When the world shifted on its axis two plus years ago with the worldwide pandemic, the way people interact with one another changed. I think it had already begun, but the pandemic sped it up. We as a society are so disconnected… Thanks to texting, tweeting, social media posting, etc. we have talked “at” each other more rather than talking “with” each other. It feels like everyone is a slogan or mini commercial. No one touches deeply doing that. We don’t even physically touch as much. We all need warm physical touch. I had a conversation with someone during the pandemic about creating “hugging centers”. Everyone needs a hug… especially when feeling isolated. Maybe now we are more accustomed to this isolated feeling – it doesn’t make us not need it, but we may have forgotten that we do.
I met with an old client last month because they referred someone to me and showed up with the new client to see a house. I hugged them. It’s the first time I have hugged clients in more than two years! For a moment – just a split second – I held back… thinking we don’t do this anymore. Then I thought fuck it – we are all vaccinated, and it’s important to acknowledge these people mean something to me. Admittedly – we all got teary eyed for a moment. I knew it was the right thing… they needed it (I did too). Actually Covid almost killed him in the last two years and she was T-boned on her way to work and almost died… I may never have seen them again. Always hug someone – you might not see them again.
Helping these people they referred, I realized I miss the interactions I used to have in business. With my clients, I have always gone pretty deep into who they are, and what they want and need. They felt understood – because they were. That is one reason why I am so good at my job and I can match people to the right house for them. With my new clients, I dug into who they are and what they need, and they told me they felt more understood and more helped than they did with other brokers they had tried to work with the past couple years and were thankful my past clients introduced us. It felt good – I had a “connection” with a client again. They close on their new home in 9 days.
I have never really been a dating person. In the past, someone would basically “choose” me, and I would then be in a long-term relationship with them. I never did the dating thing… That’s why I didn’t understand it. I didn’t really need to sift and sort and make small talk. I would just decide if I liked the person who “chose me” enough to move forward. I don’t know if that was lucky or unlucky… After Robert died and I decided I should “date” – I really had no fucking idea what I was doing. You don’t know what you don’t know so much of the time. I guess I was waiting to be “chosen” again, but when people don’t really “connect”, they are on to the next shiny object before they even see how amazing you might be.
I have officially been actively out in the “dating wild” now for more than a year. I realized something this morning… what I really miss in relationship is actual connection. We trade some random data, see if there is any chemistry and then move on. We have forgotten how to actually “connect”. Or maybe there are some who never even really learned to? The random data doesn’t make “connection” – it doesn’t tell you who someone is at their core. It feels like when you are a kid and try to talk to someone through dixie cups and string.
When I saw my friend Sandy last week and I said, “How are you?” I realized that question had more depth with her than the other dozens of times a week I say it, because I really know her. We connect. That was her invitation to fill me in on what I missed since the last time we spoke. When you ask someone you don’t know deeply or have a good connection with that question, all they can say is “good” or “fine”. Which is not usually the whole truth, doesn’t create a safe place to open up and share because the level of intimacy isn’t there, and is a connection killer instead of an opportunity to create better connection.
Being an introvert, I have wallowed in the isolation of the pandemic a little too much. I actually felt a sense of relief at not having to have real interactions with real, live, people for a time. But since I don’t have a partner, I have missed real connection. The deep, sweet, soul connection you have with a partner. I have connection with a few friends and my children – but that of course, is different than a partner.
Trying to date, I have made mental connections, physical connections and a couple emotional or energetic connections – but not the full meal deal… maybe it’s because we don’t really know how to connect anymore on all levels? Even though we didn’t truly connect, I connected with some more than anyone else has on some level – which is why the people tend to boomerang back and try to connect with me again and I get texts from random people I have interacted with (like Poly Paul)… maybe.
So how do we create real connection with people? I think one way is by being authentic but mostly by actively listening while being authentic… which is especially hard to do over text or instant message. I don’t know the answer. And of course so many people aren’t even vulnerable enough to be authentic. Sometimes when you are open and vulnerable… being authentic, the other person doesn’t open up at the same level of openness… or they try to coach you instead of actively listening and then returning the level of vulnerability (I can be guilty of this too). I will be thinking about this a lot this week to try and understand it.
Piper update: she is walking much better and has even started running a little. She is still adjusting to being blind in one eye. She started trying to jump yesterday, but has not been successful… and I’m not encouraging it yet either – can’t have a dog that can’t see falling off furniture and injuring herself. She has finally let me sleep longer than an hour or two at a time (last night I got 7 hours!) but it’s going to take me a few more days to feel caught up on sleep.