I recently read an article on Softpedia about loneliness in America. What it revealed was shocking.
The article noted that based on recent studies, the number of adults who are experiencing loneliness is increasing as the number of a person’s “close” confidants are decreasing. Although there were a number of factors noted in the article, in this world of social media and online connection, it almost seems impossible that loneliness is on the rise.
We are a “Connected” World
The internet and social media has virtually shrunk the world so almost every corner is a place where we can have a connection. That statistically leads to billions of connections that can be made. Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Google +, and other sites provide a forum and vehicle for us to make those connections and build “relationships”. We can go online at any time of the day and find someone online at the same time. So again, the question arises, why are we lonely?
Connection isn’t Complete
We connect with people through time spent, shared messages, self disclosure, and common interests. Online connection is a great place to start, but is not complete without some sort of further interaction. The digital interaction keeps a virtual arm’s length between us and those we are connecting with. Some of the relationships that we have online may be just fine and healthy in that forum. Additionally that may be appropriate for many of them. However, the lack of completeness of the connection keeps those relationships surface connections. It is those deeper connections that can combat loneliness.
However, if we truly think we know one of our connections by only textual and online interaction, we need to think again. The virtual arm’s length allows us to create an image of who we think they are. Without the further connection, the other person is just that… an image that we have created. By reaching out beyond the image, we have opportunity for friendship, expanded circles of friends, greater networking and completed connections.
How To Connect Beyond the Image and Complete the Connection
Reaching out beyond the image may take some stretching for us. We have become used to sitting behind a screen or handheld device, exchanging communication in short text heavy messages. We rarely use our voices, letter writing, or our faces to connect anymore. We depend on the ease of online avenues.
To Reach Out to One and connect beyond the image, we have to exercise our vocal chords and make a phone call. We have to get the pen and paper out – or at least open up an e-mail and practice the art of writing. We must not be afraid of connecting face to face through video means such as Skype or Facebook video chat, or physically face to face – of course ALWAYS being aware of personal safety! By knowing another beyond the image we can complete the connection, expand our circle of confidants, and experience wonderful and amazing things!
How do you reach out beyond the image?
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