So we didn’t turn out to be the Jetsons. We’re still waiting for our flying ubers. But we do have bubbles of technology where we can hide in and shut out the physical world only to find it again on the other end of our internet connection in a quasi-physical form. This is a reality we choose because...well there are many reasons why...but the bottom line is it’s because we can control the type and duration of the connections we make. If we don’t want to talk to someone, we can ignore the chat head. If we have what we need from someone, we make up an excuse about having to ‘run’ - no one can actually see what we’re doing. And most importantly, if we can’t date, make friends, be funny, be creative, feel fulfilled, or live with the fear of missing out, we can get all that online - in a quasi-physical form. But I should probably say it now, before I lose you, that I do not hate technology and none of this is a bad thing.
We can show our best moments and hide the sad times, we can protest in movements and yet hide behind a profile, we can like things without having to commit, and we can date without leaving our couch. We can do so much more than before and for each and every one of us, we can experience the world in more ways than we thought imaginable. We make more ‘connections’ today than we ever did before. However, it does not leave out the question: Is human connection actually dead?
I have a theory: the more we immerse ourselves in technology and streamline our connections, the more we crave deeply meaningful connections with those who will truly not let us go when someone else gets more likes. Entrepreneurs take note. Have you ever been on Tinder? Of course you have. What did you realize when you stopped using it? (Because you did stop using it, even if you’ll go back in the future.) You realized that you weren’t able to make a real connection with anyone after you exhausted the list of people who show up 25 km around you and then those who show up some 90km away from you. You stopped using Tinder because you still desire real connection and are sick of the lack. Some used Tinder for sex but many tried it to date because they thought they found an App that made it extremely easy to connect with people. It didn’t. Tinder didn’t, Facebook didn’t, Instagram didn’t, Snapchat didn’t. Real human connection, the kind that satiates us, requires holding our attention, touching our emotional core, and caressing our ego repeatedly until we realize we’re worth something more than 389 likes. It’s painfully difficult to attain in the up-voting, constantly upgrading online world and if you can make it happen, people will choose you over the other 7 or so major Apps.
Focus on connecting over one thing at a time.
The truth is, we've forgotten how we used to make friends. We used to want to spend more time with one another because of the specific ways in which we were similar. We both loved planes or both had gardens or we just loved to try new teas together. For every one thing that brought us together, we would gain hours of memories, laughs, and confidence that someone else was as crazy as we were. Knowing that we were someone's connection to one thing they loved to do made us feel like we mattered to them. This, in turn, made us feel valued and satiated. So, it seems that the trick to fulfilling the primal need for true connection with someone is focusing on something that brings the two of you together, one thing at a time.
The part that's still a surprise to me is that, in spite of all the disconnect technology has brought, people have not forgotten how it feels to have a unique connection with you. But it is now up to you to remind them. There are people who cherish you, there are people who will satiate your need for true connection and they only use the internet to enhance their connection with you. Feed that bond.
We’ve forgotten how to tell people why we care about them. They’ve forgotten why we care about them. Once we figure this out again, we will find the connection we crave. But you have to start with one thing.
Did you like our article? Come see what we’re doing at One Thing to show that, as people, we are all more connected than we are different. Everyone brings one thing and we share their messages with you.