"Connection" is not my strongest trait. I'm a loner by nature, completely content being by myself most all of the time. A "need" for connection just doesn't reside within me. My head is so full of chatter and ideas and to-do lists, that there's hardly room for me to think about making time to connect with other human beings. I think my lack of "need" for constant connection to others has been detrimental to me, wait, I know it has been detrimental to me. I know people have felt like I'm a bad friend, a bad family member, and maybe even just a bad or cold person in general. But that is absolutely not the case.
I feel a lot of anxiety leading up to "connecting." Because, to be honest, I am just a very anxious person, and also because I'm just not used to doing it. But, there has never been a time that I have regretted making a new connection or reconnecting with another person. I value the connections I do have and I especially value the people that understand the way I connect, because it is unconventional, and here's why:
To me, if I've connected with you at one time (it can literally take ONE time) as a friend, as family, as a professional contact, and you have shown me respect, love, compassion, loyalty, or helped me grow (from a bad or good encounter) - I'll stay connected to you. I'll think of you fondly and be there for you in a heartbeat if needed. I don't need to talk to you every day. I don't need to email you every week. I don't need to see you but once every year. But I'm connected to you. I don't outwardly show how important my connections are on a "frequent enough" basis (whatever that is), but, when I am connecting - I'm there. I'm present. I'm listening. I'm taking mental notes. I know what you hate, and what you love, and what's important to you. And I'll be there for you. I think people would be surprised how readily available I would be to lend a hug, helping hand, or sympathetic ear - even if I met you only once.
As I said, the way I connect is unconventional, but at the same time, it is uniquely me. Because I have limited connections, those connections literally mean everything to me. I don't always "show it" or "show up," but that doesn't mean my heart is in the wrong place. It's probably just because 1) my anxiety is kicking ass and taking names (this is honestly probably what it is); or 2) I need to "shell up" and take some time for myself, because social interactions take A LOT out of me, and my job is one humongous, 40 hour per week social interaction.
Why this topic for the blog? Because I "connected" today. I had a wonderful "coffee talk" with a friend, a creative brainstorming session with a friend and colleague, and my sweet friend came to grab me for lunch at work. Three connections in one day is big for me, but so worth every ounce of time spent with the people I care about.
I'll leave you with something to consider. Think about the connections you have in your life. The way you connect, the way others connect with you. Be mindful as you do this. Connecting means many different things to different people, expectations are different, experiences are different. But no matter what, we all need each other in some capacity or another. Treat your connections with gentle kindness. Just because they may not "fit the mold" regarding what you think they should be doing to stay connected with you - don't write them off. They still need you. Maybe just in a different way. Try to find out what that is.