Simple Exercises That Can Help You Connect With Absolutely Anyone

A therapist and a psychiatrist offer six effective ways to personally help solve a global crisis of connection

Ashley Pallathra and Edward Brodkin
Forge
Published in
4 min readMay 9, 2021

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Photo: Larm Rmah/Unsplash

In our last post, “Why Do We Hate?” we wrote that our delusion of separateness is fueling systemic racism, violence, war, and impeding our response to imminent, global existential threats like climate change. We argued that it is urgent for us to develop our capability to connect, and extend it beyond our close inner circle.

So what can we do to develop our sense of connection?

There’s no simple solution, as this is a problem that humanity has been grappling with throughout recorded history. But there’s a greater sense of urgency now, given the problems we face. Here are some ideas to begin to work towards this.

Start by thinking about experiences in which this kind of connection has come naturally to you. Maybe it was a moment when you deeply felt your love for someone, or a moment when you held your newborn baby in your arms. Try some of our tips for fostering deeper emotional connections with those you love and care about. Start to make this more of a priority in your life.

Then — and here’s where it gets harder — try to extend some of this feeling out to people outside of your in-group. You’re unlikely to feel the level of closeness to strangers that you feel with your closest family, but we know that some feeling of connection is possible. Think of the bonding that goes on between strangers who go through a difficult experience with us — think of the way that people help each other during disasters, like 9/11. But even in the context of normal life, we can develop this feeling of connection (without compromising our safety by misplacing our trust in an untrustworthy person).

Here are some more things you can try:

Think about how your well-being and survival depends on strangers

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Ashley Pallathra and Edward Brodkin
Forge
Writer for

Co-authors of the new book “Missing Each Other: How to Cultivate Meaningful Connections.” Twitter: @ashleypallathra @tedbrodkin