Expert Advice: Communication for Meaningful Connection
We are certainly living through historical and life-changing times. The effects of the last few months will be felt long and deep into the psyche of who we are as humans, and within our cultures long after the initial threat of the virus has passed.
Self-isolation has brought a time of reflection. I have noticed within my network of clients, that even the most introverted among us are still seeking to reach out and connect to friends, families, and co-workers in ways that have not felt necessary before.
What initially seemed like an opportunity to develop a healthier work-life balance, from remote/at home working and video calls, has also allowed us to understand the importance of our interpersonal dynamics with those around us.
During this time, we have been prohibited from the most basic forms of human contact and connection. For many of us, we enjoyed the opportunity during the first few weeks to maintain contact by telephone calls, long messages, group and family video conferences and the drive and energy to maintain connections was at its highest.
Over the last few weeks, we are noticing that people feel fatigued by the intensity of video calling. Video meetings are emotionally and physically draining.
Homes are turned into everyday offices with furniture not suited for long hours of work. The time to decompress between meetings or after-work activities like fikas, commuting to and from work or even a quick chat with a colleague has been taken away.
This prevents our minds from going “off-the-clock.” Humans are social creatures and to have human connections it is important to us as individuals and society. At times like this, it is especially important to maintain social support for our own mental and emotional wellbeing.
Many people around us, in our private and professional circles, will be going through and experiencing the same things as us, hence the importance of offering ourselves space to talk about how we are feeling and to provide support to each other throughout this time.
Our friends, colleagues, and families can be a source of great emotional energy and provide strength and support so it’s important to look to those around us and reach out. Remember that we are not facing this alone.
Without these emotional support blocks in place, and as this period of self-isolating and lockdown continues, it can be hard to maintain these connections over periods of time. However, they become more essential to us the longer this progresses.
Trying to keep things exciting and new can be challenging. Opportunities for connections can be anything from family or work quiz night, online dating with meals, playing online games together, or watching movies and series can produce a shared sense of unity and give additional things to talk about.
These times will be a test for any relationship, especially if people are separated by borders or forced under one roof with no freedom. Keep in mind that communication is more important now than ever before, and is likely the only tool we have right now. It’s not the time to hide behind nuances. It is time for being honest with ourselves and each other.