Written By: Andrea Cornell

Thanks to social media and technology, we are more connected to one another digitally than we have ever been before. However, along with an increase in technological connection, there has been a major decrease in face-to-face time.

Texting and emailing has become such a primary form of communication, that many of us are losing the skills required to connect in person. We talk through text and rarely through phone, often choosing to not answer calls and just reach out digitally because “it’s easier.”

In his book, “The Neuroscience of Human Relationships,” by Louis Cozolino, he discuses how humans are tribal mammals and that our brains are wired to be part of a community. The increase in social isolation can have a negative impact on self-esteem, self-worth, and may increase depression and anxiety.

The decline in irl (in real life) connection can also contribute to social anxiety and fears surrounding connection with others. However, like public speaking, ice breaker conversations and learning to make new friends is a skill that can be honed with a little bit of practice and walking through some of the uncomfortable feelings, self-consciousness, and awkwardness that may arise.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by how to begin or where to find people to connect with in your area, here are a few ideas:

  • Bonding over a shared hobby is a great way to meet peers with similar interests as you. Check out coursehorse.com to find a local class of interest in anything from cooking, painting, pottery, dance lessons, or woodworking, just to name a few.
  • Sites like meetup.com or Bumble BFF also offer the opportunity to find locals in your area that share common interests or are looking to connect with others. REI, and other local business may also offer weekend groups or workshops that can act as a great place to meet others in your area.
  • If you’re somewhere that you feel comfortable striking up a conversation, maybe at your local coffee shop or corner store, try an ice breaker by mentioning something you both have in common at that moment or even just a simple “hello.” Even an old-fashioned “how’s your day going?” can be a great way to connect with another.

When it comes to decreasing isolation and boosting your mood, sometimes, a little human connection can go along way.