Socializing in an Anti-Social World

It’s been a year of zoom calls and we are still in our pajama pants!

In this episode we talk about the struggles of the past year and how our socialization has changed.

Tune in for tips to make socialization more meaningful and less exhausting



Nicki Kirlin, Jenna Fortinski

Jenna Fortinski  00:01

Episode Number seven socializing in an anti social world.

Nicki Kirlin  00:08

I know I think this is a good topic.

Jenna Fortinski  00:11

Me too. And especially, you know, given that we’ve been in a pandemic for a year, seriously cannot believe it’s been a year. It’s, it’s just unbelievable. And if anybody could have ever told us,


like, even lat like, even a year ago, yeah,

Jenna Fortinski  00:29

this is what it was gonna look like. It’s so bizarre. It is truly a bizarre experience. Yeah, I saw on the internet meme that said, you know, a year ago, they said just two weeks and everything will be okay. Oh, my goodness. Actually,

Nicki Kirlin  00:44

I remember reading a story. Somebody, I think it was on Facebook, now that we’re talking about social media. Somebody had shared a story about, I think he was living somewhere else like, and he had already gone through an experience of the pandemic. And they were sort of warning us about what was to come. And I remember reading it, and he was saying about how it had been, like three months or something that they had been living in lockdown. I remember thinking like, Oh, my God, is that what we’re headed for? Like, this just doesn’t even seem real. Right. And here we are a year later. And we’re still sort of living in some version of a lockdown.

Jenna Fortinski  01:23

Yeah, that’s crazy. And thinking there’s no way that’s going to happen here. Yes, exactly. There’s no way. And I remember hearing about the cases in Toronto, where it first started here in Canada for us. And thinking, Okay, well, it’s over there.

Nicki Kirlin  01:39

Yes. Exactly. Yeah, problem. That’s right. Yes. Oh,

Jenna Fortinski  01:43

my goodness. Little did we know.

Nicki Kirlin  01:45

I know. It’s a very strange experience. So socializing, then. And it’s also interesting how the language shifted, right at the beginning of the pandemic, where we were talking about social distancing. And then they switched it. They I put in quotes, they switched it to physical distancing, right, because there was a lot of confusion about the word social. So it’s actually funny that we’re going to be talking about that today. Yeah. And so I guess that first conversation that we can have then is about socializing social media. Why is it important to socialize?

Jenna Fortinski  02:30

Well, I think we’ve, we’ve established quite well, I think, being in the pandemic, I know for myself, that first initial lockdown, from March till, I don’t know, it’s a blur till May is I need need to socialize, I need to connect with other people. So yes, socializing is part of our basic human needs, and it helps us just be who we are. And it contributes to so many things for our well being and our mental health.


So what function does it serve?

Jenna Fortinski  03:12

Well, exactly that is that it keeps us It keeps us level headed, it keeps us grounded, it gives us an opportunity to cheer each other on. It’s that connecting to others, that really helps us understand that, first of all, we’re not alone in how we feel. And, and second of all, that, you know, we have somebody in our corner, or we have somebody that we can connect with to talk about our struggles. Or we can help somebody else with their struggles. So it’s really just gives us that opportunity to do better and to be better when we’re socializing.

Nicki Kirlin  03:49

And so what are the some of the different ways that we can connect and socialize? How do we do that? How do we practice it?

Jenna Fortinski  03:57

Well, I think so are we talking about right now in a pandemic? Or are we talking about prior to pandemic could


be both? Okay, let’s

Nicki Kirlin  04:04

say both.

Jenna Fortinski  04:06

So I think like, as we’ve all learned in this past year, how do we socialize is, you know, we’ve definitely turned to the likes of zoom, Skype, messaging, emailing and it connecting through those modalities. So there’s some sort of buffer that’s in between us connecting with somebody else. And then prior to pandemic, of course, it was, you know, getting together being able to be in each other’s space to have good conversations, go for a coffee. So there’s so many different situations of how we connect with others. I think it’s just been a huge shift in the past year, because of the pandemic.

Nicki Kirlin  04:49

So you’re leading me to my next question, which is sounds good. Yes, socializing is more important now than it’s ever been. Right? Because how because of how things have shifted And it’s also harder to do.

Jenna Fortinski  05:03

Oh my gosh. So

Nicki Kirlin  05:04

why is that?

Jenna Fortinski  05:05

It’s exhausting. It’s exhausting to try to connect with others with this buffer. So when we’re talking about zoom, Skype, messaging, emailing. So there’s that little bit of interruption that doesn’t allow for the true connection, which means that we have to work harder to connect with people. So you’ll probably notice after you have, you know, your Friday night wine night zoom call with your girlfriends, that after you’re exhausted, whereas prior to the pandemic, if you would have went out with your girlfriends on a Friday night, to restaurant to have a couple of drinks, you would have felt so energized and felt like, wow, I can, you know, conquer the world. And I’m so glad I connected with them. So there’s a huge shift, and I’m hoping that a lot of people can relate to this is that it’s normal to feel exhausted, after the interactions we’re having today. We’re out of practice, we’re, we’re not connecting the way we used to. So it’s, it’s exhausting.

