Coronavirus: Alone - Solitude or Isolation?

Overview
Our social nature is part of our humanity. People tend to like being with other people, and many of us need other people in order to be healthy and happy. The feeling of being alone can weigh heavily on an individual. Yet, for some people, solitude is tranquil, relaxing, and even spiritually rewarding. The current need to physically isolate ourselves from others is putting limits on our social connections. While we are being cut off from outside daily connections, some of us are also sharing living space with others and not having the amount of time and space between us that we’re used to. What is this experience like for you?

Related Resources
  • Learn all about Living Room Conversations here.
  • Visit our Coronavirus Resource Page here
  • View our tip sheet for hosting your own conversation here
  • Sign up to get involved with Living Room Conversations here

Round 1 (~5 minutes)

Introductions: Why We're Here

Each participant has 1 minute to introduce themselves.
 
Share your name, where you live, what drew you here, and if this is your first conversation.
Round 2 (~5 minutes)

Conversation Agreements: How We'll Engage

These will set the tone of our conversation; participants may volunteer to take turns reading them aloud.
 
Be curious and listen to understand.
Conversation is as much about listening as it is about talking. You might enjoy exploring how others’ experiences have shaped their values and perspectives.
  
Show respect and suspend judgment.
People tend to judge one another. Setting judgement aside opens you up to learning from others and makes them feel respected and appreciated. Try to truly listen, without interruption or crosstalk.
  
Note any common ground as well as any differences.
Look for areas of agreement or shared values that may arise and take an interest in the differing beliefs and opinions of others.
  
Be authentic and welcome that from others.
Share what’s important to you. Speak from your experience. Be considerate of others who are doing the same.
  
Be purposeful and to the point.
Do your best to keep your comments concise and relevant to the question you are answering. Be conscious of sharing airtime with other participants.
  
Own and guide the conversation.
Take responsibility for the quality of your participation and the conversation as a whole. Be proactive in getting yourself and others back on track if needed. Use an agreed upon signal like the “time out” sign if you feel the agreements are not being honored.
Round 3 (~8 minutes)

Question Set #1: Get to Know Each Other

Each participant can take 1-2 minutes to answer one of these questions:

  • What are your hopes and concerns for your family, community and/or the country?
  • What would your best friend say about who you are?
  • What sense of purpose / mission / duty guides you in your life?
Round 4 (~2 minutes)

Read the Topic Overview

One participant can volunteer to read the topic description.

Our social nature is part of our humanity. People tend to like being with other people, and many of us need other people in order to be healthy and happy. The feeling of being alone can weigh heavily on an individual. Yet, for some people, solitude is tranquil, relaxing, and even spiritually rewarding. The current need to physically isolate ourselves from others is putting limits on our social connections. While we are being cut off from outside daily connections, some of us are also sharing living space with others and not having the amount of time and space between us that we’re used to. What is this experience like for you?
Round 5 (~25 minutes)

Question Set #2: Listen and Share to Understand

Take ~2 minutes each to answer a question below without interruption or crosstalk. The group may choose to have everyone answer: A) whichever question speaks to them individually or B) the same question with an option to pass. Once everyone has answered, the group may take a few minutes for any clarifying or follow up questions/responses. Continue exploring with other topic or related questions as time allows.

  • What are your best experiences of being alone?
  • Are there times when being alone has been difficult for you?
  • What has been a positive experience of aloneness for you? What has been a negative experience?
  • If you are living with others, how are you experiencing the limited connection outside your space coupled with more exposure to a few individuals?
  • How are you coping with this experience?
  • What are you learning from this experience?
Round 6 (~10 minutes)

Question Set #3: Reflect on the Conversation

Take 2 minutes to answer one of the following questions:

  • What was most meaningful / valuable to you in this Living Room Conversation?
  • What learning, new understanding or common ground was found on the topic?
  • How has this conversation changed your perception of anyone in this group?
  • Is there a next step you would like to take based upon the conversation?
Round 7 (~5 minutes)

Say Goodbye and Take the Survey

Each participant should say goodbye to the group, then complete one of more of the following next steps (we especially appreciate your feedback!): 

  • Give us feedback! Find our feedback form here.
  • Donate! Make more of these possible; give here.
  • Join or host more conversations! With a) this group by exchanging your emails; b) others in person and/or by video call online. Get more involved or learn how to host here.