Football. Badminton. Rugby. Laser tag. Curling.

There’s nothing quite like the excitement and drama of sports, though the jury’s still deliberating on the veracity of the United States Curling Association’s claim that curling is an actual sport… I simply cannot wait until we’re able to watch (and play) sports again!

As much fun as the aforementioned sports are to play, imagine showing up to play football only to find an empty field. Attempting a team sport by yourself is anything but fun. It’s kind of sad, actually. Just like you can’t enjoy the fullness of football alone, it’s impossible to experience a meaningful existence on this planet in isolation. God created us with the capacity and craving for relationships. Without them, we languish. With them, we thrive.

The Bible addresses the importance of relationships in Ecclesiastes 4. Consider these words of wisdom…

There is a person without a companion, without even a son or brother, and though there is no end to all his struggles, his eyes are still not content with riches. “Who am I struggling for,” he asks, “and depriving myself of good things?” This too is futile and a miserable task. Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts. For if either falls, his companion can lift him up; but pity the one who falls without another to lift him up. Also, if two lie down together, they can keep warm; but how can one person alone keep warm? And if someone overpowers one person, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not easily broken. Ecclesiastes 4:8–12 CSB

So, if connection and friendship are in short supply, here are some helpful tips to get you on the path to living a joyful life with others:

1. Join a group. Find a group of people who have similar interests and join the conversation while waiting for social-distancing measures to be relaxed. Websites like MeetUp.com and apps like Panion can help you make those connections.
2. Get plugged in at church. As a follower of Jesus, this is the best place to find people just like you (parents, single adults, married people, used-to-be married people, hipsters, hopefuls, grandparents, etc.), meet people who genuinely care for you, and find a place to call home. Why wouldn’t you want to spend time with people like that?!
3. Designate times to stop scrolling. To borrow a line from the great Ferris Bueller, “life moves pretty fast”. Take some time to engage with the people in your immediate geographical circle. I’ve found actual conversations much more rewarding than their virtual counterparts.
4. Find a wingman. This is for the introverts among us. You can spot us pretty easily — we’re the ones at the back of the room with our backs against the wall. Having a trusted friend close by helps make awkward social engagements slightly less catastrophic (and a whole lot more fun).
5. Practice listening. This one is for extroverts. God wired you to be the life of the party, but balance that with listening to the people around you — sometimes the best thing you can do for a friend is offer an attentive ear.
6. Smile. You’d be amazed at how quickly a smile can break through a hard-as-titanium heart. A warm smile is a fantastic conversation starter, even while maintaining a 6’ distance at the grocery store.

So what’s the holdup? Are you willing to risk going through the adventure of life with others? I hope so–after all, that’s how God created you!


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