1. Hi Christie – I completely agree with the need for social interaction to keep our minds healthy but I had to laugh at your example about going to a party – every single thing you listed that our brain tries to figure out before going is why I’ve come to the point of wanting to avoid parties these days! Still, coffee dates and family get togethers still count for interaction, and covid isn’t as big a deal here in Australia, so hopefully I’m ticking all the boxes. Great post.

    • I completely understand, Leanne. I typically prefer smaller groups…or at least smaller groups within a large party…as well. Small groups and family get togethers definitely count for interaction and stimulate the brain. The COVID infections are decreasing here, and my husband and I are both fully vaccinated, so we are slowly reconnecting with people in real life. I must say I enjoy it…or at least appreciate it…more now.

  2. I agree that social interaction helps keep your brain young, but I don’t think it has to be among close friends to make the interactions count. I find that just a fast chat with a stranger who I stand in line behind in the grocery keeps me feeling alert and connected. Talking with friends is great, of course– but short of that give me some micro-conversations, you know?

  3. Hi Christie, as an introvert, I mostly avoid large crowds, but I love small gatherings. Lately, I have been getting together with a few friends each week to play Mahjongg. The interaction and the game are stimulating. This week I will go to book club for the first time in a year. That should be fun. The plan is to s-l-o-w-l-y emerge from the bubble…taking care to choose wisely. I agree with Ally about chatting with strangers. Sometimes that might be just the thing to turn a dull day into a pleasant one.

    • Good for you, Suzanne. When it comes to stimulating the brain, you’ve got the two-punch combo going…interacting with friends and playing a stimulating game. Sounds perfect. And then the book club is also working the brain and socializing at the same time. Enjoy!

  4. Being double-dosed and having friends who are also, we’ve been upping our social interactions lately. We are still cautious and avoid large crowds but it really does feel great. I don’t know about brain health, but it does make my heart happier. 🙂

  5. Hi, Christie – I so agree about the importance of social interaction and its positive effect on our brains and our overall health. During the pandemic restrictions, it has taken creativity to stay safe and stay social. But as you said, with technology like Zoom (etc) it is doable — and I am very grateful!

    • Hello Donna and welcome back! I hope you enjoyed your blogging break. Technology has been key to staying connected during the pandemic and for some of us who are technologically challenged, just figuring that out has worked our brains as well. Win-win!

  6. Cindy

    It’s funny, I’m an introvert in a big crowd of strangers, but not so much with people I like and know. Maybe that’s just normal. In school I was painfully shy. I’m not nearly as bad as I used to be.
    I’m headed to Texas with my 2 daughters for a long weekend, so I see lots of social interaction in my future!

  7. This has been a topic on a couple of blogs I read… and there was a link to a study that “proves” social isolation has a negative impact on cognitive ability – among all ages!. It’s a psychology research paper summary so not very exciting to read… but fascinating to me that they were able to measure it!

    here’s the link: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/acp.3821

    I have definitely heard the impact in my mom – her cognitive decline in the last 18 months has been significant. Yes, she is 87, but the social isolation I think is a bigger factor.

    • Thanks for that link, Pat. I will check it out. I think this past year of limited social interaction has had an impact on all of us, but especially those who live alone or in assisted living centers and were cut off from their loved ones. My hope is that we all have learned to appreciate the importance of our connection with other people. Wishing all the best for you and your mom.

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