I try to make new connections – I truly do. But of late, I’ve been having issues of really connecting with people. I wonder if it’s me or is a phenomenon you experience too. Do you sometimes come away from having spent hours with a person or people, seemingly having a good time, but feeling empty inside?
It happened to me recently and while there was nothing intrinsically wrong with this group of people – well-read, intelligent and well-meaning men and women. Yet, I felt a certain sense of emptiness from the meeting. Something kept me back from being myself at this meeting. I felt that the hours I spent in their company didn’t really add value to me as a person. In turn, I wonder whether my presence made any difference to them too.
Which makes me ponder about being present to others. In a world that’s so connected, why is it hard to make real connections? I’m not against technology at all. However, when I’m with people, I’d rather be really communicating with them than attempting to make memories with my camera or tweeting about what we’re doing. I’m glad that I enjoy real presence with my husband, although sometimes I admit that I get caught up with my blogging and don’t make time for it. Thankfully, he’s great at reminding me about it.
Strangely, I sometimes seem to find real presence with certain people online too. I can have an intense ‘conversation’ with someone online and feel that both of us came away feeling like we’ve grown from this interaction.
I’m convinced we need real presence and real community if we wish to grow. I’m wondering how many of us have access to people and communities where we really feel like we belong. Places and people where we have nothing to prove – no competition, no attempts to talk over someone else, no vying to tell the funniest or the most outrageous story.
Do you too seek for real presence in your interactions?
Corinne, I tried to approach this problem from different angles, but I still feel as disconnected as ever if not more. I “tested” being more active and reaching out to people and also a complete withdrawal, I even did some research on the topic of communication. I’m not fully sure what the deal is but there are a few conclusions I came to. First, there’s always a handful of people with whom we connect no matter what, even after a big gap in communication. You always feel at ease with them, and never walk away “empty-handed” so your interaction with them is rewarding. It can be someone close to you, like a family member, or a random person (e.g. a cashier at your local grocery). I learned to value higher these connections with who we seem to be on the same wave length, and try to not miss a chance to talk to them when I get communication hungry.
It’s also easier to connect with people if you are involved in a project together, for example people that are training for a marathon always have something to talk about in between themselves. Or co-workers, spending too much time on a project, become close friends even if they have nothing in common.
I learned to keep away from self-obsessed individuals, who only talk but never listen – you won’t get yourself real presence there 🙁 I also learned that if I am not given a chance to be myself, to express my true thoughts openly but rather be and talk so as to meet someone’s expectations, the interaction will never be fully satisfying. As far as when I’ve felt the most connected and fully present – I have to say at 15 when living in a boarding school, sharing the room with 6 bright and very like-minded girls. But I’m still hoping to find my communication niche someday 🙂
I know how passionate you are about this topic, Katya and I am too. Sometimes I wonder whether we’re wanting too much or being too idealistic. Then I realize it isn’t so, because if I can enjoy real presence with some it must be possible with others too. You’re right that we must focus on those relationships in which we enjoy good communication and make more time for them.
The problem, as I see it, of connecting with people on a project is that most times when the project is over there’s not much left to talk about.
About the self-obsessed types, they already say enough about themselves, so the less we dwell on them the better! 😉
I hope that you find your ‘room of 6’ sometime soon. ♥
Real presence is what we all need Corinne!
I am quite like you, or perhaps it’s the age factor where you make few friends but the ones you do, you prefer having good ones for keeps. We might go out and meet people, just as you mentioned, but if it’s with just acquaintances then we don’t get that one to one connection with them.
Or perhaps we can’t feel our nor their presence even though we are with each other because our minds are elsewhere. I guess sometimes we meet because we are obliged to or are invited and we can’t say no, though from within we might not feel like going or interacting. While at other times the group of people aren’t really the ones we would like spending time with, or sometimes we aren’t in that frame of mind to really enjoy because we have other things on our mind.
There can really be so-so many reasons to this question raised. But yes, speaking of myself, I find my best company in my husband and it’s each others presence we value the most. 🙂
Thanks for sharing. 🙂
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Dear Corinne, this is first time I’m leaving a comment, though I have read a couple of your posts recently and I’m following your blog.
Regarding the real presence, yes I have felt many times and I don’t have any FRIENDS(REAL) and they are just friends social networking sites.
What I’m worried is that they have enough time to likes and comments and status updates but no time to call and say a Hi or even to meet up even if they live in the same city…
I have been worrying about this and I feel disconnected to the PEOPLE and i feel that there are ONLY USERS/USER IDS…
Believe I have not posted a lengthy POST instead of posting a comment…
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I am always seeking real presence in my interactions. I have been fortunate to have connected here with my friends in whose presence I am myself and feel connected. I have also connected so well with some people even on the net. But I am more of a real person connection than virtual connection. I cannot communicate beyond a point if I dont feel a connect. And it has nothing to do with age. I have friends that I feel so close to from all age groups.
This post can’t be more timely. I have often wondered about this phenomenon. Last evening, we were at a dinner party and I deliberately left my mobile at home. I didn’t want to create a punctuation in the smooth sailing of the evening by checking my mobile whenever I hear a buzz or beep. It was worth it. I have seen people who connect but don’t connect. The energy goes into focusing on the gadget, in the process, forgetting to make a real presence in the meeting. I can understand if there are children/aged people at home who might call in times of emergency but wanting to keep tab of every single email, sms and update on FB during a meeting is foolishly absurd.
When with my husband, the gadgets really don’t matter and in spite of everything, we connect very well. We both enjoy having conversations and so most of the time, we are either talking, laughing or thinking together.
