Humans are social creatures. We need communities to grow, to thrive and to stay healthy. Even the most introverted people need others from time to time.
The key is to connect with people in a healthy way. Here are some things to keep in mind when making connections and getting support.
Think of your social needs
Ponder these questions for yourself:
- How much time do you prefer to spend with others? How much time do you need to yourself?
- When you spend time with others, who are the people who give you energy? Who are the people who drain your energy and why?
- Do you prefer to connect with people in person? Via video chats or on the phone? Are text messages enough for you? Do you like a combo of all of the above?
- What kinds of interactions feel best to you? Do you need some light and easy chitchat? Do you prefer deeper conversations? Or do you just want to be near another person even if you’re not talking?
- What kind of boundaries do you need?
- What kind of interactions make you feel better? And which ones make you feel worse?
- Are there people in your life who help you grow? Are there people in your life you think might be holding you back?
Think of how to get those needs met
Once you’ve thought about what your needs are, consider how to make them work for you.
Find the right fit
- Make a list of the people in your life who fill you with energy or help you grow
- Think of the things that make those people so great for you—their vibe, the things they say and do, their reliability and loyalty, etc.
Seek out quality
- Focus on the type of interaction that works best for you (in person vs. virtual, short and sweet vs. long quality time, fun vs. serious, etc.)
- Make it clear to people what kind of connection you’re looking for
- After you spend time together, thank them for it!
Strike a balance
- Schedule time with friends or family in your calendar
- Don’t forget to also schedule some alone time
- Pinpoint your boundaries, like when you can host guests and when you can’t, when you’re available and when you’re not, what topics you’re open to talking about, etc.
Reach out and talk about it
After you have some ideas in mind for how you want to connect, create a plan for yourself. Communication is key, so reach out to people and let them know what you want—and what you don’t.
Here are some ideas to connect with others:
- Start a lunch group
- Schedule virtual coffee chats with coworkers online
- Create a walking group
- Look for Employee Resource Groups to connect with others around social events and causes
- Give praise freely and often! Tell your colleagues what they do that inspires you or makes you grateful
- Sit down with your family to eat dinner and catch up
- Plan a family trip to get some quality time
- Schedule a recurring date night with your partner
- Have a screen-free night in the house to do something creative together
- Tell your kids and/or partner what it is about them that makes you proud of them
- Cook a healthy meal together as a family
With other loved ones
- Schedule a weekly or monthly phone date with a friend or family member to keep in touch
- Find a workout buddy to enjoy time together while getting some physical activity
- Tell a good friend why you value their friendship—it can mean a lot!
There’s no right or wrong way to find a social balance. As long as you’re showing respect to yourself and others, it’s all open! Enjoy connecting with people and getting the support you need.
And if you’re looking for support specific to your health goals, reach out to one of our coaches. We’re here to help you make a plan and take your health into your own hands.