November 10, 2017

Are You Still Connected Offline?

There has been lots of speculation lately about people in their late teens and early twenties struggling to retain real world friendships. It’s easier at school and college because you’re always around other students. That means there is a whole pool of people with the same interests and at that same point in life with you all day. But as soon as you walk out the gates for the last time, life changes. Are you still connected?

Lots of young people are taking gig jobs meaning they don’t work in an office with colleagues. Instead, they are alone, usually at home, completing work through unsociable hours. Most of us connect with friends and family online. But in reality, we’re merely reading their posts, and those are just a few words long highlighting the best bits of an event. They’re not really a live, two-way conversation that offers an ear to both sides. A bit of that connection is inevitably lost.

So how can you stay connected in the real world? And do you really want to?
Losing a friend used to be heartbreaking. You would have to say goodbye, give them a hug, and watch them drive away for the last time. On social media, you won’t even notice you’ve lost a friend. And if the numbers do seem a little lower, chances are you never the knew the friend you’re not missing!

A lack of real friends might mean a lack of counsel, though. Who do you turn to when you’re facing a dilemma? Who is giving you advice? Chances are you’re asking a forum of strangers online at a specialist website. Or you might be reading your way through this 16 Best Self Help Books To Read [2017 Experts Pick] list. We all tend to look for the answers online or in books these days. Search engine results will steer us toward the most read pages that match the term we entered. Perhaps a real-world answer is simply not detailed or informed enough?

What is your preferred method of contacting real friends? Is it a text message or email? Maybe it’s a nudge from an app? Few of us make phone calls or knock on their front door as the first point of contact. Does this hinder the relationship?

If you want to reconnect with friends and family, you might have to disconnect for a while. Many of us spend many hours looking at the screen of a phone or tablet. Real world connections require eye contact and verbal communication! So put down the device and engage. You wouldn’t experience traveling by just staring at Pinterest posts.

It’s not always easy. After all, you need to keep an eye on your messages, your updates, and the latest chatter on social media trending topics. But if you commit to a twenty-minute coffee and a chat, then switch it all off for that time.

We’re all pretty used to using the internet to solve problems, and self-help books to give us guidance and motivation in life. This might mean that some people struggle to actually talk about their problems with someone who is in the room and listening. Not all of us are comfortable talking about personal issues. Would you be willing to open up, or does the anonymity of a handle online help loosen your tongue more?

Why Get Those Real Life Relationship Skills Back?
It’s important not to find yourself isolated by a life lived online. Real-world relationships are essential in all parts of our lives. You might have a job or a business where you need to sell in person. Perhaps you need to refine those people skills or presentation skills to earn money now? How are you tackling this? YouTube videos only show you how others do it. You need to practice this yourself!

If you’re hoping for a long-term relationship with someone one day, you also need to get in the habit of spending long periods of time with another person. It might start with small talk, but you need to get used to feeling connected to people in the real world to stand a chance of bonding. That feeling of isolation can soon make you feel uncomfortable. It can lead to shyness and feeling disconnected from the social graces that build real-world relationships.

It’s so easy to discover that most of your relationships are maintained digitally rather than in person in the real world. It doesn’t spell disaster though. After all, our lives are moving online in every way. Of course, you can look for advice on blogs and in self-help books. What do you do to stay connected with your real-world relationships?

*This is a collaborative/contributed/partnered, compensated post. The copy, content, images & opinions are not my own.

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