I’m not a relationship expert by any means, but I am surrounded by great relationships with co-workers, clients, life-long friends and family. I remember, however, a time in my life where I had a difficult time making friends. What changed? I did.
I remember being so insecure that I believed I didn’t have much to offer anyone. I couldn’t imagine walking up to the “cool people” of the day and introducing myself. I used to think that I needed to be wealthy, smart, good looking–preferable all three– in order to get attention and popular friends. After all, at least the money and some expensive toys could buy a few people’s affections.
Needless to say that never worked. It wasn’t until I began to have a better understanding of who I was as a person, my true identity, that I was able to muster the confidence to get out of my self-pity bubble and engage people who I once perceived as intimidating. Before I could have successful relationships, I had to changed the way I thought about myself. Here are some of the most fundamental changes:
1. Believe I have something to offer. Regardless of my bank account balance or any professional skill set, I can be a good friend. I can listen and encourage. While that takes effort and intentionality, it’s something we all can do at any age or stage in life.
2. A smile opens doors. I found out that a simple smile broke down more barriers than the most clever opening conversational line. Walk in a strange room and smile. You’ll soon be talking with someone.
3. Show genuine interest in others. The more insecure I am the more I want to talk about my accomplishments and drop names of famous people I know or claim to know. If you want to make friends fast, get to know your new friend better and get them talking about their lives instead of yours. You’ll have a new friend in no time.
4. Don’t discriminate. I try hard not to only seek friendships with people whom I think I can benefit from. I have friends who are much older and much younger and everything in between. Some of them are very wealthy while others are just starting out their professional careers and can barely afford rent. Yet, I have never been in any relationship that I have not been blessed by my friends. Whatever I end up giving, I usually get so much more back.
What else would you add to this list?