“Many growth-minded people didn’t even plan to go to the top. They got there as a result of doing what they love. It’s ironic: The top is where the fixed-mindset people hunger to be, but it’s where many growth-minded people arrive as a by-product of their enthusiasm for what they do.”Carol S. Dweck
If we focus on becoming our best selves and we practice empathy, in time people will be naturally drawn to us and human connections will arise naturally. If we practice boundary setting by keeping focus on our values without distraction and by giving people space and respect when they need it we can maintain healthy relationships. Anyone can learn how to make friends, anyone can learn how to meet new people, and anyone can learn to be a good friend. What we often get wrong is that we can chase what we desire and lose our identity in doing so. When we focus on who we are and grow in character, people will begin to respect us more and want to spend time with us and learn about who we are. No longer will we be feeling trapped, and we will have the freedom we desire in life.
The importance of meeting new people
Meeting new people and being a good friend does not just make us happier but quality relationships are integral to our health and well-being. Studies such as Blue Zones and Michael Ungar showcase the importance of positive relationships.
A Harvard study from 1938 over 80 years old showed how important the quality of relationships are for our health.
Robert Waldinger says that:
“The surprising finding is that our relationships and how happy we are in our relationships has a powerful influence on our health.”
Furthermore Liv Mineo of the Harvard Gazette states;
“Several studies found that people’s level of satisfaction with their relationships at age 50 was a better predictor of physical health than their cholesterol levels were.”
Many studies are showing us that the happiest and longest living people on the planet often have strong social bonds, love in their lives and quality relationships which includes family and friendships.
Have an open mind when it comes to meeting people
If we approach individuals and life itself with an open mind and curiosity we will learn so much more about how people work, culture, varying viewpoints in life, and we will become a much deeper and broad minded individual. If we make friends with varying age groups we can understand more about humanity, historical context and life journeys. Make friendships in sport and health, new hobbies, business, charity and in many varying life domains. The more open minded and well rounded you are the easier it is for you to make connections to the masses and the more approachable you will be. Focus on curiosity, kindness and compassion and you will find a way to fit in and thrive in any social setting.
Say yes more:
Often after a long day or week of work we want to relax at home or get some well earned rest. Of course at times we should prioritise self-care but we can fall into habits of no motivation. Sometimes when we lack energy it can be to do with a lack of using our key strengths, our diet and lifestyle. After a long day or work, when we socialise we can become re-energised and raise our morale. Try to say yes to 80% of invitations and opportunities in life. If we say no to the other 20% we can offer alternatives and the openness to opportunities with others at a later date. Our anxiety worksheets can help you move forward in a steady manner.
Leave your comfort zone:
Growth comes when we try new things and push our boundaries. Some of the greatest and deepest human connections are made when we partake in activities that ignite our state of flow and have a mutual difficulty level for both parties. Start new diverse hobbies and go on as many adventures as you can and in doing so you will create strong social bonds. Look at activities that are outside of your comfort zone and do things that are different. Join Salsa, running clubs, fitness classes, walking groups, join an art class for beginners and so on.
Understand your emotions:
We can often try to maintain positive emotions and look to run away or cover up negative emotions. This can result in us reacting to situations without keeping a calm mind. When we are in a place of calm, we read social situations better, we are more positive naturally and not stuck in a negative mindset, and we function better. Feel free to practice becoming in a place of calm, mindfulness and meditation for beginners on our page meditation resources. If you would like to understand your emotions accurately please see our emotional intelligence course.
Where to meet new people
One of the best way to make new friends and to meet new people is through sport. It encompasses shared values, shared growth, the potential of a shared starting point which can lead to a quality connection due to a shared difficulty level and finally a shared journey. If you are a beginner to sport of fitness there are a wide range of beginners classes available in many townships and cities.
Our free social platform Meaningful Paths Community helps you connect with creatives, business owners, world leading experts on community development and also volunteers. There are also free resources on health, wellness, resilience and more. If you would like to work with others on charity projects, setup a social enterprise or a business founded on strong values and ethics, you can connect with individuals here.
How do we maintain friendships in life when we go through new chapters?
- Respect each others boundaries. Sometimes people are genuinely busy and they need to focus on themselves. Listen to what friends say and respect their time and space. The same goes for our boundaries and self-respect and self-care as well. It is important to be guided by our values in life and to have direction (which we explore a lot of on Meaningful Paths). Have life goals, be guided by values, and maintain a path of continual growth. From this path we invite friendships and connections into our lives but we are not defined by our friendships; we invite people into our boundaries to get to know us at a deeper level. Accepting what is and giving people that space will help both you and the other with their energy and boundaries.
- Savor the important moments in life and the big occasions. We should champion the people we care about when they do well in life and embrace their celebrations. If a friend has a new job, celebrate that and show them care and attention. We must be there for birthdays and special occasions as well. In doing so no matter how busy we get in life, we will be there at the special moments. It is always better in life to show up and give your best self for one hour than to not show up at all i.e. Be positive and kind and show up at important chapters in people’s lives.
- Pick up the phone and have a 30 minute conversation. This goes much deeper and a long way if messaging is challenging.
Why outgrowing friendships is okay
As we grow older and we learn more about life we can move towards new social circles and dedicate more of our time and passion following new paths. Rather than seeing this process as ‘outgrowing friends,’ it is nicer to view this as you as an individual growing in character and pushing your boundaries in life. This process should also involve self-compassion and not be seen in anyway as you becoming ‘better than someone else.’ You are following your values, passions and exploring meeting new people. Personal growth is not about being more ‘successful’ or ‘richer’ than others; personal growth is about learning more about humanity and nature by being open minded. One friend may love partying and although you enjoy a party every now and again you may start new hobbies, start reading about philosophy, exercising more and so on.
Here are three principles for growing kindly:
- Share your new hobbies, passions and new ideas and principles with your friends. Those who want to explore these principles may grow down this path with you and those who do not may have their own unique path to follow.
- As you grow down a new path, naturally your time will be taken up and you want to spend your energy on what feels right for you. This does not mean that you cannot spend time with those who you spent time with regularly on special occasions and at other times. For example you can still go to a party once every 8 weeks; you can still meet up and talk about old times and reminisce; and you can still make time for each other on birthdays. You have to do what is right for you but be compassionate and kind with current friendships and new.
- Touch base with friends on special occasions such as birthdays, national holidays and so on. For example if you go down a new career path, move to a new city, start new hobbies and more you can still message friends to meet up each time you are home. You can still have a once per month online gaming night as well. This will help keep friendships and bonds together as we grow in life.
Making connections and friendships is a huge part of our life journey and integral for our health and well-being. If we work long hours and come to the realisation that, ‘I don’t have any friends,’ then this will affect our health negatively in so many ways. We now know how to meet new people and how to be a good friend, and also how to re-assess the concept of outgrowing friends.
If we focus on curiosity, kindness and compassion when in social situations we will always make connections with others. If we focus on our values and personal growth in addition to respecting our own boundaries and the boundaries of others we will not worry so much about how to make friends as an adult and things will happen much more naturally.
If you would like to learn more about creating a positive lifestyle guided by values and create positive relationships please explore the video below.
Thanks for listening.
Wishing you health and well-being.
Friends Nourish the Body and Soul – Blue Zones
Michael Ungar Ph.D. | Psychology Today United Kingdom
Over nearly 80 years, Harvard study has been showing how to live a healthy and happy life – Harvard Gazette
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