Reconnecting With Others in the Age of Social Distancing
Summary: _We have to consciously maintain our emotional connection precisely because we’ve been forced to be physically distant.
What do I mean by emotional connection? It refers to memories, feelings, and the ideals you wish to share or experience about another human being. It is many layers deeper than physical inaction. So how do you connect and reconnect with long lost family or friends?_
Be like Kyle
Kyle was the first friend I ever remember. Kyle lived about 10 houses down for me. He had two older brothers. He was the youngest of three, and he was a couple years older than me. He was my guy. I felt safe with him. I felt comfortable with him.
I remember him back when I was four years old, and I can picture his face and his little crew cut hair. I can picture even feeling out of place in his home because he had a very different home than me. I can always smell his home. I remember everything about that place.
And I remember when I was five years old that we moved, which now seems like a joke because it was only 20 minutes away. But it seemed like forever. And when we moved, we didn’t see each other much during the year. But in the summers, he would come over, and he would sleep over. And he was really handy with doing things. And I wasn’t, of course. Still, we would put up a tent. We’d sleep in a tent in my backyard. I thought it was the coolest thing in the world.
Kyle was older and really tall, and he was smart. He was funny, and he got a kick out of me doing crazy things. So I knew I could entertain him, and he entertained me, too. And we would pop popcorn and bring all this crap into the tent. Stayed up all night, and that was just awesome. And we would go fishing and other things I never did on my own. So for years we kept together. We stayed together until maybe I was 12 years old.
Somehow, we kept it together from the age of 12 until 18 years old. I might have seen him once. But for whatever reason, the way didn’t fall out. He was three years older and I lived away. But I didn’t hear from him, and I didn’t call. I got caught up in my own world.
For my graduation in high school, I was the valedictorian, and I will never forget coming out on stage and seeing Kyle in the front row. By the way, I graduated with a class of six people, and the whole school maybe had 40 people in it. So it was a small, small school.
So with Kyle sitting in the front row, I was truly excited. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Apparently, he called my house when I wasn’t around. My parents said, Oh my God. They were freaking out. They said that I was graduating, and he said, I want to come. He showed up, and I have chills just talking about it.
He reminds me of a time that was so precious. So he gave me such a gift, especially being there for my graduation. And then again, we stayed in touch for a while. But years went by, and he moved to California. That’s why we didn’t talk. And then I moved to California some years later. But we didn’t talk through college.
So years went by, and the next thing I know, my parents call me and say Kyle will phone. Thank God they had the right telephone number at the house. So Kyle calls me. It was so good, and we went out and did some fun things together, and we went swimming in the ocean. He had a small boat, and we spent some time on that. In fact, we stayed connected.
My parents came out as well, we took the boat out again, and we got stuck in the middle of the ocean, it was unbelievable. We had to take a helicopter ride back. We were capsized. It was unreal. And we stayed connected for a while. But, again, we grew apart. We have different interests. We have different lifestyles. He’s moved around. I moved around, and some years went by.
Another decade went by, and I didn’t talk to him. And lo and behold, I get another Kyle phone call and again we stay connected for a time. It’s almost like the most special ongoing relationship in my life because we don’t talk all the time, because years can go by and we’re still connected. But what we shared when we were kids, there’s no other person on earth like that for me. Every time I see him, he reminds me that as kids we were best buddies. It’s the most awesome thing.
And the lesson is, “Be like Kyle.” Make the effort to reach out and keep your connections alive, and when you see someone that you haven’t seen in a while, be giving, rather than questioning. It’ll likely be one of the biggest gifts you can ever give to that other person. I know that’s what it was for me, with Kyle.
How to reconnect with others
Connection happens when you’re being authentic and transparent and honest. You’re also being vulnerable, and taking off your mask. So I like to lead. If there is someone you want to connect with,just hit them up on the phone, on social media, email, text, it doesn’t really matter. It matters that you reach out somehow. If it has been a while since you have talked to this person, lead with this: It’s been a while. I’m sorry. It’s my bad. I should have called. I’ve been thinking a ton about you, and I want to connect. Hey, I just was remembering the time that we did X, Y, and Z.
Someone just reached out to me that I haven’t spoken to for a while, and I actually was like, Ooh, bummer. They got me before I got to them. Because I wanted to reach out and I just didn’t, so I felt that moment of, like, I wish it was me who did the reconnecting.
But then I realized, Who cares? He reached out, and my first response back was, My life is better with you in it because that’s exactly how I felt.
And when you talk like that to other people, it’s so disarming. It’s so refreshing. It’s so inspiring that the language and the communication that is shared is something that you will want to preserve forever. It’s something you cherish because it’s so rare.
So when you’re looking to reach out to someone that you haven’t seen or talked to or even thought about – own it. Own whatever you’re feeling. I would lead with that.
Don’t lead with small talk or an emojis.
If you haven’t spoken to someone, you need to give them a virtual hug. They need to hear it in your voice and in your text, and you will get a wonderful response.
Even if you were to get rejected, you win because you reached out and you owned your feelings and shared them. And that is a practice that you can never lose by learning how to let yourself have a more intimate conversation.
So the hope is that you learn how to stay intimate and connected to those close to you in your heart, and not necessarily physically.
The Emotional Survival Kit is a FREE online training that will show you:
How to calm yourself when you are Freaking Out (or about to.)
How to talk to Children during a Crisis
How to deal with sickness and Loss.
How to be part of the Solution in a crisis.