Podcast: We Can Do Hard Things
Episode #10: How to Fix Our Loneliness with Dr. Marisa G. Franco
Date(s): 2-14-2023 and 2-16-2023
I enjoyed these conversations with Dr. Marisa G. Franco, psychologist, speaker, and professor, as well as New York Times bestselling author of Platonic. In the episode on loneliness, the case is made for the necessity of connection and friendship. While I know social support is important, I didn’t know about the research pointing to the adverse health outcomes associated with a lack of social connection. This episode also explores how our attachment styles influence how we function in our friendships and that ultimately, before we set out to make new friends or focus on maintaining the friendships we have, we need to tend to the connection we have with ourselves. This includes getting to know and understanding our attachment style.
The episode that follows on making and keeping friends, offers a few creative strategies for cultivating new relationships. One of the recommendations shared was to ‘make your hobby a community.’ If you enjoy reading, join a book club, if you like to write, is there a writing workshop or class you could join? If you want to volunteer and make a difference, is there a space where you could volunteer once a week or every couple weeks? Experiences that are repeated, such as a weekly or bi-weekly book club, are more likely to yield new connections than just attending something once.
One of the main ideas I took from these conversations is that making and keeping friends requires us to be a ‘active agents’ in our social world. We must step out of our comfort zone, take the risk and approach a person we may wish to get to know better. Again, depending on our history and our attachment style, this ‘stepping out’ and being an active agent may feel terrifying. If you are in this space, I encourage you to start small with listening to these conversations, learn about your attachment style, perhaps rather than reaching out to someone new, reach out to an old friend. Many of us have lost touch with people during the pandemic. Is there anyone you would like to re-connect with?
Especially when we are facing a tender season, we need social support and connection. Many of us don’t have that vital support, we don’t know where to begin and may feel consumed by fears of rejection because of our painful past experiences in our early relationships. These conversations offer gentle wisdom for where to start with building the social support you need to weather the storms of life.