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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25 Short Texts You Send Mid-Semester To Your Long Distance Best Friend

"I miss you."

A long distance friendship is just as hard, if not harder, to maintain than a long distance relationship.

You need your best friend, so what do you do when they're too far away? Text them, of course. Usually in an obsessive way.

1. "Only X more days until I see you!"

2. "Answer my FaceTime. It's important."

3. "Oh what's up? Just about to have a breakdown, what's up with you?"

4. "Did you see what he/she just posted?"

Bonus points if it's someone from high school that you both hate equally.

5. "What do I even say now?"

Because texting your S.O. isn't possible without a second opinion.

6. "Wait until you hear how I embarrassed myself this weekend."

7. "Does this look okay?"

8. "I have an exam. I need a pep talk."

9. "I know you're not busy! Pay attention to me!"

10. "Oh my god, remember when..."

11. "What's your address again?"

12. "Can you set me up with someone cute from your school? Everyone here is dumb."

13. "Stop sending me texts about how you're having fun while I'm trying to study."

14. "When can I come visit?"

15. "I wish you were here."

16. "I wish you were here so I could borrow that cute top you have."

17. "Check your Snapchat."

18. "I'm drowning in homework."

19. "Come visit me."

20. "Can you imagine if we were in the same area code? We'd destroy it."

21. "I'm glad you're making some new friends but they'll never be as cool as me so..."

22. "I just cried about how you don't live here."

23. "I love you."

24. "No one here gets me like you do."

25. "I miss you."

Cover Image Credit: YouTube

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5 Friends Every Girl Needs To Survive College

Every girl needs a quality squad.

School is stressful as hell. Actually, life in general once you're in college is stressful as hell. No one can survive it alone. Every girl needs a quality squad of gal pals to get her through. These are the friends you'll need by your side if you want to survive college with your sanity still in check.

1.The Soulmate

This is that one person that you probably met pretty late in your lifetime, but you honestly don’t know how you ever survived without them. This is that friend who you go to for literally every decision you have to make from whether or not you should take a job to which insta filter you should use. They are the ultimate adventure companion, dinner/lunch/coffee date, movie buddy, and an impromptu photoshoot master, but she also loves to just sit down and chill, which really helps me relieve stress from school. Every girl needs that one friend who will comment fire emojis on your selfies to boost you up. A good friend is supportive 24/7, even if they don’t live close. You don’t necessarily need to share all of the same interests (or taste in food). If you were clones of each other, your friendship would be boring. And it certainly isn’t.

2. The One That Lives Close

Sometimes, you just need a quick escape from your house, and a friend that lives close is the perfect destination. Your ideal hangout is just sitting down and talking about life, which works out best if you both have the same values and interests. Your stories never seem to bore them, and the same goes for theirs. They’re super easy to make plans with. This is the perfect friend to sit down and have a drink with after a long day. And it’s always really hard to leave.

3. That One Girl Who Is Basically Like Your Girlfriend

She’s probably seen you at least mostly naked and borrowed your clothes (and owns them now because it’s been years since you’ve seen them). She’s the one you send weird pictures to (like your growing leg hair, your uneven boobs, and the weird thing happening to your foot). She’s there for all your major issues, but probably not for every single bitch session. You can go months without seeing her and pick up right from where you left off. Hanging out and doing basically nothing with them is some of the most fun you’ve ever had. This is the one who’s most likely to get matching tattoos with you. Also they know every single one of your deepest darkest secrets so if you stopped being friends you'd probably have to kill them.

4. The School Friend

You might not see this person much outside of class, but this friend will understand 100% every single complaint you have about school. From every annoying teacher’s pet, to the weird kid who breathes too loud, to the parking catastrophe you suffer every morning, to the teachers who still don’t provide any online access to the class. This person gets it. Handy to have around when you want to eat during school, but you don’t want to eat alone because then someone might come try to sit down at your table. You might have a lot of friends from school, but there will be one in particular who just makes the whole experience so much less miserable.

(You need a similar friend for work too, especially if your job sucks.)

5. Your Childhood Bestie

You’ve known this person for forever, so you’re like kind of sisters at this point. They’ve been your go-to friend for most of your life. At some point you kind of parted ways, but that doesn’t mean they don’t care. Catching up with this person is always the best and will make your whole week, especially since you get to reminisce about all those memories from before school was murdering you. (They’ve probably also seen you mostly naked.)

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