When you think back on the friends you made in school, college, and then eventually at work, was there something that drew you to them? What made you connect as friends? And especially when thinking of friends we met as children and then keep as adults, what connected you to them? And how did that connection sustain over the decades?
We have a lot of questions about connection: what drives it, how we manage it, and many others. So we wanted to see what experts have to say about connection in the hope that it will help us, and you, better understand it.
If you missed the first part of this series, check it out here and then come back to this one.
The Science Behind Connection
Often when we talk about connection, we speak about it anecdotally. But what about the science behind our desire and need to connect? This 2013 article in Scientific American gets at the heart of it all. Matthew Lieberman, the author of the book Social, talks about the power of connection in this article, based on research that is in his book.
And as Liberman says, “Across many studies of mammals, from the smallest rodents all the way to us humans, the data suggests that we are profoundly shaped by our social environment and that we suffer greatly when our social bonds are threatened or severed. When this happens in childhood it can lead to long-term health and educational problems. We may not like the fact that we are wired such that our well-being depends on our connections with others, but the facts are the facts.”
John Cacioppo, a University of Chicago social psychologist professor, has also found that connection has a distinct effect on our bodies, too. From inflammation to sleep disorders and more, even an MRI of the brain shows that social rejection registers as pain.
How To Sustain Connections
We are sharing ways to sustain and drive connections with others on our social media accounts all the time, so if you don’t follow us yet do so soon! But we also want to share some great tips on how to sustain connections with others from experts. This section from Community Tool Box is an excellent resource for learning how to build relationships, sustain them, and be a better neighbor, coworker, and community member.
The tool box walks you through when to build connections, how to think about them, how to build them (with an 11 step process!), and then most importantly, how to sustain them. So embrace your inner need for connection and reach out to those around you.