How the pandemic is affecting our social network

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What makes our ties weak or strong?

Weak ties are becoming harder to come by

The danger of only keeping strong ties

Value of weak ties

Photo by Daniel Herron on Unsplash

From Granovetter’s research, we see the benefit in weak ties. That although these weak ties don’t share the same interests as us, and are too far away to be close friends. Within this lies the key for them to actually leave a profound effect on our life.

Due to the fact they are not within your small bubble, they will enable you to be exposed to new ideas, meet new people, understand and be open to different cultures. Going out of your comfort zone. They understand the things which you don’t. Weak ties are like bridges where you can’t see on the other side because you don’t know where they may lead.

It is not just about the opportunities our weak ties bring but also connecting with these ties increases our own ability to communicate. When we talk with our family and close friends we speak with a certain jargon that is familiar to us. Our strong ties will tend to use the same phrases as us, this is called restricted speech. We know the person we’re talking to understands our shorthand way of speaking. We say more with less. Being around our strong ties too much can limit who and what we know, how we talk and how we think.

Weak ties on the other hand force us to communicate from a place of difference, to use elaborated speech. This does not make the assumption that the listener thinks in the same way as us. As a result, we are required to be much more thoughtful in our engagement with weak ties, needing greater organisation, and thoughtful reflection. This develops us in a key way, improving our socialising ability, giving us a well-rounded personality with the ability to live harmoniously at a time where we see increasing globalisation.

The people we know the least turn out to be the most transformative in our life.

Finding new ways to connect with weak ties

Weak ties are too valuable for us to lose. We, therefore, need to try and find new ways to cultivate these relationships. The only way I can see us still being able to communicate with others is through social media. This has proven a useful tool in having conversations with weak ties. Where you find the value that doesn’t require much emotional pressure and has meaning.

Take this time where the world has seemingly been put on pause to reach out to someone you haven’t spoken to in a while. Make your way across the bridge, and uncover something you didn’t know already.

May Allah increase your ranks in this world and the next! Ameen!

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