But I also get that socialising doesn’t come easily to many. In fact, more people seem to be finding it harder than ever in this post-pandemic world. Some people long for connection but find themselves on the outside looking in. Others desire it but hold back – often from a (non-conscious) fear embedded as a long-held survival tactic. Others find connection exhausting or anxiety-inducing, particularly if not in just the right balance, so they have to “ration” it. And of course, there’s many in partnerships and families where they’re never alone, but yet feel very alone. Much of this can relate to our attachment style (Avoidant, or Disorganised-dominant styles can feel vulnerable in connection) or whether we’re closer to the introvert end of the introvert-extrovert spectrum.
And finding connection difficult can be entirely valid, but it doesn’t negate the need we ALL have for quality human connection. And some of these patterns can hold us in a place of pretty harmful isolation. So how can we access the gifts of social connection when that party, the family gathering, the one to one time or group class is too much to handle?
Well the good news is that there are small simple steps we can take into connection and “co-regulation” with others – essentially, to bring our autonomic state into balance in the company of other living beings, in a way that doesn’t stress us further. And some of them are so subtle you might not even realise you are actually connecting with others when you’re doing them.