Just three weeks ago I embarked on a new journey. Not only did I change homes, but I changed countries, literally leaving my entire social network behind. (When I say social network, I’m not talking Facebook® and Twitter®!)
After working intimately with the Women’s Fund’s Campaign to End Isolation, I knew that move and relocation – the very thing I was entering into willingly – is one of the five main triggers of isolation. Fortunately for me, many of my friends and family either worked on or followed the campaign closely so they’ve all helped to prepare me.
As many of you may know all too well, having a network 10+ hours away isn’t quite the same as having someone there face to face to laugh, cry or just sit with. Often we are left wondering how we can reach out to someone in a similar “high isolation risk” scenario to help increase social connectedness (i.e.: end isolation). So I thought I’d share three examples and lessons from people who, without even knowing it, have made me feel more connected in this new land.
Ask “how are you” and mean it!
Subject: How are you?
Just checking in to see how you are doing. It looks like a great time so far on the blog but hope you are hanging in there for the day to day stuff.
Read between the lines.
Her: Maybe I’ll see you around if we are both living in this neighborhood.
Me: That would be great; I don’t really know anyone here.
Her: We should get coffee some time, let’s exchange numbers.
Turn words into action.
Her: We should just meet up and talk.
Me: I’d like that.
She called back 2 minutes after hanging up.
Her: What are you doing right now, or tomorrow?
Do you have any examples of times you’ve felt isolated and there was that one person, those few words, that helped you feel a bit more connected?
Written by: Ann Padley, a Women’s Fund Power Team member since 2008 and consultant with Blue Door Consulting, an Oshkosh-based marketing and consulting firm contracted to work on the Campaign to End Isolation