Isn't it surprising that in an age where we are digitally connected to each other 24 hours a day, we seem to be increasingly disconnected from the people we see on a daily basis? We forget our colleagues, neighbors and community members ... even our friends and family. We are able to message and connect on Facebook and Instagram with people from all over the world, but it seems we are unable to sit down for a meal even with people living under the same roof.
So how can we become more connected in our communities? There are large-scale ways we can work to bring our communities closer together and build a stronger sense of community. But there are also things we can do now to develop stronger relationships with the ones we see everyday (or would like to see more often).
As much as we may not admit it, we all need each other. And most of us desperately want to connect with each other and not just via 140-character tweets. Try to connect with your community with these simple ideas.
Look up. Regardless of whether you're walking the dog around the block or just going in the car for the morning commute, take a few minutes to look up from your gadget and look around. Follow that age-old advice to stop and smell the roses and maybe even strike up a conversation with the neighbor who is growing them. At the very least, make some eye contact and nod to any neighbor by watering the lawn or going to work.
Be gentle. The next time you mow the lawn, shovel the sidewalk, or take the trash can off the sidewalk, consider doing the same for a neighbor. It's a simple gesture, but you never know when just a little act of kindness could brighten someone's day.
Organize. If you're ready, throw a barbecue, potluck, book club, block party, or afternoon coffee gathering. Or take the altruistic route and organize a food trip or collection of winter coats and spread the word throughout your community. Grow a garden and distribute extra bounty to your neighbors. If there is an older person in your area, stop by to see if you can offer a hand with any small chores that may need to be done around the house.
Get involved. Attend local city council or school board meetings and find out what's going on in your community. If meetings aren't your thing, go to a nearby park or take a ride to cheer on local sports teams. Attend a festival, parade, or community gathering. Support local businesses. Volunteer. Call when the neighbors need it. These are the best ways to connect with your community to both boost your sense of union and cooperation while creating a network of contacts for a potential business and work on your interpersonal relationships. This won’t only give you the chance to get better at connecting with others but also to truly explore the nuances of your soul from a different deeper unique perspective.