Guide To Get Personal Connections

Building social connections is both a skill and an asset. The wider connections of friends we have, the happier and fuller we become as individuals. Regardless of age, sex, race, and financial disposition, we all need to create and grow a network of friends and acquaintance to make our lives more worthwhile.

Aside from family, money, and life insurance among many other things, one other important ingredient to lead a worry-free life is having a solid set of friends. It is our friends that we need when we are down and depressed. It is our friends who turn to when we just want someone to talk to, or someone to listen to our woes. It is also our friends and acquaintances that we need by our side when all that we want is hang loose and chill. There is nothing but truth in the adage, “no man is an island.” It is a fact that we need friends, and we cannot live this life happy, healthy, and worthwhile without them.

But friendship doesn’t mean that you need to be with them every minute of every day. That’s the beauty of genuine and pure friendship- you don’t have to be with each other’s company to feel loved. The connection is what makes friendships special. Common interests, passions, and hobbies connect people and help them to create friendships. These connections grow once you know your friends more. The connection then turns to love, care, and loyalty. With all these ingredients, you have a friendship that will last forever.

Aside from companionship, love, and care, there are also many perks to having a wide circle of friends. You gain benefits more connections, more information, and assistance as you build solid friendships with the people around you.

If you feel unsatisfied with your social life and would like to make it more worthwhile, here are some tips to boost your social connections.

1. Sign up for social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You probably have all of these already. But if you still don’t have that many friends, try to browse through their friend suggestions. Join an online group that features your interests and hobbies. Start a conversation with acquaintances, and let these conversations lead you to knowing more people sharing the same interests as you!

2. Join local community groups you are most passionate about. If you are an animal lover, we are pretty sure there are animal advocacy group within your community. Great friendships often start between people who share the same passion and life advocacies.

3. Go to church. The church is a great venue for earning friends and building strong social connections. This is especially true if you want to further strengthen your faith as well as values in life.

4. Talk to your colleagues. To make the workplace bearable, start striking up conversations with your work mates. Having them around should not be stressful, but should be fun and interesting too.

5. Say hello to your neighbors. Don’t be the snobbish, grumpy neighbor. Connect with your neighbors as they make excellent friends especially when you simply want to chill and talk about home and family life.

How You Value Yourself As A Friend

For me, the most valuable thing I have to give someone is my friendship. It is true and tested, it is not given and taken lightly, and it is there for as long as anyone wants it.

Over the last couple of years I have become more aware of friendships that went very deep and the ones that were only there for the sake of “what can I get from this” experience. These were the friendship that were only for a reason or a season.

Anyone who has worked with me over the years is well aware of my philosophy in relationship building. It is not something that happens overnight and it comes with giving before getting. A true relationship, whether business or personal, starts from a giving space rather than a taking one. I believe by giving, in return you will receive.

This not necessarily common to all from my experiences though. I have been very disappointed and hurt when friends that I perceived as close and dear to me, disintegrated as a result of lack of good communication and perception.

I recognise that all relationships come in for a reason, a season or a lifetime. For me, I endeavour to make them a lifetime, and always leave the door open if the other wishes to return. This does not make it any easier when the time comes to an end for whatever another’s reason, as obviously for them, their purpose of the relationship/friendship is no longer, thus the status change.

The reason for an encounter with someone may be just to teach a lesson and a once only experience. A season may be for a time from weeks, months or a few years, whereas a lifetime is a friendship that endures all, and is not broken by experiences. A lifetime friendship has no rules or expectations.

My friendships are the most important part of my life and to be betrayed goes very deep when it happens with someone I have held very dear. I love my friends, on many levels, for who they are and what they bring to my world. I appreciate and am grateful for the opportunities they give me personally to learn and grow. I do not let a relationship end easily and it is always the others option.

When a relationship goes to a deeper friendship, there can be a fine line on where it goes and understanding is necessary. I take people as they portray themselves to me, which is probably gullible at times and has maybe been foolish, but unless I feel and have a reason not to go there, my door is always open.

I ponder on the ability of some to close the door so very easily, with no concept of what is left behind. I wonder how different my life would have been if I was more discerning in whom I let into it so easily?

The new way of friendship building today via social media and texting has some very good advantages along with some disastrous repercussions owing to the lack of an ability to express oneself other than in black and white. Relationships need to have ‘grey’ in them and expression through feelings, facial features and body language, all of which are taken away with this new form of communication. No wonder we have so many challenges in this area, and I do speak from personal experience here.

