Your Social Circle
Humans are social beings. We enjoy having other people in our lives to share our ups and downs, laugh and celebrate with us, and give us support when we need it. Since the pandemic, people have become more isolated. Most of us (including myself) do not go out as much or prioritize social activities and as a result, we have become comfortable staying home. Feelings of loneliness or depression may creep into our lives, and it may be time to rebuild our social circles!
Some of the characteristics of a good friend are shared similar values as your own.
My closest friends share many of the values that I hold dear. Our values affect our attitudes, choices, and beliefs. Therefore, it makes sense that if two people have similar core values, a genuine understanding will exist between them. In other words, he or she “gets” you.
The people you share your life with can also become strong influences on how you live. There is a belief that claims a person becomes like the five closest people in their lives, and if this is true, choose your friends carefully. Surround yourself with the people that you would like to become. By choosing friends with similar values, you will not be influenced to compromise what is important to you.
A good friend will also inspire or challenge you to grow.
You will become a better version of yourself because of your time with this friend. Ask yourself how you feel after spending time with this person. Do you feel that you can be authentic with this person? Are you treated with respect and your boundaries are respected? Is there a certain level of trust between you?
Not every friendship is healthy. If you feel depleted or drained after spending time with someone, the balance of “give and take” may be skewed. Every relationship should offer conversations, support, and compromise that go both ways, rather than one person who dominates, takes all the emotional space, and musthave their way.
The best way to make friends is to be a good friend.
Start by being a good friend to yourself. What kind of language does your inner voice use? Do you criticize, put down, and dislike yourself? Begin here. Talk to yourself with kindness and caring. The kinder you are to yourself, the kinder you will be towards others. It is a strange dynamic, but it works. Resist the urge to put yourself down and instead tell yourself something positive. Continue with this process and you will be amazed.
When you are ready to extend this kindness to others, begin with this same compassion you have with yourself. Asking questions is one of the best ways to begin a conversation and show interest in someone else. Then, really listen to this person’s response.
Show up for the people in your life. Showing up means to be there, be available, even when you don’t want to be. If one of your friends needs help, be there. There is a saying that you know who your friends are if they celebrate with you, but also go through the struggles with you too.
Be open to making new friends.Take an active role in this adventure of making friends. Although it is hard to put yourself “out there” in a way, it is also very rewarding when you find those people you can really connect with. Here are some ideas:
- Do the things you love doing. What are your hobbies and interests?
- Try a new activity or sport.
- Join Meetup. Find events that look fun and push yourself to go.
- Take classes. Learn a new skill or craft.
- Become a member. Join a gym, book club, or art group.
- Find a place to support one of your passions.
- Have an attitude of openness and acceptance.
A great conversation starts with hello.
When you attend an event, class, or activity, start conversations with the other people attending. Introduce yourself. They are probably just as excited to meet you too. Ask someone if they want to get a coffee afterwards. Take the first step.
Not every conversation will turn into a friendship, but you will never know until you try. (Remind yourself that it isn’t personal if the offer of friendship isn’t reciprocated or accepted.)
Chances are good that most people are looking for a friend too!
Don’t give up. You will make friends and grow your social circle. It may take a little effort, but it will be worth it!
Featured photo by Hannah Busing on Unsplash.