Many people feel disconnected. Disconnected from their friends, disconnected in their marriages and disconnected in life. There are several reasons why people are so disconnected.
1. They’re rushing through life. Many people are constantly on the go, running from one thing to another to another. They’re over-scheduled and over-loaded. As a result—there’s very little left for connecting. Start making time for friendships. Schedule date nights with your significant other. Plan a family fun night. Stop rushing through the best aspects of life and instead slow down and make them a priority.
2. They struggle with being honest. Too many people—women, especially — try to be “nice” rather than honest. In order to do that, they have to tell white lies all the time. There are few things more disconnecting than lies—no matter how small. Honesty—spoken in a compassionate way—is one of the greatest intimacy builders in any relationship—friendships, romantic relationships and even work relationships. Stop telling others what you think they want to hear and instead share your truth.
3. They’re not “present”—even when they’re present. We are in over our heads with technology and find it extremely difficult to be in a conversation with anyone without checking our phones, multi-tasking or fretting about what we may be missing. The result is that few people are ever truly present anywhere. Watching a movie with your children while also scrolling on your phone–is not watching a movie. Having dinner with your family and checking your phone—is not being present with your family. Having a conversation with a friend/ spouse/child and checking your phone–is not “having” a conversation. Stop the multi-tasking and BE PRESENT. Give your undivided attention to those with whom you want to be closer and notice the difference—for you and for them.
4. They’re “busy-aholics.” Far too many people cannot simply relax. They HAVE to be doing something—whether it’s doing chores, mowing the lawn, exercising, biking or some other “active” activity, people struggle with having a little down time. Stop the running and start learning to chill. It’s hard to connect with someone if you can’t sit still enough to actually connect.
5. They don’t share themselves. Intimacy means, “Into me you see.” Too often people keep conversations on a surface level. They end up talking about what they’re doing, what errands they have to do, who has to pick up the kids and when, etc., etc. The things that don’t get shared nearly enough are our hopes, dreams, fears and feelings. It’s difficult to get close to someone who seldom talks about what’s truly going on for him/her. If you want to get connected to people—then connect! Share the deeper stuff and stop simply reporting on the minutiae of life.
Connection is all about bringing your authentic self to the relationship. It requires an honesty and vulnerability that few people are willing to put out there. However, keeping yourself protected, invulnerable and on the surface level of things, also keeps you disconnected, lonely and unhappy. When people are unhappy and feeling disconnected, they’re more apt to look for something outside their relationships to fulfill them (e.g., affairs, alcohol, excitement). These “fillers” only last for so long before the same emptiness and lack of connection consumes people. If you’re feeling lonely and disconnected, start looking at what you’re doing to maintain the distance in your life…then STEP IN differently.
Challenge: Pay attention to all the ways you block intimacy. Choose one particular behavior to tackle and come up with a plan on how to change it. Notice what happens as a result.