By Brenda Ridgley
How does one make new friends since the origin and impact of social distancing?
“We create our future self by default or design.” ~ Nicole Cody
It starts with intention and ends with action. We must be intentional about connecting to others because it may not happen naturally. How will you connect with new women who could become future Tribe members? What existing friendships would you like to nurture into Tribe? What specific habits can you establish to deepen the connections of your current Tribe? Over the next few issues, we will explore each area to get you well on your way to finding your Tribe.
Today let’s start from here as if we are inspired for the very first time to build our own Tribe. Maybe you have a bunch of contacts on Facebook and didn’t really know what you were missing…… until now. Perhaps your life has been so full as a wife and mother you have made little time for anything else…….until now. Possibly your career has had you on the run from dawn until dusk for a decade, and you just hadn’t created the space for deep friendship……until now. All it takes is a decision, a plan, and then action on your part to make it happen.
Today we will start from scratch. Here are ten examples of friend-finding habits you may consider to build into your routine:
Finding New Friends:
- Get out of the house! You aren’t going to meet anyone binge-watching Netflix!
- Challenge yourself to put your phone away when you are out in public. Instead, find opportunities to make conversation. When you are focused on your phone or waiting in lines, even walking, you miss a lot of connection possibilities. Your routine likely passes some of the same people every day. If you say hello or chat for a few minutes, that is a breeding ground for friendship.
- Sign up for a class; Spanish, Zumba, art, cooking, baking, bird watching, wine tasting. What are you interested in? Here you will meet others who have the same interests! Commit to attending a minimum of three classes. Once you have made a few contacts, keep showing up and invite them to connect outside of class.
- Open up a conversation with a stranger. Use the insight and question method. This conversion starter involves commenting on current events and then asking a question about their opinion. Research has shown that expressing our opinion activates brain regions that are associated with pleasure and reward. Your question will likely be received with gratitude for the opportunity to share. Steer clear of hot divisive topics. You are inviting conversation, not debate.
- Volunteer for a good cause and meet people. Build a house for the homeless, serve a meal to the hungry, clean up a park to beautify the neighborhood. You will meet some great people who also care about the community. Strike up a conversation with someone. Reconnect each time you volunteer together and then invite them to coffee or lunch!
- Join a club. There are all kinds of clubs out there. Seek one that interests you! Running, walking, hiking, beer/wine enthusiasts, travel, dining, paddleboarding, sailing, golf, and community service just to name a few! You already have something in common to talk about with these folks so making new friends will be easy! Let friendship be a result of doing something you enjoy.
- Be a good listener. You have one mouth and two ears. Practice using them accordingly. Don’t dominate the conversation.
- Find a local online group that discusses topics of interest to you. Actively participate in the discussions and meet up with them when they have an activity. If they don’t ever get together, make a suggestion that they do so!
- Tap into your friends of friends network. Take an inventory of who you know and who they know. This may be someone you have seen around but had yet to be introduced. Exploring adjacent friends gives you a head-start in the connection process because you already have a friend in common.
- If you want more friends, ask people about themselves and listen sincerely when they answer. Listen not to respond but to understand. A good listener is rare these days. It is the best direct route ticket you could possibly have to form a friendship. Did you notice we are talking about being a good listener twice? It is worth repeating!
You want to find recurring opportunities so that it is more likely you will see the same people a number of times. Use open body language to make yourself more approachable. In the beginning, what you do is just as important as what you say. Stand tall and squarely face the person you are speaking with. Maintain eye contact and gesture, nod, or offer verbal affirmations occasionally to let them know you are listening. Avoid crossing your arms, checking your phone, or standing off by yourself which implies that you are not open to connect. SMILE! It makes you more attractive and inviting to others.
I have so much more to share on this topic, but for today my message is to get out there! New friendships start with the word intention. As we get older, friendships don’t just appear like they did when we were kids. We must be intentional about making them happen.
For new weekly ideas on ways to connect and build Tribe, sign up for my weekly friendship tip at LadyandtheTribe.com
Thank you for reading today and please like my Facebook page Mrs. Carbon Valley Colorado to follow my journey to the Mrs. Colorado America pageant!
All my love,
About Brenda Ridgley
Brenda has a Masters Degree in Organizational Development. and spent a decade in the field of HR with Viacom & Qwest. An entrepreneur at heart, Brenda continues to explore her passions of wine, travel, wellness, and building teams that promote time and financial freedom. Brenda is also the Race Director for the annual Carbon Valley Half Marathon for Autism and the currently running for Mrs. Colorado America