The social biome: how to build nourishing friendships – and banish loneliness - Deepstash
The social biome: how to build nourishing friendships – and banish loneliness

The social biome: how to build nourishing friendships – and banish loneliness

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The social biome

Much like our gut microbiome - the diverse ecosystem of bacteria and other microbes in our gastrointestinal system that keeps us healthy when balance - so our social biome is the unique ecosystem of relationships and interactions that keep us emotionally, psychologically and physically healthy.

The term contains the pattern of social interactions throughout your life, the who, what you talk about, and how you communicate.


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We need quantity and variety of relationships

We need a variety of social biome, for example, deep and meaningful conversations with a good friend, small talk with a colleague, and swapping memes with a group of old school friends.

The variety can lead to thriving, where you have all your social needs taken care of, but if the balance is off, you may feel lonely and socially malnourished.


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Benefits of an extending network

An ever-extending network of relationships called the family, the community, the nation, the globe can bring extraordinary benefits if we let it.

Research shows that the best single predictor for your psychological and physical wellbeing and health is the number and quality of friendships you have.


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What a healthy social biome looks like

Research found that people with a higher sense of well-being had more frequent and longer interactions.

  • They had meaningful conversations two-and-a-half times more often than those with the least healthy social biomes.
  • They had two-thirds of interactions with close friends and family, where those with the least healthy social biomes less than half.
  • Most surprising, they felt good, connected, and happy to be alone.


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Small talk and time alone

  • Small talk: Easy, quick and friendly small talk is good for mood regulation, such as asking a colleague about their weekend or chatting about the traffic with a waiter.
  • Time alone: Healthy people don't function by having more frequent and longer conversations with their friends and family. Alone time is part of a healthy biome.


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Tips for improving your social biome

From the moment you don't see a friend with the frequency you used to, the friendship's quality starts to decline.

  • Don't forget about Zoom. Continue to wave awkwardly on video calls when you can only communicate online.
  • Invite people to things. Invite people you don't know well but would like to know better to coffee, a party, or a gallery.
  • Climb the ladder of communication. The lowest rung is browsing social media, then direct messaging a group, then a direct message to people you want to keep in touch with, then phone calls and video chat, and the top rung is face-to-face conversation.


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"And in the end, the love you take, is equal to the love you make…" ~ The Beatles

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