It appears ironic that in this age of information and our ability to engage more freely, we are perhaps ever more lonely – in our physical connectedness.
I am in introvert, yet like many, I also have some extrovert tendencies!
As I became more acutely aware of my own thoughts and emotions it became clear I am uncomfortable in some situations, not least as an entrepreneur – networking in person.
I found almost by chance I could be engaging freely on social-media without losing tons of emotional energy and instead of being in receipt of the physical after-effects of in-person meetings such as headaches and exhaustion.
Part of the Tribe
On the one hand if we are irked and suffering in social circumstances it makes sense to acknowledge and honour this. We can make best use of the online medium to ‘connect’ and engage in order to stay in touch, to learn and to establish new relationships – whether professional or personal.
On the other hand, useful and perhaps even necessary as this is, meeting people face-to-face now and again is still highly useful for our psyche in gaining communicative feedback from others. The behaviours and words, the body language and intonations expressed when we are in the presence of others can provide much feed-back; something that is not only useful, it is arguably necessary for our sense of worth and self-esteem and acceptance.
What If I only Receive Negative Feedback?
Feeling negative after meeting people? This can be useful information, a psycho-educational gift if you will!
Are we truly hearing what is being said – or are our cognitions leading us astray – as they are prone to do? Perhaps the company we are keeping is prone to frequently expressing negative word choices in their views of thinking about the world?
Although I enjoy my own company in many settings, I get so much value from the face-to-face meetings I have.
To be fair, my most valued interactions are professional, where deep and meaningful, important conversations are held – and perhaps then my only slight regret is that I may miss out on the lighter ‘fun’ stimulus which may be available – such as simply engaging in nonsense!
Pro’s and Con’s of In-Person Vs Online Engagement.
I wonder if we are recognising our discomfort in the physical company of others whether we can explore why this may be – and honour the conclusions. It may be we would be comfortable – but cannot physically meet with others due to the constraints of a rural location we live in, disability or actual/perceived social exclusion and discrimination.
Whether an introvert – or logistically unable to easily meet in-person, I have found remaining vigilant to the occasional opportunity to meet online connections IS helpful for me.
We can get perhaps a little too comfortable expressing ourselves from behind the screen and then we are at risk of caring less about feedback – and the subtle nuances of physical communications that as a human race – is important.
That sense of community and commonality, and of belonging is necessary and healthy. Perhaps you could meet (whilst observing obvious risks factors*) some of those you engage with on line? That would really demonstrate with much greater clarity the points expressed here!
Do you find social media communities such as this have helped you become more engaged?
Please do share this post – and importantly – your thoughts!
*If you do meet someone in person that has been found online, do meet in a public place and take any necessary precautions until you can be certain they are who they appear to be!
For more from Bob Brotchie, please visit his website – and blogs at www.angliacounselling.co.uk
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