Connection, it’s something we think we have more of in this age of social media, but is that how we really build connection?

Perhaps we are looking for connection in the wrong places. Maybe, instead of staring at our screens scrolling through faces far away, we should look up and really see the people around us.

Image: Girls sitting on a bench on their cellphones

Source: Dr. Lynda Ulrich

From strangers to people married for 55 years, building connection can often be as simple as making eye contact with the person across from you.

Here’s a channel that does some really interesting things, SoulPancake, with a fascinating experiment in connection…

Watching these interactions unfold is mesmerizing.

The initial discomfort of looking into somebody else’s eyes, even for a couple married for 55 years, is palpable. And the silence that discomfort falls into is equally as fascinating to watch. When their time is up though, the couples (and strangers) are not relieved to break the eye contact, but there seems to be a gradual return back to their surroundings.

We so very rarely take that kind of time to break down barriers and really look at a person.

Maybe we don’t need to go around staring into every person’s eyes.

Certainly though, making eye contact with the people we interact with on a daily basis, even in the briefest interactions like ordering our coffee in the morning, can help us learn to build connection in our everyday lives.

We are innately social creatures, and the more we force ourselves to look into the eyes of the people around us, the more connection we can feel.

What would a world look like where political, cultural, and ideological leaders on opposite ends of the spectrum were forced to look into each other’s eyes for 4 minutes? How much of their shared humanity could they see?

Perhaps, we are looking for connection in the wrong places. Instead of gluing our eyes to our cell phones, maybe all it takes is looking up and really being with the people, strangers or otherwise, around us.

Stay beautiful & keep laughing!

-Liesl

“Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.”-Victor Borge

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Notes:

  1. “How To Connect With Anyone.” YouTube. SoulPancake, 12 Feb. 2015. Web. 12 July 2016. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xm-T3HCa618>.

Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

COO of Ever Widening Circles, Founder of EWCed

Liesl is a camera-toting traveler, a global story seeker, and an aspiring—but more often floundering—outdoor enthusiast. She can be found on Instagram @Liesl.UV