The Importance of Community

Aramis Adcock, Reporter

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Being socially isolated is something that we have all experienced at one point or another. Few things are worse. Granted, while this is sometimes beneficial, the majority of the time it is a detriment to one’s well-being. Depression is the most common side effect of this, but other side effects that occur can include increased cardiovascular risk, loss of sleep, and an increased rate of aging. No one wants these things, as they impede healthy living. You would think that society would have taught most of us to stay social to prevent these things, right? If you thought so, you would, unfortunately, be wrong. Social isolation is frighteningly common. According to a 2018 national survey of about 20,000 people, about half of them reported feeling socially isolated. Why is feeling alone so common, then? The answer is not simple. The most difficult aspect for many of us might just be starting a conversation. Even going up to someone requires immense courage, but finding something to say can seem impossible. It’s easier if you know the person and has a hobby or some shared experience that you can discuss, but if you don’t know the person, the idea of talking to them seems very intimidating. So how do you get past this? I asked several people their ideas for potential ice-breakers. First, I asked Mr. Graff, and he gave me this wise and profound line: 

“Hey, look at that bird.” If that doesn’t lead to a meaningful friendship, then I don’t know what will. Next, I asked Michael Colvin to share his thoughts. He gave me a more detailed answer. He said that when you talk to someone, you should give them something to talk about by giving them something to agree or disagree with. Opinions get people talking. Then I asked Uma Hahs if she had a good ice breaker. She should trademark this one:

 “Do you know how much a polar bear weighs?” To which one would reply:

 “How much?”

“Enough to break the ice. Hi, I’m (Insert Name Here)

Lastly, I talked to Morgan Wilson, who said that you should

“Compliment the person, and observe something flattering about them.” It is a known scientific fact that if you compliment someone, they are more likely to like you. All of these are guaranteed to bring you some level of success in your social endeavors. But what is the purpose of being more social? The endgame, I believe, is to form a community of friends for yourself. By getting to know more and more people, the number of friends that you have will increase. The more friends you have, the more you will feel that you belong. Soon enough, all that loneliness and depression will recede. Misery and self-loathing will no longer have any room in your life. Your self-esteem will finally be allowed to grow, and then your life will become more enjoyable.

 

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