Social connections are the relationships you have with the people around you. These connections may be strong like the relationship you have with a best friend. They can also be distant like the relationship you have with an acquaintance.
People who are socially connected feel more content, fulfilled and supported. People who are not socially connected can be more prone to physical illness, loneliness and depression. Social connection is more than just having a lot of friends. The quality of relationships and the function they serve are also important. Having one or two good friends is often enough to provide a strong social connection.
Whether you are an introvert or extrovert, social connection is good for your physical and mental health.... CALL TO ACTION...
Make quick connections
Short moments of personal connection are important. Make eye contact with people you meet in the hospital elevator. Say "hello" to a stranger at the bus stop, or chat with the cashier at the cafeteria.
Join a group
Join an exercise class, a book club or volunteer for a committee at work. Doing activities that you enjoy will connect you with other like-minded people and improve your social connections.
Cultivate friendships through disclosure
Best friends often feel comfortable talking openly with each other about personal things. This is called "disclosure". Disclosure is an important part of close relationships. Strong social connections are often formed when talking about struggles, successes and everything in-between. Disclosure between close friends needs to be mutual. Telling your deepest secrets to a casual friend often does not work well. If you find that you are always the one disclosing, you may want to encourage your friend to open up and disclose more.
Develop close friendships
Making close friends takes time and a bit of luck. Shared experiences help to build close friendships. Work, leisure or family experiences can also bring you closer together with others. Shared values are helpful, but not essential. Close friends are people you know and trust. You will be there for them, and they will be there for you.