are an essential for any party and these will surely light up even the lamest parties.

Price: $17.19

Please note that prices are accurate and items in stock as of the time of publication. As an Amazon Associate, Odyssey may earn a portion of qualifying sales.

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You Can Cut People Out Of Your Life And That's OK

Have you ever had "friends" in your life you felt like you couldn't trust or weren't good for you?

Have you ever been super annoyed by anyone on social media because of their posts?


Last spring, I had to drop two friends I felt were no longer a good influence on me. It was difficult to make this decision, but I did take a while to think about it. I still feel to this day that I made the right decision.

They talked badly about people, and they talked badly about their own "best friends" behind their backs. They DID things behind their friends' backs, that they knew they would get mad at.

I felt I couldn't trust them because of this. I also felt that they were very narcissistic, and only cared about what people looked like. They began to appear to be shallow to me. At one point, I really had no desire to be their friends anymore.

I didn't do this aggressively. I did this silently. I unfollowed them on Instagram, unfriended them on Snapchat and Facebook, and unfollowed them on Twitter.

I just wanted their toxicity out of my life. It wasn't good for my mental health.

Well, soon they realized that I did this and they lashed out. I wasn't mean to them until they were mean to me. I tried to talk to them calmly and civilly, but they did not reciprocate. I stood up for myself and was done.

It was liberating.

Now, to go on to the second part of my article.

I really am one of the least judgmental people but this situation amazed me.

About three years ago, (and I can't remember how), I became friends on Facebook with a girl who had very recently become unexpectedly pregnant at 16. (Legally a child). She just turned 17.

She got married to her boyfriend of two years (the father of the baby) only two months after finding out she was pregnant.

They moved to Washington state for the husband's military station.

Even though they were SUPER young, I thought they were really cute and I admired and respected her for her maturity in raising her child.

But then, she got pregnant again. At 18. She was going to be a mother of two at 18.

I don't know if it was on purpose or not, but I still was shocked nonetheless.

I didn't really like her husband that much. He posted multiple pictures of his truck every day on Facebook, but barely any of his kids.

He was in the military fighting for our country yet his Facebook statuses were racist, sexist, and just mean and OFFENSIVE.

Plus, his posts were hard to read too sometimes because his grammar was AWFUL. Some of the words he used weren't even real words. He sounded very uneducated.

Then, about a month ago, the wife posts a status on Facebook saying that she and her husband were separated and were getting a divorce because the husband couldn't stop commenting on other girls' pictures and wanting to know who other girls were. She posts this for all the world to see; changes her married name on social media to her maiden name. Then like a week or so ago, she's all of a sudden posting pics of her husband, acting all lovey-dovey with him.

So are you getting divorced or what?

I just realized that I was done. I had been following a random ass couple on Facebook for three years now, whose drama I could no longer handle or comprehend.

I lost all respect for the wife. She said herself her husband was disloyal, then a month later, turns around and forgets like it never happened.

To me, their marriage is a complete joke. How can she ever trust him? How can we see him as a decent military man if he cheats on his wife? They're going to be so unhappy. And their children are going to be affected by it.

And the very last thing that bothered me after that was seeing her change her profile picture on Facebook to her and her husband, with herself holding a REDD's Hard Cider. She's 20. This profile picture is public. For all the world to see.

She's a mom and a military wife posting pictures of herself illegally drinking.

I have no words other than I have no respect.

I had to delete her and her husband, and honestly, I feel so much better.

Life is better simple and peaceful.

I realized that in the end, all I needed was me. Worrying about other peoples' unsolvable problems was getting me nowhere. I'm exactly where I need to be.

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