Reality Check: To Fill a Caring Gap

When we’re not able to satisfy our basic needs, we’re unhappy. So I proposed examining our needs. Find out whether our needs are being met. If not, where are the gaps?
You may be thinking, it’s all well and good to learn that a need is going unsatisfied. Now I know why I’m unhappy! But what can I do about it?
According to Dr. William Glasser, there are five basic needs. We’ll focus on just one of them—the need for love and belonging. Because people often associate love exclusively with romantic love, I’ll instead look at it as a need for “caring and belonging.”
My sense is that during this time of continued isolation, masked faces, and limited interactions, there are more than a few people who are having trouble satisfying this need.
We are social creatures; some of us more so than others. We need to know that someone cares for us and that we belong—we fit—somewhere. Ideally, we would each have at least one trustworthy ally in our lives. One friend can make a huge difference. But what if you don’t have that?
Make human connection a priority. There are people in your life. Be a friend to them. It’s a cliché but friendship is, indeed, a two way street. You may not get a “best friend forever” but you may develop relationships that can turn into friendships.
Plan to have some kind of social interaction every day, preferably with someone outside your immediate household. Look for opportunities to have more interactions, conversations, and laughs. Get out and talk to people if at all possible. Choose activities that will bring you in contact with people. Even casual interactions can help with isolated feelings.
While I think that face to face interactions are most satisfying, they may not always be practical. Initiate phone calls (or video chats if that works for you.) Reaching out by any method is better than not reaching out at all.
Make the first move. I understand that it can be intimidating. Perhaps you feel that you’ll be a bother or that your efforts to connect won’t be well-received. You might face rejection and that would be so embarrassing. It’s possible. First efforts often don’t work. Second, third or even tenth efforts might not bring you what you want either. But making no effort doesn’t work better, does it? Taking action is a step in a positive direction.
Notice that although social media has the word “social” in it, it’s not necessarily a social place to be. A hundred “friends” may not satisfy the need for caring/belonging as effectively as a few personal connections.
In our efforts to interact with others, we may realize that they don’t share our opinions on everything. It would be amazing if they did! If you are reluctant to interact with someone because they don’t share your beliefs—but who is otherwise a positive connection—remember that you can choose what you discuss. It is within your power to say, “I don’t think we should talk about politics, religion, or social issues” if you know those will result in bad feelings rather than a positive relationship.
What are your suggestions for satisfying the need for caring/belonging?

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