Socialization is a critical aspect of human development, and it plays a significant role in shaping our interactions with others. Social connections are ingrained in our nature as social beings, and they help us feel connected to others and the world around us. Whether spending time with friends, participating in meaningful conversations, or engaging in community activities, many factors make people feel social.
At its core, feeling social is about connecting with others on an emotional level. We can foster social connection through various activities and experiences, including sharing meaningful moments with loved ones, forming new friendships, expressing ourselves authentically, engaging in community service, and participating in group activities like sports or hobbies.
Socialization is how we interact with others and learn to conform to society’s norms and values. It’s a crucial part of human development, helping us develop our identity, form relationships, and build social skills.
These social skills happen in early childhood; however, this process is not a one-time scenario. It is ongoing as we are all constantly evolving and changing, and our social connections shift over time.
By cultivating meaningful relationships and staying open to new experiences, we can continue to foster feelings of connectedness throughout our lives. Ultimately, the desire for human connection helps us feel social, regardless of age or stage in life.
Social connection is more than just a nice thing – it’s a fundamental human need that influences our overall health and well-being. We feel we belong somewhere, mean something, and have value and purpose through our social connections.
Stanford Medicine has shown that social connection:
1. Strengthens our immune system
2. Lowers stress levels and blood pressure
3. Reduces anxiety and depression
4. Improves sleep quality
5. Increases lifespan and overall happiness
In other words, social connection isn’t just good for our mental health, it’s good for our physical health too.
So, to improve your overall well-being, it’s essential to focus on building and maintaining healthy social connections with the people in your life. Whether connecting with old friends, joining a local group or community, or participating in family events, there are many ways to foster social connections. If getting out and participating in leisure pursuits stops your social connections see our Overcoming Barriers In Your Leisure Pursuits guide.
What Makes Some People More Social?
Many factors influence how social we are as adults, including our genes, temperament, upbringing, and life experiences.
For some people, socializing comes naturally; they are outgoing, extroverted, and comfortable meeting new people. Others may be more introverted or shy, preferring smaller groups or one-on-one interactions.
While there’s no right or wrong way to be social, research suggests that those who are more social are happier and healthier than those who are less sociable.
There are also a few key factors that appear to play a role in our social level:
Research suggests that our genes may influence how social we are.
For example, one study found that identical twins were more likely to report similar levels of social anxiety than fraternal twins, suggesting that there may be a genetic component to social anxiety. In addition, other studies have looked at the link between genes and personality traits like extroversion and neuroticism, finding that these traits also affect how social we are.
Our temperament, or natural disposition, is another factor that influences how social we are.
Some people are naturally outgoing and extroverted, while others are more introverted and shy.
Neither is better or worse as introverts can be just as social as extroverts; they prefer smaller groups or one-on-one interactions.
How we were raised can also affect how social we are as adults. For example, if our parents are social, we’re more likely to be social.
Similarly, if we were raised in a community that values social interaction, like a close-knit neighborhood or religious community, we are more likely to be social as adults.
4. Life experiences
Our life experiences, both positive and negative, can also shape how social we are. For example, people who have struggled with social rejection or bullying may be more reluctant to engage with others, while those who have had positive experiences in social situations tend to be more comfortable socializing in the future.
Social Media and Our Social Connections
Social media is the mainstream way for people to connect with others, and it can help maintain our social connections, but it is just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to feeling social.
Social media can also be a valuable resource for connecting with people who share our interests and passions. In addition, it can provide us with a start point to begin our connections with others or supplement our offline social lives.
For example, if we’re unable to see our friends in person as often as we’d like, we can stay connected with them by sharing updates and photos online.
It’s important to remember that human connection doesn’t happen exclusively online, and it’s crucial to engage in meaningful interactions with others both online and offline.
Whether connecting with friends over coffee, attending a local event, or participating in community activities, the key is to make time for the people and things that matter most. After all, our relationships are what ultimately make us feel social and that we belong.
Why Are Real-Life Social Interactions Essential?
Real-life social interactions are essential for our overall well-being as they provide us a sense of belonging, community, and support that helps us thrive in all areas of our lives physically, spiritually, emotionally, and socially.
Although real-life interactions provide us emotional support and foster social relationships, they also allow us to engage with the world around us and build meaningful connections within ourselves and our communities.
Whether it’s spending time with friends or family, joining a club or team, or volunteering, there are many ways to cultivate social relationships and foster feelings of social connection in the real world.
Though technology has introduced new ways to connect online, such as social media platforms, texting, and messaging apps, remember that real-life interactions are still essential for our overall well-being.
Ultimately, the desire for human connection makes us feel social, and we can only achieve this by engaging with others in the real world. By engaging in human relations, the world around us and within us is genuine and not an imagined version we create.
How We Feel About Who We Are Makes All The Difference To Us as Individuals
How we feel about ourselves has a significant impact on how social we feel. For example, we’re more likely to approach others with confidence and authenticity when we have a positive self-image which, in turn, makes it more likely that we’ll form meaningful connections with the people we interact with.
On the other hand, if we have a negative self-image, we’re more likely to withdraw from social situations and miss out on potential opportunities for connection.
Our self-image plays a role in how social we feel. So, if we want to increase our sense of social connection, we need to work on building a positive self-image.
Emotions also impact our social relations, and our social relationships significantly impact our overall well-being. By cultivating healthy habits and seeking out opportunities for social connection, we can increase our feelings of happiness, satisfaction, and fulfillment from being genuinely connected to the world around us.
If we isolate ourselves and do not practice our social skills, we might start to feel socially isolated. Social isolation is the state of being physically separated or disconnected from other people, and it has adverse effects on both our mental and physical health.
Some common signs of social isolation include feelings of loneliness, a loss of interest in activities that used to bring you joy, and difficulty connecting with others.
If you are experiencing social isolation, you can take steps to increase your sense of social connection.
- Recognize that loneliness is a normal and natural part of the human experience, and try not to judge yourself for feeling this way.
- Make time for social connections by prioritizing your relationships and carving out time in your schedule for meaningful interactions with others. -Creating social connections takes action and could mean scheduling regular coffee dates, joining a book club or hobby group, or signing up for volunteer opportunities in your community.
- Focus on developing new relationships rather than trying to replace the ones you’ve lost or are struggling with. Consider reaching out to people who share your interests and passions or joining local meet-up groups where you can connect with like-minded individuals.
- Prioritize your self-care by taking steps to nurture your emotional and physical health. For example, make time for exercise, eat a healthy diet, get enough sleep, and engage in activities that make you feel good.
- If you’re feeling lonely or struggling to build meaningful relationships, consider seeking professional support.
There are internal and external factors that influence our motivation for social connection.
Internal factors include things like our personal temperament, values, and beliefs.
External factors, meanwhile, can refer to things like our family and friends, our culture and community, or even the media we consume.
Some individuals are more naturally inclined to seek out social interaction than others, but everyone needs some degree of social connection to feel fulfilled. Whether we are looking for a close-knit group of friends or simply trying to find ways to create deeper level connections, we all need to feel like we belong somewhere.
While many different factors can influence our motivation for social connection, the primary driver is often a desire to feel valued and accepted by others. Whether we’re socializing with friends, family, or coworkers, most of us are looking to form meaningful relationships and connect with others deeply and authentically.
We crave social interaction because it allows us to explore new ideas and perspectives, share our own experiences and emotions, and build lasting bonds with people who truly matter to us.
Ultimately, this sense of social connection keeps us feeling happy, fulfilled, and motivated to continue growing as individuals.