Social connection is more than having friends

Posted 1 week ago

National Best Friends Day is 8th June

This post is part of a series for National Best Friends Day on 8th June - have a look on the homepage later this week to find the slice which has more content on this campaign!

National Best Friends Day is around the corner, and you may be excited to celebrate the day with your bestie. You may go all out on a pamper evening, games night or a movie, or it may be as simple as reminding them how much you appreciate them on the day. 

However, social connection - the theme of June's campaign - is about more than just having friends.

two people walking in opposite directions

Social connection can be acknowledging your bus driver, saying hello to your waiter or even that shared frustration with fellow passengers when your tube is delayed.

When we think of social connection, many of us my immediately think of friends and family, which of course play a big part in our social wellbeing.

However, even small, seemingly relatively insignificant interactions may boost our mood and social wellbeing.

In an increasingly remote world where, if we wanted to, we could probably do everything from our bedrooms, it's important to make time to get out and connect with other people, even if only briefly. 

Benefits of social interaction

Mark Sanford, PhD, explains this really nicely: Conversational Connections: The Power of Dialogue with Strangers in Fostering Connection and Integration | by Mark Sanford, Ph.D. | ILLUMINATION-Curated | Medium

These interactions - often with strangers - are usually short-lived and require no long-term commitment, making them more appealing and accessible, especially for those of us who are more introverted. 

If we take the example of a group of passengers waiting for a delayed train - we may find that we receive validation and empathy from these shared experiences. Your train may be delayed and you may be running late, but everyone on that train is in the same situation. Feeling heard and understood by others validates our experiences and emotions - helping us to feel seen and valued.

busy subway station

So, why don't you take National Best Friends Day as an opportunity to connect with others, even if they're not your best friend? Of course, take all the usual precautions when interacting with strangers, but be present and enjoy those brief moments of shared experience too.

More content for our Social Wellbeing campaign will be shared over the coming days.