Social Media keeps us connected like never before but it’s not everything. Break out of the virtual socializing and bring your relationships offline.
As animals, we’re not evolving as quickly as our tech tools are. Over thousands of years, we have developed to require strong social connections. No matter how connected we may feel online, we still need human contact in the 3-dimensional realm. When you only experience your relationships on the internet, you’re not accessing all the restorative facets of a friendship. Just being together, quietly, goes further than tags on Instagram and Facebook comments.
It’s fascinating how rapidly social media has shifted the way we interact with each other. It’s a powerful tool that keeps us linked to acquaintances, friends, and family. It helps us find our similarities and our differences from a distance. It gives us the feeling of staying up to date but the reality is, and we all know this already, it’s not the real deal.
Loneliness is an epidemic and has grown alongside the expansion of social media. Our spirit and well-being depends greatly on feeling connected to others and part of a community. These online tools have hooked themselves into our hearts making us feel more connected and validated (or insecure and self-conscious) than ever before. But even if you’re super social online, you may find yourself lonely and without solid bonds.
Being totally outside of social media can also contribute to feeling lonely. I think of my friends who shut down their Facebooks who rarely hear of friends getting together because they’ve been organized online. To stay in the loop, they either need a separate touch letting them know what’s going on or they get the highlights from their partners who are still online.
This modern digital life requires a fine balance between the ways we socialize and build bonds with others. Here are some ways to use social media prompts to break out of the virtual socializing and bring your relationships offline.
Big Life Changes
Social media is the perfect place to announce big news. We get to put our accomplishments on blast and feel the validation of “likes”, “wows”, and encouraging comments. When something upsetting happens, it can feel good to share about it to get a pouring of support and advice.
Engage with their post but also reach out and find out what’s really going on. So often, what we share is just a tiny slice of the real story. And when it’s your news, reach out to those you care about. Big life events are better shared with others. Bring them in on the excitement by letting them know directly.
Birthdays on Facebook are the best. A huge wave of comments hit your wall making you feel like the most special person in the world. People you totally forgot about emerge from the depts with a simple “Happy Birthday!” It’s totally validating but it’s almost too much. The sincerity can feel lost.
For those you hold dearest to your heart, make sure you reach out another way. Write a letter, give them a call, or better yet, take them out for a treat. It feels so good to shower someone with recognition. And if busy lives mean you can’t meet up for a few weeks, that just means you’ve extended the celebration for someone you love so that’s not so bad.
Every event lands on Facebook now. Even wedding invites come with a Facebook event so communication is centralized. Your feed is probably filled with notices of someone’s RSVP or interest in a gathering. Take those as easy ways to get face-to-face.
Scheduling a time to get together can be a challenge when everyone is so dang busy all the time. If you and a friend show online interest, use it as an excuse to meet up. Take the prompt and act on it. It’s not so much about attending the event as it is about getting together and just logging time.
Chatting online is a step above commenting on posts but a few steps below logging that face time. If you find yourselves typing out your conversations, take it as a sign you’re meant to meet up. You’ll be able to cover more ground and have way more fun than you would tapping on your keyboard.
It’s true that social media helps us stay connected but genuine closeness comes from digging deeper and finding out what else is going on, not just the highlights. It takes logging time, asking questions, holding space to let them share, and giving them the truth about what’s going on in your world. When you bring your relationships further into the 3-dimensional world, you’re bound to notice a deeper sense of belonging.