Just like good nutrition, strong relationships are an essential part of a healthy life. When you build a network of friends and family, you’ll generally be safer, happier, and even smarter. There will be more opportunities for entertainment and work. And most rewardingly, you’ll be able to provide all of those things for others. Here’s how you can start or strengthen your connections.
1. PLUG INTO YOUR COMMUNITY.
No matter where you live, there are places to get involved. From study groups to community service projects, you can meet great people. Avoid “networking events” where the only goal is to mingle with others. It’s much easier and more natural to make deep connections with a group that is striving towards a goal together, like a sports team or volunteer group.
2. LEARN HOW TO MAKE HIGH QUALITY SMALL TALK.
A common complaint is that people hate boring “small talk”. But it’s not about the conversation, it’s about building comfort. Ask them how they are (not to get a heartfelt answer), mention the weather, and connect on small things like hobbies and work. Eventually, you’ll stumble upon something you both enjoy. Keep a good balance between asking questions as well as talking about yourself. If your conversation partner is off balance, help them out by either asking a question or sharing a story of your own.
3. BUILD AND MAINTAIN TRUST, SUPPORT, AND FUN.
Solid relationships take a little bit of “work”. You should do favors for each other, and listen when your friend has something to say. Follow through on your promises, never speak poorly of each other, and forgive your friend when they make mistakes. Most importantly, keep scheduling free time and activities to have fun together. That’s what friends are for.
Every personality is different. You may want to connect with many people, or just a few. Don’t settle for the “lone wolf” approach. It’s okay to not want to be as sociable as others, and sometimes people can be very difficult (including you, which is why the golden rule exists). But once you put in the time to find your “pack”, you’ll understand just how good things can get.