Last night I went to a birthday get together for a good friend of mine. It was different from most get-togethers because there were only seven of us, total. We sat around, we talked, we shared food. I got to know five people I had never met before in a way impossible if the group was even twice that size, let alone the common 20 or 30 for birthdays.
I asked my friend at the end of the night why he chose to have a party like that. He said he doesn't have family here in Canada so he has to be more deliberate about building those close family-like relationships and that this was one way to do it. He inherently understood that a more intimate get together would make for more meaningful connection.
We all understand that. Think about a time you spoke to a dozen people at a party and compare it to when you spoke to one in a corner having a great conversation.
Deep and meaningful relationships simply can't be built quickly and in passing. They take time and attention. But when so much of our 'connecting' happens in a rush or through social media (where we are encouraged to scroll through as many people as possible, by design) it's easy to forget.
I've been thinking a lot about this in the context of Revere. With all the talk of depression and loneliness epidemics, it's as if we've forgotten how to build the kinds of relationships that make us feel connected and important. We've been focusing on quantity not quality of relationships and it's making us feel bad.
Last night's dinner reaffirmed to me that you don't need hundreds of friends to feel connected. If you have small handful – like my friend does – you'll never feel lonely again.