Updated: Sep 6
Valentine's Day, the day for celebrating romantic love and admiration, is, for many, a stark reminder of the lack of human connection in their lives. I don't necessarily mean romantic love either. We are social animals, after all, and I believe we all want to bond with another being or belong to a group of like-minded people (okay, some hardcore introverts would disagree). These are generally natural cravings. We are born with a built-in yearning to be around or interact with other people. This is what helped us to survive as a species. I believe this social desire has been exacerbated by the pandemic, however, quite a few people are looking for some type of connection these days.
For those who are experiencing social isolation and disconnection during the pandemic, and would like to remedy that, there are many ways to connect. Here are some resources you might want to explore.
For those seeking general friendships, check out interest-based online groups and friendship apps such as: RealU or Friender, or programs such as Kinnd's Friendship Finder.
For those working remotely, Together Mode by Microsoft creates an immersive, virtual experience so instead of the typical grid for group video calls, Microsoft Teams uses AI mapping to create an avatar of you by cutting out your face and shoulders so everyone can be in the same 'room.' Gather is similar as it creates Legend (the 80s video game) style avatars for remote work (office/conference) but also for school and social gatherings.
For those looking for love, there are many online platforms such as eHarmony, Bumble and Coffee Meets Bagel. I emphasize online resources due to the pandemic, however, please stay safe when taking anything offline.
In terms of networking, you can build connections through LinkedIn, Shapr or Invitly to name a few. You can also network on other social media platforms (other than LinkedIn) such as Facebook groups and events.
You can also connect through volunteer work or some type of contribution, such as signing up to be a mentor (e.g., Big Brothers and Sisters of Canada), pitching in at a local Food Bank or becoming a pen pal with the elderly in long-term care facilities.
There are a lot of other options out there for connecting. Spend some time exploring some of these categories or areas that interest you. Building a connection doesn't have to be social either. You can also feel connected through personal experiences such as yoga, meditation, being in nature, listening to music, or your beliefs e.g., spiritual, etc.
Building social or personal connections are ways to renew and develop. It's a part of "sharpening the saw" as described by Dr. Stephen R. Covey in his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. He describes social/emotional connection as one of the four categories for self-renewal and development (the others are physical, mental and spiritual). According to Covey, we shouldn't be too busy sawing to take time to sharpen the saw. In other words, we can use this time of social isolation, to connect and strengthen our social circles in new ways that will carry on after the pandemic.
So, if you are experiencing pandemic fatigue or missing some sort of connection, use this time to "sharpen your saw.” Try out some of these suggestions, you may be pleasantly surprised to feel connected, renewed and replenished.
Ps. If you are still struggling with relationship/connection building and need some guidance, contact me for a Get Acquainted Call to see if I can help.