The learnings via these mediums for me have been enormous. Although heartbreaking at times I have been left with a feeling of great loss as a result of one or more lives I can no longer impact for all our growth.

As a lover of people, what others offer me for growth has always been a fascination. We all have very different models of experience, eg our beliefs and values, which come into play. We can either increase our awareness of others and our own self-awareness by opening our peripheral vision to see things from another’s point of view, whilst looking deeper at our own internal map of the world and sees where there is a mis-fit.

As a friend, where do you stand? Are you a true or a false friend? I suggest that you consider the friendships you have now and how they fit into your world.

What is your expectation from your friendships and what is their perception of this too? This can be a good conversation to have with them so that you remain on the same page and hurt and disappointment does not ensure in the future. Remember though, that others hear your words from their own awareness and experiences.

I have friendships that I have been prepared to give without very much in return, owing to my ability to give unconditionally to them for their growth. With these people I feel blessed that I have the opportunity to be able to reflect and see what can be gained by my own self learning as a result. There have been times that I have wondered why any sane person would do this, and be hurt so often when there is little return, other than knowing that by being there, I am providing growth and learning for us both which others may never give.

If you have not had the learning experience of giving and being in community it is harder to give as I have learned that it is usually a learnt behaviour. Coming from many years of boarding school and community experiences I learned early about giving. I was fortunate to have a full family connection when I was very young, where sharing the growth of a child was imperative. With grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends on stand-by at all times, to take over when it was necessary for my parents, gave me different perspectives, which now I recognise as being my great teacher.

I suggest you review how you see your friendships and what you bring to the table for everyone’s growth. By doing this, you will learn much about yourself and how you function in the world today.

Are your relationships with people for a reason, a season or a lifetime?


Pros and Cons On Community

We all experience the loss of friends and changes in our relationships. It may be our decision, the other person’s, jointly decided or something thrust upon us by life. The loss may have come from something negative like jealousy, ill-will, anger or fear. It may have come from a decision based on what seemed best for all concerned. It may have been the natural outcome of something that life brought into the arena. Regardless, we can practise these principles of healing and growth:

  • If we have done something regrettable then we must try to fix it up as best we can. We may be able to correct the mistake or we may not be able to. However, the intention to right a wrong carries substantial weight. What we did may not have been necessarily wrong in the situation, however, perhaps with time and a different understanding we can see that it would have been better to do things differently. It’s called growth. If we are humble and honest enough to admit to mistakes then our ability to improve our life will be far greater than the average person.
  • If the other person has done something regrettable then as soon as we can manage it, we must try to forgive them. We all get hurt. It’s an inescapable part of life. However, much of that hurt comes from other people’s problems and the way they are accustomed to dealing with them. Knowing that takes a lot of the personal sting out of it. Don’t hate people even when they hate you. There is enough hatred in the world. Hate is a great burden to the soul which harbours it. A person who has a good intention even if others find them strange, annoying or concerning will tend to thrive in spite of the ups and downs of life.
  • As far as possible, be on good terms with everyone. Don’t gossip, criticize, complain or belittle anyone even if we are hurt or angry with them. Of course, speak in private to a trusted confidant but choose the confidant wisely. Do not speak with someone who will add critical fire to the situation. Be careful to speak with the intention of trying to heal oneself of anger and hurt. Don’t say mean things, even about enemies. The meanness will otherwise come back to us. Accidents, illness, unhappiness, depression, and anxiety will come looking for us. We must speak as if there are invisible ears around us because there are. Our words float out into the ether and have their own way of returning to us in like.
  • When we feel the pangs of jealousy or feel threatened in some way by other people’s talents or presence, we can remind ourselves that everyone can have their place. That place will automatically be decided by the person’s true abilities and nature. Other people having a place does not detract from us having our place or finding those we are genuinely connected to or expressing our gifts and continuing to develop.
  • Accept changes in relationships and life. We may have been close to someone and if something has happened to change that then we must try to accept that it is so. We can be grateful for whatever is left of the friendship or relationship, if anything is left. Sometimes, time can change things that were making the relationship unworkable and it may be possible to reunite in some form with people we have cared about and establish a new type of relationship. If something has changed for the better in either or both people then the new friendship or relationship will also be for the better.
  • We mustn’t compromise our most essential values for the sake of popularity, to maintain a relationship, to get something we want or to avoid the wrath of others. We mustn’t remain silent when it is important to speak up or be subservient to someone else’s destructive words and actions or fail to protect those we should look after or accept damaging conditions from a friend or loved one when they can do better. We do not always have to speak up. Peace-making is a beautiful and powerful ability. Peace, if possible, is always preferable. Preserving peace is not the same as weakness. Weakness feels that it is saving a friendship or relationship by lying low and remaining silent but the dormant issues will surface regardless. Our true self is our best gift to our community so we should not give less than that.
  • We mustn’t withdraw from human interaction because it is often painful. It keeps us grounded and helps us to grow through real and challenging situations. Also, we never know when one of those beautiful, treasured moments of life will appear. Someone unexpectedly expresses their appreciation for us, something heals, a conflict is resolved. Even famous and powerful individuals need to belong to a real community where they are treated like a normal person for good and bad. Otherwise, they forget what real people and real life are like. They can become delusional about their own worth. Their life can become empty because the love and hate of real people have more depth than the love and hate of unknown people. We do not need to decide which community to belong to. We just live life to the best of our ability and follow our interests and we will find ourselves within a community of people; some we will love, some we will find tedious. That’s how it should be. We will have the perfect soil for growth and we will be blessed both by the love and hate of those who naturally wish to respond to us. We are only responsible for our own thoughts and actions, not for anyone else’s.

