Build Meaningful Relationships

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Do you feel like the best friends you have are those from when you were growing up, high school or college? Do you feel disconnected from people as you have gotten older, have more responsibilities, and friends and family are scattered across the country? Do you wish you could meet more people and build up more of a network of friends as an adult? Friendships are an important part of life.
Studies show that having deep, meaningful connections and a support system (especially for women) helps with both your physical and mental health.
Friendships boost your immune system and help you curb depression and anxiety.
It is an important part of healthy living to have close and meaningful friendships.
So how do you go about building such relationships as an adult? oMeet people doing activities you are passionate about.
We often relate to people with whom we have a lot in common.
Take a class for a hobby you have always wanted to try.
Join a club for a hobby you already have.
Perform some charity work that you have been putting off doing.
The more you engage in activities and events that make you happy, the easier it will be to meet people who are passionate about the same things as you.
And since you share common interests, it will be easier to get to know them and develop a connection.
oMeet people at work.
Most of us spend at least 40 hours a week (if not more) at our job and we therefore spend a lot of time with the people we work with.
Even if you don't love your job, there are probably people there with whom you share some connection.
Invite them out to lunch, talk about work-related topics and begin to share a little bit about your life outside of work.
The more you share, the more your connection will increase.
oTake a risk and reach out.
Friendships are often built by taking a risk and reaching out to someone.
Whether it is beginning to chit-chat with your neighbors, joking around with someone at the office picnic or calling up a casual acquaintance to meet for coffee - building friendships as an adult requires taking a chance.
Not everybody will respond or lead to being a really close friend, but it will be worth the risk for the ones who do.
oRealize it takes work to build a strong connection.
Deep, meaningful friendships and relationships take time to develop.
Although there may be a spark of chemistry between two people, if it is not nurtured and developed, it will not lead to the deeper connection you desire.
Call to check in on friends, ask them what is really going on, be there for them in their time of need.
Just as intimate relationships take time and effort to build, so do good, solid friendships.
oBe curious.
People always want to feel heard and listened to.
Ask questions.
Be curious to learn about people.
You can always learn something new from people.
The more effort you put into any interaction or new friendship, using it as an opportunity to learn something new and expand your mind, the more you will be able to connect in a relaxed and open manner.
The more open you are, the more people will feel accepted.
Judgment can really limit the type of people you meet, as well as how deeply you can connect with them.
Stay open to all types of people, because you never know who you may meet and develop a strong bond with.
oLet go of friendships that are no longer working.
Sometimes, we don't have the time or energy to develop new friendships because we are investing so much time in people who no longer serve us or make us feel understood.
As we get older and move into different phases of life - marriage, parenthood, business ownership - what we want or need out of our friendships may change.
Even though old connections may be a source of comfort and security, they may no longer be serving your real needs.
Take the time to assess whether you really enjoy spending time with some of your old friends.
If you don't, begin to limit the energy you put into those friendships and invest that time in getting to know new people.
Meeting and developing new friends as an adult does not need to be a difficult process.
Being open-minded, taking risks and being willing to connect are the only things required to making and building the connections you desire in your life.
Begin to take the steps today towards the relationships you want in your life.
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