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Building Connections with Others: the Barriers and the Benefits

I spent three days last weekend making some new connections in a group setting over a three day learning intensive. Building new relationships and connecting with people in a deep way takes time and effort and one of the conversations we had, as we formed our connections in the group,  was about the challenge of forming close relationships that have meaning in the context of our increasingly busy lives. Added to that, we thought the impact of the more superficial communication that occurs on social media may be influencing off line communication too.

Perhaps we have forgotten how to be vulnerable and open with others. Perhaps we have forgotten how to sit and be with, and there for, others. Perhaps we are unwilling to experience the emotional discomfort that accompanies forming a significant friendship. Perhaps we don’t want to show our true selves for fear of judgement. This is a worrisome thought as social isolation and loneliness have the potential to negatively impact our general mental and physical health.

I wrote the poem below as a way of processing my learnings about the journey of becoming known and of knowing others and how important that is. I would love to hear your thoughts.

To Be Known


To be known

Is the greatest gift.

To be known is to be seen

And understood

In ones full specialness

And marvellous oddity


Becoming known is to be exposed

To be seen raw

To feel less than,

Not enough.

To wonder ‘what do they think of me?’

To feel afraid and



Becoming known is

To be vulnerable

To risk

Being misheard,

Misunderstood, misinterpreted.

To have meanings made that were not meant.

To feel exposed.


Becoming known

Takes courage

And sometimes wine.

To challenge, to debate,

Agree, and disagree

To try and understand

To feel open hearted


Becoming known is

To be open, curious, accepting

To laugh and to cry.

Enjoying moments upon moments


A two way street

To feel connected


To be known

Is friendship

Is love

To be known and to know

Is familiarity, and comfort.

Like the relief of coming home.





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