Between Social Media And Friendship

Weeks ago, I had lunch with one of my best friends at McDonald’s. We talked about many things to catch up since we were both busy from work. We talked about our other friends. How are they? What are they up to? Do we still communicate with them? Sadly, the answer relies on social media. We are updated because of what they post. From time to time my best friend and I would check our phones. At some point, we were quiet and not talk with each other because of the other people online that we are also connected at the moment. By the time I was done, I put down my phone but she wasn’t. So I just ate my fries and looked around. And there they are – all the same. A father holding her daughter while talking to someone on the phone. A group of girls who seemed to not know each other after taking one too many selfies, now editing photos and picking which will get more likes on Facebook and those oldies who kept talking and laughing loudly about something funny in the past. At that moment, I remembered Gary Turks’s poem entitled “Look Up”.

I took a step back, and opened my eyes,
I looked around, and the realized
That this media we call social, is anything but
When we open our computers, and it’s our doors we shut.

Turk pointed out the negative effects of social media in a very creative way. But he made it clear in his YouTube channel that he have nothing against it, “this film is about the times we choose it over real connections and experiences.”

As of January 2016, about 2.2 Billion people all over the world are active social media users, conducted by Global Web Index. In this plugged-in world, having friends is just a click away. The question is, are they really your friends? And if so, how are you guys? Social media made us easy for us to connect and reconnect with our family, relatives and friends. But the quality of relationships is at risk. A study done by Robin Dunbar, a psychology professor at Oxford University, shows that you can count on only a few online friends during hardships (4.1%) while the other so-called friends (13.6%) only send their compassion through texts and other messaging flatforms. He also coined the term Dunbar’s number. It is a theory in which states that a person can only maintain 150 stable relationship in his lifetime.

Case in point: maintaining friendships over so many medium is challenging. But this may be a test of friendship after all. If you are in turmoil of the status of your friendship with anyone in particular. It may help to take time to think it over because ending relationship is messy. Since friendship is mostly based on communication, here are some questions you need to ask yourself before breaking up with your friends.

1. Do I get excited or irritated on my friends postings?
This could be a sign that both of you have drifted apart. The things you once liked or shared together no longer interest both of you. And even if you see each other again, it is just not the same.

2. Do I secretly rant over our friendship?
If you are doing this, you are not communicating well with each other. Misunderstanding can happen anytime. Do not let it spoil your relationship. If your friend keeps posting and tagging to make you feel humiliated or betrayed, talk it over.

3. Do we see each other face-to-face?
Staying connected online is not the same with having conversations in person. You can detect if a friend is sincere or not when you are together.

4. Am I the only one in this friendship who is trying to make it work?
Friendship is between people and not a relationship with yourself. If you tried communicating with no response or worse, seenzoned, maybe he/she ended it before you even realized.

To get my best friend’s attention, I sarcastically told her in a higher tone than my usual to stop it. She stopped and we continued talking. We didn’t take any pictures of how our day went or posted anything online for the world to see that we are very good friends and had fun together that day. We keep the balance of the use of social media and our friendship. And if you are considering to end things with your BFF, you might want to think it through. Break ups are not easy after investing a lot of yourself for your friendship. Remember, social media and friendship is a perfect combination to revive relationships before it dies out.