The ingredients of connectedness
Connectedness is composed of a mix of two ingredients: positive relationships and solidarity.
Relatedness refers to the ability to build and maintain positive relationships with others. These include friendships, romantic relationships, and bonds with your parents, fellow students and flatmates. They are relationships in which you can call on each other when needed: you can rely on the other, and they can rely on you. Positive relationships consist of trust, empathy and intimacy.
The main characteristic of a positive relationship is the support you are able to give others - within the limits of your own possibilities - while being supported yourself, for instance by protecting others or making sure they feel better. This can be hidden in little things, like cooking your friend a good meal or letting a fellow student borrow your notes.
Not the quantity, but the quality is essential. In other words, the extent to which you feel connected to others is more important than the number of relationships or contacts you have.
Relatedness also concerns engagement in your community or neighbourhood. Through this commitment you find meaning and experience a sense of belonging and unity with others.
You can feel connected to a group in which you feel ‘at home’ like your youth movement, flatmates, college/university, friends from secondary school, etc., but also to a larger culture or particular subculture such as the LGBTQI+ movement, a political party, a religion or a climate protest.
It has been proven that those who are committed to others (for instance through volunteering) experience more positive feelings like happiness, joy and pride.