Nicki Kirlin  06:14

And I can, yeah,

Jenna Fortinski  06:15

100% relate to that, as I think most of our listeners will be able to, because it is it’s truly different experience. And it’s bizarre, because you think to yourself, well, there’s not really a difference between being on camera, you think you would think right, there wouldn’t be much of a difference between being on camera and then being in person, but for whatever reason, the pressures, the uncomfortability, the technology, the actual physical distance, as you mentioned at the beginning, all of those are make for a different experience from being sort of sitting next to somebody and having that social connection. And I think that, also, I want to say the desperation of where our emotions are at is that we are desperate for a change, we’re desperate for this to end. So that’s going to put the extra stress to perform in front of the people that we love the most to let them know, yeah, like I’m okay. But in behind the scenes, maybe we’re struggling more than we ever have. So I think that puts another barrier in our ability to connect the way we typically would with our friends or our loved ones. That’s a really good point.



Nicki Kirlin  07:27

why do you think we need to connect sort of outside of using social media? options? So like, Why? What’s the difference between sort of connecting in person versus just sending a message over Facebook Messenger or dming? Somebody on Instagram? What’s what, what’s that difference there?

Jenna Fortinski  07:48

Well, I think if we go back to like the restaurant example, versus you know, having a zoom call or a zoom meeting, there’s so much, so much that goes into an interaction or connection with others. And part of that is the energy that’s brought into the room to be able to the ability to see each other to connect physically, to be able to give a friend a hug, or a pat on the arm, you know, to just be in the room with people just gives us that extra level of interaction. So connecting and socializing isn’t only about just, you know, saying a few words, there’s this whole interaction piece, so physically and emotionally, that makes it successful, and also makes it easier. Yeah,

Nicki Kirlin  08:37

I can definitely see that.

Jenna Fortinski  08:40

Things like body language are so important. And when we’re on a zoom call, you know, usually we get like, shoulders off her chest up, right. And so being able to read people’s body language, and also to get their energy, it just, it just helps things and makes it easier. And I think, you know, the pandemic has really proven how much we rely on all those little nuances to keep, you know, our energy and our conversations going and our connections going.

Nicki Kirlin  09:08

But is it possible that there’s folks out there that actually prefer that? Right? Like, we’re

Jenna Fortinski  09:14


Nicki Kirlin  09:15

I would say for you and I we’re coming from a place of saying that we thrive in that situation to be able to connect with somebody on a physical sort of level, but maybe there’s folks out there that actually prefer to be behind a computer screen or, or some sort of screen? Is that possible? For sure.

Jenna Fortinski  09:33

I think that, you know, there’s I know, I have a few clients in my private practice that are secretly celebrating this ability to stay at home and not have to deal with human interaction. Part of me wonders about, you know, the anxiety that’s built up around having to get back to socializing, because we’re out of practice. And that’s something that we’ll talk about a little bit later on, but so part of me would challenge Those thought processes about, you know, I’m celebrating because I get to spend every day and night in the basement on zoom or on the messenger system. Because socializing is important, and even though it might not be your most favorite thing in the world, there’s probably elements to it that you really do enjoy. Even if it is connecting through messenger or Skype or zoom, there’s still that element of I’m connecting with someone and I’m not alone.

Nicki Kirlin  10:31

Right. Okay. So then how can we, I guess, thinking about the situations where we are either going to be moving into a place where we’re going to be socializing again, or if we are socializing in maybe zoom sort of fashion? How can we make it a better or more connected feeling.

Jenna Fortinski  10:55

So there’s, there’s a couple techniques that I’ve thought about and, you know, having, I also do some of my work through zoom, and, and we’ve also had some family sessions on zoom. And I think that there’s a few tricks that we can do while we’re still amongst this pandemic to make it a little bit easier. So one of the things that I think of is set up your call or your meeting time, in a way that you can be present at that time. And in that moment, so making sure that you know, you’ve put those dishes away in the kitchen, or, you know, the kids are settled, or, you know, you finished up your work for the day, and you can truly be present in that meeting and give your energy to that meeting. So that you can really, truly pay attention and not get lost in all your other thoughts. So I think that that’s really important. So really dedicating the time to that specific meeting. So you’re actually

Nicki Kirlin  11:57

being there, you’re participating, you’re present in every sense of the word.



Jenna Fortinski  12:01

And then my hope is, is that by doing that you’re getting a fuller experience. That would be very close to but not the same as you know, being in person with that other person.

Nicki Kirlin  12:14

Because when you’re in person, yeah, you don’t have any of those sort of distractions that you have in that zoom sort of environment.

Jenna Fortinski  12:22

That’s right. Yeah. Yeah. Because Yeah, when you’re at the restaurant with your girlfriends, you’re at the restaurant, you’re having a grand old time, right? Or you’re at the pub with your buddies watching the game. Yeah, that’s what you’re doing is you’re talking about the game. So that you’re not worried about the dishes on the counter, or, you know, what the background and your zoom call looks like? Or Yes, you know, are the kids gonna run by the screen?

