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During quarantine, my friends and I played trivia via Zoom. The topics of the game all related to personal facts about ourselves and our friends—with questions like “What are your childhood nicknames?” and “What is one terrible movie you have seen that you think no one else in the group has seen?” It was as funny as it was enlightening at times. We laughed when it was obvious to whom the questions related, and were surprised when we learned some facts we didn’t know about another person in the group. The game was also a reminder that we can learn about ourselves and each other through unexpected facts, and that such knowledge can lead to greater connections with each other.

This week’s content looks at the unexpected ways knowledge about ourselves and others can lead to strengthened relationships and healthier connections. In “When She Knew,” one woman shares how her boyfriend’s acknowledgement of her love for coffee strengthened her understanding of his care for her, and ultimately their relationship. One longform piece explores how teaching teaching teen girls about their cycles leads to the unexpected result of less teenage sex, and a whole host of other healthy benefits. And another longform looks at how the quarantine led to getting to know our neighbors more, and how that might be an important cure for the crisis of loneliness in our culture. Finally, an “In Her Shoes” interview shares the experience of a woman who has bipolar disorder and how knowledge of the ways it manifests in her allows her to have greater management of the disorder and her daily life.

We invite you to join the conversation, too. What is something you’ve learned about yourself this year, and how has it strengthened your relationships or improved your daily life? Let us know here and we may feature your response in our “Over a Cup of Coffee” section in our daily email