Hey there —
Between remote work, DoorDash “leave it at the door” delivery, and self-checkout lanes, it’s easy to go through your day without truly interacting with another human being.
If you’re an introvert, you might be totally cool with this. 😅
But what about that friend you’ve been meaning to reach out to? You know, ever since that brief encounter where they said, “Hey, we should get together sometime soon!” and you said, “Totally! I’ll check my calendar and shoot you a text!”...months ago.
We all have busy schedules, and in a culture that prioritizes work over rest and play, it’s no surprise that sending that text — much less actually getting together with friends — often gets put in the “later” pile. And the more time passes, the more uncertain we can feel about reaching out.
That’s why this month, we’re encouraging you to embrace the awkwardness, expand your bubble, and make a connection.
Because cultivating connection isn’t just a habit that’s good for your relationships — it’s good for your body, mind, and soul.
In their book Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle, Emily and Amelia Nagoski dedicate an entire chapter to this subject, highlighting that while independence is celebrated and social time is often viewed as a “bonus,” connection with others is actually one of life’s essentials.
The Nagoskis cite the results of several studies that show quality relationships and social connections help us regulate our heart rate and breathing, heal more quickly from injuries, better manage and recover from stress, and even live longer. (By contrast, social isolation and loneliness lead to the complete opposite!)
This doesn’t mean that you have to spend every one of the next 30 days at a new social event. 😮💨 Research indicates that even “tiny relationships” — like a passing conversation with a classmate or a stranger on the sidewalk — contribute to our wellbeing, life satisfaction, and sense of belonging.
So whether it’s with friends, family, or a complete stranger, find a way to make an intentional connection with another person today. Text the person you’ve been meaning to reach out to, invite your new coworker out to lunch, or tell your barista you appreciate their willingness to serve pre-caffeinated ogres on a daily basis.
Connecting with our fellow humans may feel difficult or uncomfortable at times, but it’s worth the effort. None of us are meant to go through life alone — while you’re busy building your best life, don’t forget to cultivate community, too. 🥰
Participate in the challenge!
Daily action: Every day for the next 30 days, make an intentional connection.
To help you track your progress, download this printable Habit Tracker to mark off each day you succeed.
And after you’ve finished the challenge, fill out this Challenge Reflection to look back at your experience, take note of what you learned, and decide if this is a habit you want to make a permanent part of your routine.
Tips for success
👀 Look up. It’s easy to get caught up in routine and move through the day with our heads down, focused on our own world, or distracted by our devices. Make an effort throughout your day to pause, look up, and notice your environment and the people around you. (And say “hello” to the folks you pass on the sidewalk.)
📵 Be present. Having a conversation? Put away your phone! Work on being present during your interactions with others, whether it’s at the dinner table, in the office breakroom, or in line at the grocery store. Not only will being present help you notice more opportunities for connection, it will help those connections be deeper and more meaningful.
🔍 Find opportunity in the ordinary. Yes, making and maintaining connections requires committed effort, but it doesn’t have to require elaborate planning. Think about the stuff you’re already doing and how you might turn it into a moment for connection. Invite a friend over for a simple weeknight dinner (boxed mac and cheese, anyone?), send your classmates a group text declaring a pop-in study session at your dorm, turn your favorite Netflix binge into a watch party (BYO snacks), or grab your earbuds and phone a friend while you’re doing chores.
The case for hanging out
by Dan Kois
As a final bit of inspiration, please enjoy this article chronicling writer Dan Kois’s day hanging out with author Sheila Liming to discuss her book…Hanging Out: The Radical Power of Killing Time.
Their points on why people are less “down to hang out” these days and the effort it takes to be social are highly relatable. But it’s their thoughts on creating stories with friends, the joyful and humorous tale of Kois and Liming’s day together, and the closing missive to hang out and “take heart” that are sure to leave you motivated to finally make plans with your pals.