Corinne, I loved this post and will share it in some circuits.
I need real presence … I have so many causal friends with whom I can pass my time but then I make the “connection” with very few people ….
And I hate it when people sms or browse the net or even watch TV when I am talking with them …
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What a thought provoking post 🙂
I am sure we all look for real connections. You know I recently attended a wedding where the groom was busy updating his FB through his mobile every other second. I wonder if he even enjoyed his own marriage 😀
Jokes apart this is what technology has done to us. We want to show what we are doing to the world rather than enjoy the moment. I recently felt like you did at a corporate get together – everyone there trying to outshine the other. Enjoyment was something far left behind.
I do have my own “no cell phone” time zones where I leave my cell phone in my cupboard and just enjoy those moments… and yes it is definately worth it. There is much more to life beyond the likes and comments!
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I think it is the real connections in our life that keep us going. It is having that handful of people in your life who care for you for being you and who you know will drop everything they are doing when you say that you need to talk. It is these people I cherish the most. Besides, this first layer, there is an awesome layer of friends, some of whom I haven’t met and some I am not really in touch with that much or physically meet, yet there is the strong connection and warm vibe that makes you just write to them or call them and even throw a tantrum and they will understand :). Like you, I share a very special relationship with hubby. We live 24 hours under the same roof, yet we enjoy walking together, talking things out with each other and fighting like crazy too :). Frankly, life isn’t life without him! With me, I demand more time and attention, and if the connection does not work, I don’t force it. I leave the bunch in my list of casual acquaintances and blow muahs on them once in a while :).
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Real presence wins hands down. But, as you said online conversations have made me feel Wow! many a times.
I feel totally disconnected from my family member and the community as a whole. That is inpart that I’m housebound and do not go anywhere, see other people face to face etc. Trying to connect with people on-line doesn’t seem to be working either.
go in peace
i often walk away from a big group of people and feel empty. I was there, but I didn’t feel connected with any of them. It has honestly been like this for me my whole like. I almost feel invisible. I sometimes get far better interaction with people online, which is just sad in my humble opinion. This was a great post Corinne. I never leave here disappointed.
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Life is too short to waste on empty conversations and meaningless small talk. I’ve had many experiences such as the one you have written about here, Corinne, and now avoid such situations whenever possible. Great subject for discussion!
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Off late I am finding it difficult to make real connections. FB, twitter and virtual friends take away a lot of time….I guess we will come back once we have had an overdose of the virtual world. If not, we will miss true connections. How many of us can drop in a friends house if we are feeling low or stressed? No one has the time.
This had been on my mind for some time till I accepted the fact that I am a complete introvert. I don’t need to get energized or inspired by other people and I don’t really care to know other people’s opinions of my ideas. As a result, I can get into the party and have a great time but I don’t ‘give or take’ anything. I know it sounds terribly self-centered but that’s how I roll and that’s what makes me most comfortable
It happens Corinne. Many times. If we are not soulfully connected, the meeting just remains empty. 🙂
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Thank you for writing this insightful post because I have been feeling the same about being in places I don’t really belong. I have made some amazing online friends and connect with them on a deeper level, in fact my friend and partner Kriti and I are a perfect example of two strangers meeting online and becoming soul-sisters (Touch wood)
I too leave my phone at home when I go for my walks and gettogethers, messages and notifications can wait, but not creating relationships. I leave an emergency number behind for real emergencies 🙂
I can totally understand it when you say that we can find a connect even with virtual friends while we feel empty with real time ones. It all depends upon the wavelength and vibes one shares. Virtual friends sometimes show themselves up as being unreliable or sometimes downright nasty, much like real friends, but the hurt is the same in both.
In small town India, we can still drop in on people without an appointment and talk to them, sometimes even invite ourselves for a meal! but it is rare if ever in big cities. We are so formal, give a thought to so many things that the spontaneity and the warmth are often missing.
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For me, it really depends on the group of people I am with. Sometimes we hit it off so well, and sometimes, like you, I come away feeling empty. When I first joined my church, I was invited to a small group of women my age. I went to the small group meeting–we did a small Bible study–and while the study, discussion, and conversation after was delightful on the surface–there was no deep connection. I didn’t go back to the next meeting. Another group, of older women–mostly 65 and older–invited me to their group–and instantly there was such a connection and I took a way so much from that small group I continued to go back!! And what I realized is that I learned so much from their wisdom and life experiences!!
So–yes–I can understand how that could happen…maybe the next group of people you interact with will be the group where you learn and grow.
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I’ve noticed that too Corinne. People are so glued now to social media or to their phones that there is often a dearth of real presence. Fortunately, I still enjoy that kind of presence when I am with my husband, family and a few close friends. Maybe this is why I prefer small get-togethers than big affairs. And interesting enough, I also do feel sometimes that I can talk more openly with someone online than with those around me. I don’t know if its the anonymity of people online that makes talking with them easier. Still, I wish interacting with people need not be that complicated.
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My Inner Chick
Corinne, your posts continually have depth & truth. I appreciate that.
Yes. I desire to be in the moment…and I also desire people who are in the moment w/ me.
These are the people I want to be with. I want to leave their presence better, fuller, happier, brighter, and filled with God.
I hope they leave me feeling the same way. xxx
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These type of interactions come very rarely… because it requires time and full attention… and sometimes, we just don’t have that or we’re not willing to give it…
It’s the same as prayer… when full presence is necessary to feel that encounter with a special Someone…