When I was a kid, my best friend was whoever I went to school with. Friendships like that were all about proximity – I saw them everyday, so after a million trial and errors with everyone in my class, I found my people.
Ok, that’s a simplified version of friendship at school. How many of us remember it was NEVER that easy to find ‘our people’? But once we did – whether it was happened while we travelled, through sports, or through family –we knew we belonged.
Enter adulthood. And without the mandated proximity of school or university, it’s a lot more difficult to find and make quality friends. Not only are our schedules packed full, but we don’t have capacity to foster shallow relationships anymore. We want real connection – so where do we find it?
Building friendships isn’t easy. But we start by joining a community group or making conversation with people in our community. Think of the person who walks their dog every day, or get to know your barista. Take advantage of the everyday opportunities to connect with people and see what develops. Here are 7 steps to help you get there:
- Be intentional
If you want to be known by this person, they need to feel known by you. Be intentional in your conversations with them and make time to catch up; not just in a group setting but one on one. Meaningful relationships start with the decision to be intentional.
- Ask them about themselves
There’s nothing more awkward than having a conversation with someone, only to realise they talked about themselves the whole time. Take a genuine interest in your friend’s life and ask them open ended questions like, “Tell me about our family,” or “What motivated you to work in (said industry)?” If you have something in common (children, pets, a favourite movie), you have the building blocks of friendship.
- Be light
A relationship that is too intense too fast isn’t healthy for anyone, so leave moments for the light, mundane and fun. Participate in group activities, go to the movies, talk about the TV show you love to watch, or have coffee and cake. A good friend knows how to have fun and embrace every moment, no matter how heavy or light it may be.
- Practice honesty
If something is concerning you and a person is displaying unhealthy habits (passive aggressive or egocentric tendencies, a lack of care for themselves), speak up. A meaningful relationship must be based on more than just peace and agreeableness; it needs to be built on truth.
- Remember important details
This is far easier said than done, but there is value in a friend remembering a birthday, an anniversary, an important event, or a concern you discussed the last time you caught up. Get to know more about what makes a person tick by asking them about significant events, family occasions, the lives of their children and their spouse.
- Be open
We have a tendency to be guarded in our relationships, especially when we have been hurt in the past. Give yourself permission to be cautious but open. Leave a crack in the door so others can see part of your life, and as your relationship builds allow this openness to increase.
- Be genuine
Don’t put on a show for people, saying and doing what you think they want in a friend. Focus on being authentic, showing them your real interests and passions, your strengths and weaknesses. By doing this, you give them permission to be ‘real’ with you, and this gives your relationships the space to deepen and grow.
Do you want to build meaningful relationships in your life? Contact Colleen on 0434 337 245 or Duncan on 0434 331 243 for a FREE 10 minute consultation. If you are ready to book an appointment with Colleen, click BOOK ONLINE NOW.