the need to connect


I’m somewhat obsessed with my personal wellness, always testing strategies that impact my mind and body. This usually pertains to work, diet, fitness, and sleep.

Today, I’m adding a new area of focus. Building relationships. Being social. Connecting. 

A few anecdotal observations and thoughts on this topic includes babies, mobile phones, and meeting in - person. As random as these topics may read, they share one underlying premise, our need to connect with another being. 

The Baby Social
This curiosity for human interaction began when I repeatedly watched two babies crawl towards each other on the floor. Outside of being near each other, they had no other forms of meaningful communication. This closeness appeared to be enough. Their parents never taught them to crawl to each other. They openly expressed through actions, that’s what they wanted to do. This confirms my belief that being social is deeply rooted in human nature.  

The Mobile Social
I’m lumping everyone with a cell phone into the same category. From Gen Z to Baby boomers, I see mobile usage very similar across generations. For example, my parents don’t send Snaps, but they do sit on the exact same couch, in the exact same room, each staring at their phones, connecting with others not in the room.  

Phones are forever changing how we connect and their popularity helps prove this necessity to do so. It’s easy to argue against the quality of the social interaction, but the reality is these mobile devices are allowing us to socialize with others in new ways. Texts, emojis, snaps, tweets, likes, Facetime, phone calls.. all forms of humans being humans. Connecting. Being social.

Another observation from The Mobile Social pertains to utilizing the phone as a “Connected Crutch.” I’ve even caught myself reaching in my pocket for my phone when not successfully finding another human to converse with at the party. The alternative – not being connected – was more than I could bear, especially in public. 

Good, bad, or otherwise, The Mobile Social diversifies our communications and increases the efficiencies and scale at which we can connect with others. It may also serve as a barrier to the richest and most valuable social of all time.

The In-Person Social
Not much different than where it all began as babies, the ultimate form of connecting with another human is the In-Person Social. From babies to grandpas, the verbal and nonverbal communication that exists when two humans are together cannot be matched. Regardless of how the relationship started or evolved, it becomes richer In- Person. I’d even argue a positive "in-person" conversation with a total stranger will brighten one’s day on both sides of the equation.  

As such, the In-Person Social is my preferred means of communication to accelerate a potential bond or strengthen a relationship.

I realized today I've taken our need to connect for granted. That's going to change. I'm going to strategically plan to socialize and connect with others. I'll also strive to strengthen existing relationships through more meaningful communications. 

Being social is critical to our overall health and should be prioritized just as we prioritize other aspects of our wellbeing: work, diet, fitness, sleep, & connect.

Don’t believe me? Here’s a study to prove it.

Having weak social relationships poses a greater mortality risk than physical inactivity or obesity.
— Shankar Vedantam


This constitutes my third post for the WESTERN WRITERS LEAGUE.  Please also read the works of my colleagues on the following sites: