Over the past decade, the field of social neuroscience has revealed, through research, that the need for humans to connect with other people plays a much more significant role than originally thought.
As renowned social psychologist, Dr. Matthew Lieberman, states,
“Our need to connect with other people is even more fundamental and more basic than our need for food or shelter.”
In his book Social: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connect, Lieberman asserts that the human brain uses the bulk of its spare time to learn about the social world — other people and our relation to them. He states that if it takes 10000 hours to master a skill, each of us has spent at least 10000 hours learning to make sense of people and groups by the time we are 10 years old.
There is no doubt that we all need to feel a sense of connection and belonging in our lives, both personally and professionally. Regardless of our personality type, we all seek connection and contact with others. The three personality types can be found below.
Extrovert: energized by socializing in larger groups of people, having many friends
Ambivert: a person who feels equally fulfilled whether they're out in a crowd or at home alone reading a book
Introvert: feel more comfortable focusing on their inner thoughts and ideas, rather than what's happening externally. They enjoy spending time with just one or two people, rather than large groups or crowds.
Calibrating Your Dose Accordingly
Whether you are an introvert, ambivert, or extrovert, it’s through connection with others that you either gain energy or have energy sapped from you.
If you were to think about the people you surround yourself with, how might this apply to you?
Do the people you choose to spend time with provide you with positive, uplifting energy or do these interactions sap you of your energy?
According to the social neuroscience research, it is important to continually assess the relationships we have in our lives in order to learn how to best navigate these connections. Who we choose to spend our time with matters, as it impacts the amount of energy we receive through these interactions.
By deliberately calibrating how much time we spend with them, we have the opportunity to take more control of our own social and emotion well-being.
Over the next week, try to bring more self-awareness to the relationships that you have in your life. No need to change anything at all. Just endeavor to spend a bit more time reflecting on the daily interactions in your life.
Assess the amount of time you are spending with others, who you are spending time with, and the type of energy you receive from those interactions.
Do these interactions lift you up and provide you with a sense of positive energy? Do they leave you feeling that you matter? Are these interactions reciprocal in nature? And lastly, knowing your own personality type, what is the right amount of time to spend with these people?
It’s not always possible to control who you spend time with and for how long. However, as a general rule of thumb, knowing your personality type and consistently calibrating the amount of time spent with people who buoy you up is a very important step toward feeling a deeper sense of fulfillment and well-being in your life.
Thanks for reading.
KAUST Faculty, Pedagogical Coach. Presenter & Workshop Leader.IB Educator. #RunYourLife podcast host.