For close to a year now, I’ve heard over and over again, “I miss being with people.”
Everyone is feeling it. The ramifications of a challenging year have worn us all down and we miss the most simple things, like…
The background noise in a coffee shop
I also hear, “I can’t wait until…”
We can have events again
To be in a room with
To not get anxiety at the grocery store
Or “It’s so weird to…”
Think about when we used to leave our houses without covering our face
See a crowded bar in a TV show
Remember how I used to go to the gym every day
The common thread? Connection. What we miss most is truly, easily, deeply, without hesitation…connecting with people.
As individuals we crave connection. We want to be part of a community that sees us, that holds space for us, and celebrates us. And I don’t need to tell you that 2020 made connection incredibly difficult. Now, as we begin to regain our footing, we have an opportunity to change how we approach connection and take responsibility for creating it for ourselves — and doing so in new and unique ways.
Which is why we’re diving into how to find connection and community, ways to embody connection and community when most, if not all, our interactions are technology-led.
How to Find Connection and Community
Always, and especially in a socially distanced and digital world, we have to put ourselves in a position to connect — it’s easy to retreat to the comfort of our routines, our work-from-home lifestyle, and behind our screens. Yet, let’s remember that we’re all craving the same thing right now — to be with others. Can you make the first move to initiate connection with people? How can you be generous with your attention, time, energy or logistics to arrange an opportunity to connect with those you love? You’re not going to find or build connections overnight. It takes consistency, authenticity, and generosity. It takes diligent intention.
Grow and learn
While we may not be able to connect socially in the same ways, we can still connect with people around our shared goals and values. What are you working on this year? A new hobby or interest? Personal development? Your mindfulness practice? Whatever it is, find people who have similar goals and support each other. Or, attend a digital workshop to learn more about something you’re interested in.
Use your voice
This year brought important issues to the surface, and with them, an opportunity to connect with those who can shed light on what we need to learn and do differently — and those who can be in the learning process alongside us. Don’t be afraid to speak out and use your voice. Knowing what you stand for and sharing it is a great way to make your own community more inclusive, connect with those leading powerful conversations, and meet people you otherwise might not have. Join conversations. Ask questions.
Honor the shared human experience
Last year (and let’s be honest, this year too) has been hard for everyone — can you use that as a way to relate to others? Sometimes what we need to feel connected is a conversation that reminds us we’re not alone. Bring all your vulnerabilities, your mess, and your truth to the table — it’s very likely someone else is experiencing the same thing. If you can bring forward your experience in a way that allows others to feel sage to express that they feel the same way, you both get to feel seen.
How can you build others up? What are people in your network struggling with right now, and how might you be able to help them? By creating mutually beneficial relationships you’ll foster a network of support for yourself and others that will only continue to serve your community over time.
Ways to Embody Connection and Community Online
We’re living in a digital world — and we don’t think that’s changing anytime soon (we may never go back!). This year we’ve witnessed many people learn how to connect online. Here are some of our tried and true ways that have helped us build a connected community online.
- Leave impactful comments on posts and profiles you like — people you genuinely want to talk to and start a relationship with. Asking a question is a great way to start a conversation, and you never know what it’ll lead to later.
- DM or email someone a sincere note — we all love compliments and acknowledgements behind a notification!
- Use voice memo instead of text to convey your tone, authenticity, and personality — this is an easy way for us all to remember there are real humans behind our screens.
- Attend an online coffee date to make new connections outside of your bubble.
- Take a class in a small group setting. There are plenty of small-group classes or coaching sessions available that align with your interests and allow you to connect with like-minded people via video call or instant messaging apps.
- Ask a peer to connect you with someone — an expert in something you want to learn about, a resource for a project you’re taking on, or just something they think you would jive with.
- Schedule virtual meet-ups with a group of friends or like-minded individuals at regular intervals.
In all of these actions, hold the spirit of community. Community isn’t something that exists — it’s something that’s generated. In addition to making a concerted effort to make new connections, can you also embody what it feels like to connect with people? Can you infuse moments of connection in everything you do?
Come from the idea that we’re all connected. We all have the same challenges and goals. When you can do that, you can break the feelings of isolation, depletion, and solitude.
Ready to join a community of impact-driven women, just like you? Join us in The Curate Community — an annual membership for entrepreneurs to help you learn about entrepreneurship strategies, make new connections, engage in meaningful conversations, collaborate often, and grow your community. Whether you’re looking for help from people who are in it too, your next client, or you’re interested in collaborating with other entrepreneurs, our membership will help you be ready for all entrepreneurship has to offer.