As humans, we are a social species and staying connected to each other makes us feel significant. The first wave of the coronavirus led to the enforcement of lockdown and the resultant social isolation. Parts of the world were locked down once again as the second wave struck.
Social isolation can make people anxious about being unable to meet their family, friends and colleagues. This article is all about the importance of socialisation for humans and how it helps us create resourceful connections.
The Giver and the Getter
Connection and significance are human needs that go hand in hand. When you resourcefully connect with someone, you make them feel significant, which gets reflected back at you.
In any social interaction, you are either the giver or getter of significance. The giver creates meaningful connections which fill the bucket of both the individuals, but the getter only focuses on getting his or her bucket filled.
A giver is somebody who feels happy to have a conversation about someone else. For instance, you are a giver and start off a conversation by greeting someone and asking about their weekend. The weekend works as a connector, and you listen to the other person’s account. Most of the time, the other person will give you a brief answer and proceed to inquire about your weekend. This way, the significance gets reflected back and both person’s buckets of connection and significance get filled.
A getter is someone who will seek significance at the cost of someone else. For example, you hold the door open for someone, and they walk through without thanking you or acknowledging the gesture in any way. You would probably tell yourself that it’s alright as you simply opened the door for their benefit, which would be your way of seeking significance for yourself.
Getters generally do not take responsibility and indulge in behaviours like gossiping, complaining and putting other people down. They tend to make conversations revolve around themselves, making the other person feel insignificant.
Forming Meaningful Connections
In daily interactions, isolation occurs because of the way people seek their significance and go about forming connections. When we can recognise this, we can make our relationships more meaningful. You can figure out ways to fill both buckets of significance and form a resourceful connection and a meaningful friendship.
Due to COVID-19, people have been feeling isolated, which has had an impact on their mental health. Humans have a natural instinct to connect. When you understand the way to connect resourcefully and significantly, you can figure out a way to go about it. This can help you recognise the need of other people and enable you to become more understanding and tolerant in your actions.
If you come across someone who continuously tries to connect via something that only fills their own bucket, see if you can steer the conversation towards something that would be more mutually beneficial. For instance, you have a friend who mentions their crooked knee every time you see them. The next time you meet them, remember this condition of theirs and ask about it yourself. After they answer, they no longer have the option of bringing it up again. This way, you can fill their bucket of significance and then steer the conversation somewhere else.
This technique works with some people, but not with others. Another option is to simply quit engaging with them if it drains too much of your energy. If someone keeps using the same conversation topic repeatedly, it becomes hard work to talk to them. This leads to distance and social isolation. When you spot someone who is continuously focused on getting their own bucket filled, you can recognise this behaviour pattern and concentrate on how you can make the relationship more meaningful.
COVID-19 showed us how isolation was affecting people negatively, demonstrating the innate human need to connect. As individuals, we can raise our awareness towards the human need to socialise and enhance social interaction by becoming a giver of significance. We can bring more tolerance into the equation and divert the conversation towards topics that are mutually beneficial.
Steve Barker - I am Enough Coaching