It’s crazy just how desensitized we are all becoming. Everything from thinking that it is perfectly natural to start conversations with an unknown stranger online talking about sex, to thinking that it is perfectly natural just to ghost someone you were talking to or even started dating. We are so distracted that there is an information overload and overall craving for connection with others, which seems to be escaping us.
Research has been outlining that we have gone anti-depth. On the other hand, were we ever into depth, in the first place? This becomes a cultural and location-based question. In places where your neighbors already know all your dirty laundry, it does become easier to be open with others.
On the flip side, in places where you basically never see your neighbor for years, much less ever talk to them, you live in isolation, so going deep with others is far more uncomfortable. Certain cultures encourage open and honest conversations, including those about your emotions, even if you’re a male. Others perceive conversations about emotions as a sign of weakness, leaving many individuals to literally have no-one to talk to about their internal world.
Exposing yourself to another person so that they really get to know you also opens you up to the possibility of being hurt, potentially quite severely. And a lot of people are assholes. However, if we don’t get to the point of having others really know us and really know them, we will continue becoming lonelier and lonelier. So, where do we even start? Well, first, we need to start interacting with each other. And during those interactions, we need to find ways to connect deeply.
To help you get started, in 2015, Psychology Today published the following suggestions to help people cultivate helpful conversations, health, and friendships.
- Notice it when things do not feel quite right while you are ensconced in your device. Self-sensitivity preserves your health and increases your ability to understand others. Many people deny or dismiss inner feeling states, but they are a great source of information.
- Make a plan to participate in the real world and meet a friend, take a walk, use your hands to make something, or sit on a bench and daydream or dialogue with yourself or with another.
- Establish a moderate use pattern for devices, as Turkle recommends. Make a clear, consistent plan so that your mind and body integrate it. Have conversations without devices in view.
- Find a way to form deeper friendships. Start casual, take small steps, tolerate strange situations and strangers, and let it evolve when something clicks.
- Trade self-consciousness for interest in the other person. Be in a conversation rather than putting on a performance. This is a version of emotional altruism, and altruism is an unhealthy defense.
- Figure out when your needs are best met by technology and when nothing will replace human interaction. Look for this answer inside by what sinks or elevates your emotional state.
- Develop empathy by listening, observing, learning, and asking questions. Be curious. Delve into an endeavor that has personal meaning and draws you in. These are both ways of getting deeper.
- Know that there is something ubiquitous, primal, and timeless about the need for a true friend and that deep friendship heals. Science says so.