Nicki Kirlin  12:43

People, there’s my email popping up, and I need to open out right now. Exactly.

Jenna Fortinski  12:48

That’s right. The other thing is, is when we talk about, you know, setting up meetings with others, and being in this highly emotional state, or, you know, just really feeling like we want a shift is to really make sure that you’re checking your audience, and making sure that you know, who you’re sharing what with, and really thinking about what response you’re wanting, when you’re sharing things with others. So what I mean by that is that if you are talking with a girlfriend that you know, that maybe has just gotten laid off, and you know, she’s got a brand new baby at home, and you want to talk to her about how it’s been really hard for you to do zoom calls all day, and you’re just feeling tired, because you have an empty the dishwasher. And all of this is to really check your audience and see if you can, if it’s appropriate for you to get the response that you want out of that person. Or if maybe you should shift your what you’re wanting to share to somebody else that you know, you can get the response that you want from.

Nicki Kirlin  13:57

So actively paying attention to who you’re talking to, and what you’re talking about. Yeah, consideration of where they’re coming from, what’s going on for them and their lives in that moment. Yeah.

Jenna Fortinski  14:10

So if we’re going to be vulnerable, I want to make sure that, you know, you’re doing it in a safe environment, because we’re already in a highly emotional place right now. We have to be careful about exposing ourselves and being vulnerable in the wrong places. Because there is a lot of hurt that comes with being vulnerable in unsafe places.

Nicki Kirlin  14:33

Yes, and I think that’s a good point. Because I think everybody has, you know, varying degrees as to what’s going on for them emotionally, psychologically, our plates are full right now. So it’s, it’s challenging times for sure. So then my final question for today is about something that we touched on earlier in the episode around, thinking about sort of getting out into the world of socializing again. Yeah, it’s a little bit strange to think about. doing that, again, whether it is going out to restaurant or whatever that’s going to look like? Is it normal to feel kind of anxious and nervous about doing that? Again,

Jenna Fortinski  15:10

definitely, I think we’re all out of practice. And I think, you know, the, the zoom calls are probably going to haunt us for a little bit in terms of how we interact with each other. But for sure, and I do want to really normalize, you know, the anxiety and the worry that’s going to come with, you know, the world reopening and being able to socialize and be amongst other people, and how to do a good job. So we do expect that that’s going to be just as exhausting, as the zoom calls are right now. So it is expected for us to be especially tired, even after going to the restaurant with our girlfriends or going to the pub for a game. It is expected for you to be exhausted, and to not be sure and to be worried. So all those feelings are very normal. And it’s so important that we talk about how we’re feeling. So you know, and I think if you were to say how you’re feeling your friends are probably echoing the same stuff and your family as well. So really just normalizing all those feelings that come with society potentially opening up again. Okay.

Nicki Kirlin  16:24

Excellent. Well, I think we’ve kind of covered the surface of some of the pieces around socializing. We talked about a few things in this episode around understanding why socializing is important. And having that connection, it’s a basic human need. And we talked a little bit about how socialized socialization has sort of shifted, how it looks different now than it’s more different now than it’s ever looked. And how we have to work maybe just a little bit harder for those connections to be the same as what they were sort of pre pandemic. Is there anything else, Jenna that you want to touch on before we close out this episode?

Jenna Fortinski  17:05

So I think that, again, normalizing how we’re all feeling. So normalizing that yes, we are all in a highly emotional state right now. And we have been for a very long time. So that’s exhausting. And, you know, it does kind of create this cycle effect of, you know, really being in a state of hoping for things to end and things aren’t ending. And, you know, like, we hope, and then we get crushed, and then we hope and we get crushed. So it’s exhausting. So please, everybody, be patient with each other. And you know, if somebody is being vulnerable with you, and you aren’t in a place to receive it, then just let them know and say, You know what, I do care about you. And I am looking forward to be able to have this conversation with you. I just can’t do it right now. So really just connecting with people and letting them know how you’re feeling when it’s appropriate. And to know that you’re not alone, everybody is feeling the same way or similarly. So please don’t feel like you’re alone. And if you feel like you’re struggling more than what you should be, then please reach out for support. There’s lots of programs and there’s private practice that you can reach out to so please just don’t feel like you’re alone and and know that there is somebody that you can talk to. And I am hopeful for the future for all of us that we can get back to those Friday nights at the restaurants and those games that the pops and wings and all those delicious things.

Nicki Kirlin  18:34

Me too. definitely helpful for that. Okay, thank you so much, Jennifer, another fantastic episode. I think it was a good one and hopefully our listeners will be able to relate to some of the things that we’ve chatted about today. So our next episode, we’re going to be focusing on infertility and loss. So I think that’ll be a good one. Again, something that I think many people can relate to. Do you want to take us through to our quote to finish off?

Jenna Fortinski  19:02

Yes, so our quote this week is from Brene Brown, and it is, connection doesn’t exist without giving and receiving. We need to give and we need to need.