Social connections are the relationships you have with the people around you. They may be close, like family, friends, and coworkers. Or they may be more distant, like people you know casually. They can be as close as next door or so far away that you only connect with them by phone or online.
Your network of relationships may be big or small. One or two close family members or friends may be all you need to feel supported and valued. Whether your circle is big or small, the important thing is that you are there for each other.
Why are social connections important?
Building positive relationships with people can make a difference in how resilient you are. Resilience is the ability to bounce back after stressful situations. It is strengthened when you give and receive support. Try to connect with people who have a positive outlook and make you laugh and are there to help you.
The support you get from your social connections can add to your feelings of meaning and purpose in life. These, in turn, add to your resilience. Resilient people tend to be more connected to the people around them.
Remember that giving support is just as important as getting support. You count on your social connections for support, but they also count on you. Ask others about their families, jobs, and interests, and help them when you can. Don't always focus on your challenges or talk about yourself. Know when it's time to listen or just enjoy your friends' company. Giving support to others builds the social bonds that help make you resilient.
How can you make more social connections?
There are many ways you can start building positive relationships:
- Invite a friend who makes you laugh to watch a funny movie.
- Send an encouraging email or text message to someone who's going through a hard time.
- Look for a community that shares your views or interests. It may also have its own organized social groups.
- Call a food bank or hospital, and ask about their volunteer programs.
You can also connect with people through social media online. Online forums about specific interests can be a good choice for people who can't leave their homes or who prefer a flexible schedule.