“Keeping connected is a way of seeing yourself the way other people see you, which, combined with how you see yourself, gives you a fuller picture of who you are.”
– National Support Group Senior Associate, Michael Knaapen
Several years ago, I was struggling to prioritize the beautiful people in my life. Friends, colleagues, and family claimed I was becoming a little flaky with my time. So, I did what any “self-important” person would do. I sent an email blast to my complainers with a calendar that outlined the next six months of my hectic, chaotic, so very important life. “Check a box,” I told them. “Squeeze yourself into my world,” I said. Let’s just say, this didn’t go over well.
Thank goodness they refused to accommodate me. This experience made me realize that, in an effort to manage my busy world, I was insensitively managing the people in it. While far from perfect, I’ve gotten better at organizing my schedule, reaching out, following up, saying yes, saying no, etc. What’s been most helpful: having fun with the many simple tools and outlets designed to connect us, like these…
Say what you must about Facebook, but this tool, along with Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn, has helped many people maintain and build relationships. While my Grandma Flo is keeping up with birthdays, anniversaries, and random acts of kindness, I’m often taking time to instant message former colleagues “remember when” notes or serious questions, like: “What is your perspective on such and such…?” “Are you able to meet for coffee?” “Would you consider donating an auction item to a fundraiser?” This online network has been hugely reliable and has kept people conveniently connected.
As a person who values eye contact, I prefer Skype to a phone call. Aside from chatting with my hilarious three-year-old niece and watching her bloom before my very eyes or hearing big news from friends overseas, I’ve also connected with out-of-state, insightful professionals (like Michael) using this tool. For example, I’ll book a wine date via Skype to attain coaching advice or key information for business blogs and presentations. It’s been a highly successful – very fun – way to connect with others around the world.
Many people connect with others through golfing, running, attending a book club, church, or yoga. Social outlets are proven to be healthy, often improving our communication skills, providing a shared sense of purpose, or helping us seeing the world beyond ourselves. To me, participating in a team activity helps us become better leaders as we understand cohesive dynamics. Certainly, it might take time to find the right ultimate frisbee league or non-profit organization to volunteer your time; nonetheless, try to commit to something that involves a “sense of team” at least once a month as it can be such a fun, fulfilling way to keep you connected.
The best way to connect with people is to put the phone down, sit face-to-face, and talk over a good beer or coffee. These play dates are not about catching up on the latest gossip or hearing your own voice blab on and on – they are intended to recharge your bond. Professionally, these dates can also brush up social skills, gain business tips, and even land job opportunities.
This form of connection takes the most time and commitment (on both ends) to coordinate. What works for me: scheduling a date, time, and location four weeks in advance. No matter how tired you are when the big date arrives, do not cancel. People have made time to see you and respect the follow-through.
The Simple Things
We all know people who are there for life’s moments, like Jessica Stickel, a Personal Empowerment Coach for Inspired Freedom. Jessica believes that “connection is one of our six basic needs as a human being” and that connecting with people can be simple. “Send a card or flower, give a call or text. Our true nature is to love others and, when we are feeling disconnected, we are out of alignment. Ask yourself each day: Who can I connect with and how?” Michael adds: “I still write letters to family and friends as a way to keep important people in my life and to keep important in other people’s lives.”
If taking time to sit down and connect with others through writing is takes up too much time or isn’t your thing, the world has given us many simple tools and outlets to reach out, so there are no excuses. To me, the most important piece in keeping connected: calendar management, which is different from people management. And, don’t make this important interaction a chore! Have fun.
“Especially when you retire, there is a bigger need to connect,” says my Grandma Flo. “The biggest thing is that you take time to make people feel good about themselves…and, about life. Whenever someone has a birthday, when they’re feeling sad, make sure you get to them. Put a catio on their Facebook page, if that’s what makes them happy.”
We hope you enjoyed reading our blog post on “5 Fun and Simple Ways to Keep Interpersonally Connected”!
As Filament’s owner and Chief Ideas Officer, I’m passionate about helping businesses grow and thrive through internet marketing. I’m Hubspot certified. I love cooking, yoga, and my three cats: Bebe, Coach, and Coco. Contact Filament today to see how we can make your brand shine!