5 Ways to Connect More with the Important People in Your LifeBy Cheryl Rickman
“Of all the things that wisdom provides to help one live one’s entire life in happiness, the greatest so far is friendship.”
–Epicurus, ancient Greek philosopher
Today, with social media becoming all-consuming, we are more connected than we have ever been, in a virtual sense; but in reality, studies have revealed that many people still feel alone. All the more reason to make an effort to increase real-world connections. As well as forging strong bonds with those we are especially fond of, it’s important to build “bridging connections” to unite different groups within a community.
Doing so demonstrates a commitment to the notion that we’re all in this together, and that the common good is important for a good life.
1. Build Social Capital
Consider ways in which you might bring people from different backgrounds together through a shared interest, to build what Harvard professor Robert Putnam calls the “social capital” of a community, facilitate trust, and impact positively on the well-being of the whole community. For example, you could:
• Eat together around a campfire, BBQ or candle-lit table. Fire and food create that “hygge” feeling of cozy warmth and togetherness.
• Plant a community vegetable garden.
• Create a directory for your street, listing names, occupations, and resources that can be borrowed.
• Make a “street library” cupboard or fill an old phone-box with books, so that residents can donate and borrow books. Just make sure it’s waterproof!
2. Consider How You Make Others Feel
Notice the good in others. Focus on what’s right with people, rather than what’s wrong. The “Losada ratio”, named after Chilean psychologist Marcel Losada, states that in order to flourish you need to give/receive five positive statements for every critical statement. With that in mind, practice focusing on what your partner/family members/friends have done right, rather than on