Skip to main content

Made To Connect Cards Deck

Below are some action cards for you to reflect on and strengthen your social connections. The self-reflection exercises are meant to help you reflect and connect with yourself. Give these a try!

Download the Made to Connect Cards

Expressing Gratitude

Communicating your appreciation for individuals or groups that are important to you can be a powerful reinforcement of your bond. Research shows that practicing gratitude in our daily lives is linked to reduced feelings of loneliness and stronger social bonds.

The Relationship Between Gratitude and Loneliness: The Potential Benefits of Gratitude for Promoting Social Bonds, Caputo, 2015

Gratitude, Emmons, Froh, Rose, 2019

Close Bonds

Expressing Gratitude

Think of a time you felt a strong bond with someone in your life. Consider the ways this experience made you feel close and connected with them.

Share this memory with that person and thank them for being in your life.

Quality Compliments

Expressing Gratitude

Engage a friend, colleague or loved one in conversation and bring up a positive thing that the person has done for you or others in the past.

How did it feel to remember this person and thank them? Who else might you express gratitude to?

Three Good Things

Expressing Gratitude

Think about a positive relationship in your life. Write down three good things about the relationship.

Notice how you feel as you think deeply about your connection. Consider sharing your reflections with that person.

Giving Support

Sharing Presence

Giving Support

Give the gift of time to someone you care about—whether it means doing something with them or something for them.

How does it feel to be fully present with another individual? Do you feel more connected to one another as a result of being actively present?

Acts of Service

Giving Support

Think of some acts of service you can do for a friend or loved one going through a difficult time, and reach out to offer support. Some ideas are: dropping off dinner, helping them with household chores, or going on a walk with them.

Do you feel more connected to the person knowing you are able to provide support?

Pay it forward

Giving Support

Think about a recent act of kindness that was directed towards you. Make a plan to pass that kindness forward at some point this week. If possible, pass it on to someone new.

Giving to Your Community

Giving Support

Get involved in your community through volunteering alongside others. For ways to find volunteering opportunities, look at the website of some of your favorite charities and causes.

How has volunteering changed your relationship to the place or people around you?

Receiving Support

Seeking and receiving support can have powerful impacts on our health. In fact, research shows that confiding in others helps protect against depression even among people who are already at higher risk due to their history of traumatic or otherwise adverse life experiences.

An Exposure-Wide and Mendelian Randomization Approach to Identifying Modifiable Factors for the Prevention of Depression, Choi, Stein, Nishimi, et al., 2020

Asking for Help

Receiving Support

Think of a situation in your life where you could use a little help. Maybe you are struggling to make a decision or to balance your obligations. Identify a person who’s in the best position to help you and reach out to them.

How did it feel to ask for help?

Accepting Help

Receiving Support

Think about a time when you asked for help and someone in your life came through. Reflect on the lessons you learned from this memory and reach out to ask for support with something you need help with in your current life.

Lean on Me

Receiving Support

Who in your life can you depend upon and call any time of the day? Who can you reach out to for help during emergencies? Think of a person or two and jot down qualities that make them dependable.

How does it feel knowing you can depend on someone when you are in need?

Deepening Relationships

Relationship quality is a key component of social connection and is linked to greater health and well-being outcomes. Our relationships with family and close friends can be an important source of meaning and purpose in life. Additionally, high-quality relationships can provide access to social support and can help us cope better with stressful situations to minimize their negative impact.

What Makes Life Meaningful? Views From 17 Advanced Economies, Silver, Kessel, Huang, et al., 2021

Why are some individuals more resilient than others: the role of social support, Southwick, Sippel, Krystal, et al., 2016

Connecting Through Laughter

Deepening Relationships

Next time you're with a friend, try making each other laugh. Tell a joke or share a funny memory until you laugh together!

Active Listening

Deepening Relationships

Think of someone you feel comfortable with. Find an opportunity to hang out with them and invite the friend to share what's on their mind.

Practice active listening during your conversation by asking open-ended questions and showing genuine interest. Notice how this makes you feel about your connection with your friend.

Family Ties

Deepening Relationships

Reach out to a parent or older family member. Ask your family questions that you wouldn’t normally ask. Some questions could be: how would people have described you when you were 8 years old? What’s a memory you’ll cherish forever?

Appreciate seeing your relative through new eyes.

Contemplating Shared Experiences

Deepening Relationships

The next time you meet someone new, strike up a conversation to learn about the things you have in common.

How does it make you feel to know you share commonalities with someone you just met?

Building Diverse Connections

It is important to maintain a diversity of relationships with people from varying backgrounds. Research shows that having diversity of relationships is positively associated with health and well-being outcomes. Research also shows that having relationships with people of different socioeconomic statuses is one of the most important predictors of upward economic mobility.

Relational diversity in social portfolios predicts well-being, Collins, Haggerty, Quoidbach, et al., 2022

Social capital I: measurement and associations with economic mobility, Chetty, Jackson, Kuchler, et al., 2022

Social capital II: determinants of economic connectedness, Jackson, Kuchler, et al., 2022

Friendly Smiles

Building Diverse Connections

Try waving or smiling at different people while you are out and about this week. As you do this, reflect on how it makes you feel and how others respond.

Neighborly Chats

Building Diverse Connections

Get to know the names of different people in your community. Try starting conversations with your neighbors or other people you come across.

Practice active listening as you meet and talk to new people.

Connecting More Frequently

Regular social engagements are indicative of greater social connection and are associated with better health outcomes. For example, frequent social interactions are associated with better cognitive function, may protect against the risk of dementia, and may improve hypertension management.

The role of cognitive and social leisure activities in dementia risk: assessing longitudinal associations of modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors, Duffner, Deckers, Cadar, et al., 2022

The Association between Social Engagement, Loneliness, and Risk of Dementia: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis,

Social network resources and management of hypertension, Cornwell, Waite, 2012

Nurture your niche

Connecting More Frequently

Try finding and joining a group or activity related to something you love, like a book club, sports group, or cooking lessons.

If it feels intimidating to join a group, that's ok! Take the first step by making a list of activities you love. Remember it was everyone's first day at some point.

Tiny Moments

Connecting More Frequently

Try reaching out to someone you haven’t connected with in a while. Share some good news, a song, a photo, or a memory you have with that person to rekindle and encourage more frequent connection.

Tiny moments can boost feelings of happiness and connection.

Self-Reflection Exercises

Making Time For Me

Self-Reflection Exercises

Grab a journal or a piece of paper and write a short reflection about your day. What did you notice about yourself when you read it?

Self Love

Self-Reflection Exercises

Find a moment of quiet in your day, and think about some things you love about yourself. This can be anything, big or small, and it’s okay if it takes a moment to think of something.

Can you think of ways you can bring these traits into relationships with others in your life?

Nourish Your Connection Garden

Self-Reflection Exercises

If you ever feel overwhelmed with social obligations, give a moment to yourself. Take a deep breath, and think about something you did recently that you found to be nourishing.

It’s okay to connect at your own pace and make sure you are checking in with yourself from time to time.

We gratefully acknowledge the Workshop for Emotional and Spiritual Technology, a public benefit corporation helping people live more meaningful lives.