Thoughtful: Forging Daily Connections with a New App

In today’s digital age, it seems like there’s an app for everything. Whether it’s tracking your steps, meditating, or staying hydrated, there’s a solution for almost every aspect of self-care. However, one area that has been lacking is an app that reminds you to reach out and connect with your friends. That’s where the new app, Thoughtful, comes in.

Launching today, Thoughtful aims to make social interaction a regular habit by offering tips and suggestions for connecting with friends in small, manageable ways on a daily basis. Research has shown that regular correspondence and responsiveness are key to maintaining strong connections, and Thoughtful is designed to facilitate that.

The idea for the app came from psychiatrist Samantha Boardman, MD, who recognized the importance of those “micro-moments” of checking in and showing up for people. According to Dr. Boardman, relationships are like marathons, not sprints, and it’s the little gestures that sustain friendships over time.

But let’s face it, remembering to reach out to friends can be challenging, especially when our schedules are packed. And after a year of social isolation due to the pandemic, our social skills may be a bit rusty. Loneliness has become an epidemic in our country, affecting people of all age groups, according to the U.S. surgeon general.

Thoughtful aims to address this by reducing the friction of reaching out to friends. The app starts by assessing your personality through a three-part test called the Connection Style test. Developed in partnership with psychiatrists, this test evaluates how you behave, view, and communicate in your relationships. The goal is to tailor the app’s suggestions based on your natural preferences, so that reaching out feels like something you want to do.

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The test categorizes users into five connection archetypes: Seeker, Organizer, Enthusiast, Truth Teller, and Cultivator. Each archetype represents a different way of being in relationships and comes with its own strengths and challenges. For example, Seekers are deeply empathetic but can get caught up in their feelings, while Organizers are detail-oriented problem-solvers but may take on too much responsibility.

Based on your connection style, the app provides personalized prompts for reaching out, remembering important dates, and reflecting on your friendships. Each time you open the app, you’ll be met with three prompts tailored to your connection archetype. For example, if you’re an Enthusiast, you might receive a reminder to say “Hello” to someone, so you don’t overlook important connections while focusing on other things.

The app also encourages you to record specific details and dates from conversations with friends, so that you can receive timely reminders. Whether it’s a coworker’s upcoming theater performance or a friend’s scheduled C-section, Thoughtful helps you keep track of these important events and suggests exactly what to say when you reach out.

In addition to these features, the app offers a vast collection of articles on connection, providing expert advice on how to support friends and family members through major life events. It even prompts you to log memorable moments with your friends, creating a repository of cherished memories that reinforce the importance of your friendships.

Overall, Thoughtful is a valuable tool for anyone looking to prioritize social connection and combat loneliness. By making it easier and more personalized to reach out to friends, the app empowers users to cultivate meaningful relationships in their lives. So next time you’re scrolling through your app store, remember that there’s an app for friendship too.

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