We are stepping outside, feeling the sunshine (or rain) on our faces, and finding ways to re-engage in the world. Some of us pull the door open with enthusiasm, ready to jump right back in. Many of us peek outside, try to remember what it was like to have a conversation that didn’t involve a mute button, and step cautiously out into the world. Whatever your comfort level with re-engaging may be, these tips will help you connect more successfully. 

Start with you

Our physical and mental health is our first and highest priority. Whether you are back out in the world in a big way or want to begin re-engaging slowly, start with you. Don’t put off healthcare and self-care; arrange for your annual checkups, visit your dentist, and get a great haircut. You’ll be engaging with only a few people – and in spaces that are among the cleanest and safest. 

Go where you’re understood

When we moved to Hamburg Germany for work, looking for housing in a new city and foreign language was a challenge. The best advice we got was from other expats who urged us to move to Othmarshen, where the International School was located. It was recommended not only because of the school (we didn’t have children at the time) but because the locals and shopkeepers were familiar with and friendly to Americans. They understood us and their English is good. Othmarschen was our beautiful home for 3 years. As we go back out into the world, go where people understand you. For some people that means the comfort of a place we regularly frequent and are recognized. For other people it means a culture where they speak your language. When you re-engage in the world, go where you’re understood and appreciated. 

Go with a friend

The world is not made for singles, and it isn’t getting easier now. Restaurants want to seat at least two people; singles are welcomed off hours, if they are open or have available seating. Concerts and events are sold in pods of 2, 4, or 6. Not only are we accommodated better and more welcomed when not alone, but it’s a good way to get back into the habit of being with people. If you’re weary, start easy. Go for a short duration and stay outside. Have coffee, lunch, or a walk – and work up to all of the above with several people, either sequentially, or as a group. There’s no one like friends. Invite one out today

Join a group 

Joining a group activity is a great way to get to know people with similar interests. It’s often through these activities that we meet some of our favorite people and good friends. People often tell me how energized they are when interacting with a group of people with a similar interest. Millennials are playing pickup basketball and meeting people with like interests online. Swimmers are taking advanced lessons and joining local swim teams. Bikers are back on the road with bike groups. Walkers are joining walking groups and readers are (re)joining book clubs. Some people start with attending one event – a speaker at your local bookstore or library, or a musical event at a park or outdoor venue. Whether it’s sports, swimming across the sound, learning a foreign language, or taking up a new creative skill, join a group.

Break back into networking

Whether it’s one-on-one or in a group, invite someone you know, recently met online, or haven’t seen in person for a while out for coffee or lunch. Keep it simple, respect your space needs and theirs, and make the effort to get out from behind your screen. Go to a local or industry networking event. I’ve been to a few outdoor networking groups this summer that were fun and energizing. It’s a good way to start talking to strangers again and re-engage in the world.

Whether you’re ready or holding back, there are ways to be out in the world that are safe, fun, and energizing.  If you’re in the NYC/CT area, invite me and I’ll meet you there.

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