People pass each other every day without connecting. I used to routinely seek out new connections both in business and on the personal side. The business ones represented new opportunities. The personal ones were equally rewarding. They were chances to learn about people and ideas. It was like catching small sound bites of their worlds and experiences. They made me feel more human and open to new things.
Well before the pandemic, I found myself losing this art of making connections with new people. The smartphone, pace of life, and divisions in the country led me to be less welling to start the casual conversation. This only increased with the pandemic. While I didn’t pull up the covers in bleak depression, I did feel more isolated.
Talking with friends, I have learned that I am not alone in this feeling. In fact, a recent study found that people now prefer a machine instead of interacting with people. Good if we are in a hurry and we are all in a hurry it seems. However, talking with people yields surprises and insights we don’t get from an automatic ATM or Checkout.
Tired of the pandemic blahs, I have redoubled my effort to make new connections with people. Not everyone works out, the ones that do make the blahs go away.
There are some great books and articles on this subject. Two of those are “The Power of Strangers” by Joe Keohane and “6 Steps to Turn Strangers into Connections” by Stephanie Vozza appearing in Fast Company. Both good reads in a lonely world.