So much of today’s rhetoric about community building has to do with creating spaces where people can gather. But the truth is that each of us has just such a space right in our own kitchen, living room, or back porch. We just have to find the courage and resolve to invite people in.
One of the biggest challenges in hosting people in your home is finding ways to keep the conversation engaging. This month I’m exploring different conversation tools to help my guests move past small talk and experience a deeper sense of connection as they gather.
According to sociologists, one of the clearest trends in Americans’ socializing habits over the past few decades has been a marked decline in the frequency with which we entertain in our homes. Could the fact that our attempts to connect happen largely outside our homes—separate from the epicenter of our lives—be a driver of our widespread loneliness? In March, I’ll try to find out.
This month I took some time to really explore and experience what deep, close connection can and will feel like. Here are some lessons learned.
A phone number committed to memory. Knowing exactly how many stairs there were up to her bedroom. The smell of Spaghetti-O’s cooking in the microwave on a summer afternoon. To this day, a childhood relationship is how I measure a friendship. What does friendship mean to you?
We all have a superficial narrative about ourselves that we get in the habit of presenting to others. But what if I created a two-minute story aimed at maximum authenticity? What if I armed myself with a new narrative that could help turn a common introduction into a moment of self-revelation?
In our darkest hours, what each of us wants more than anything is to feel connected.
There’s a certain cool control to a person who never seems to need anything from anyone. We often think we admire this quality in others, but find ourselves hurt and frustrated when it forces us into the uncomfortable position of always being the one on the receiving end of help.
My challenge for February will be moving from connection to closeness. I’ll be exploring all kinds of different strategies, methods, and tools for creating more intimacy and depth in my relationships. But the most important path to intimacy is, of course, vulnerability.
Healing without sharing has been lonely. A good kind of lonely, maybe—the kind usually described with lovely-sounding words like “solitude” or “seclusion.” But lately it’s started to feel like my period of spiritual confinement might be coming to an end.