TED Conversations

Lisa Cook

President and Founder, Plan B Connections

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How do you build offline meaningful social connections?

There are many life transitions which trigger the necessity to make new friends- a geographic move, retirement, new job, divorce, etc. How does one establish meaningful friendships - relationships where you both are able to talk about what's really happening in your life rather than Facebook-type status updates?

The US and other nations are seeing an increase in the numbers of people living alone and studies are showing increased loneliness in society as a whole- it affects people regardless of age and marital status. For all those seeking meaningful social connections and stronger social ties, this is an important question. I think building social capital is very important. What is the glue that makes for meaningful social connections?


Closing Statement from Lisa Cook

I was fortunate to have the chance to share my story at TEDxMahtomedi!

Hope you'll watch my talk and share your ideas on making meaningful connections. Let's keep the conversation going!


Lisa Cook

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  • Feb 19 2013: What about first beginning with no online "connective relationships"?
    That might help urge one to seek the real thing instead of the phantom illusion so many fall for.
    One might even be able to use social media as a method of sorting through those you meet, to try and find a real one, meaning one worth pursuing.
    If they want to know your Twitter, FB accounts and so on, forget'em.

    I'm not one to talk (well, I actually talk or spew too much), probably because I have never had a friend in my life.
    That means no community, no one to talk to, no one to connect with. Bonding is an experience I have absolutely no idea what it feels like.
    I do notice however, that when I am out there in the world, the less I think of me and the more interest I show in others, the more people gravitate to me. At the end of the day though, I feel extreme loneliness and now realize that must have been the reason for my coming here to earth. My early childhood was painful loneliness and it has never ended. Soon it will.

    Did anyone see the film, "Into the Wild"? Based on a true story about a young man who had the emptiness, the broken or never connected connection, so bad that he gave up a successful school education and promising future along with his somewhat considerable inheritance, to head to the wild in hopes he would find what he needed. I don't think he really knew what it was. His travels throughout America on his way to Alaska brought him in contact with many people, from different walks of life, experiences and so on.
    It struck me, that before he finally reached the Alaskan wilderness where he thought he would find what he was looking for, and in fact died a horrible, painful death from both starvation (physical) and loneliness (spiritual), he found everything he needed and was looking for in the people he met, who loved him, accepted him and connected with him, but he never recognized it!
    He couldn't I guess, or he would have. That's strange.

    Isolation: the cure for loneliness
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      Feb 22 2013: It sounds like it's very hard to seek those connections if you're not quite sure what they feel like or what you're looking for. It is also my experience that the more interest I show in others, the more interest they show in me. I've always seen that as a good thing, perhaps the first way to show someone that I come in friendship rather than self-interest. But still, that vulnerability can be exhausting.

      I wish you all the best!

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