By Nick Brzozowski
You know the importance of friends.
It could have been your mom, your counselor or the leadership podcast that you came to discover that having positive, supportive people that you are safe to be transparent around is critical to success in life.
But, if you are anything like me, that doesn’t come naturally! For me, I have learned to view life from a more accomplishment, driven perspective.
Every day, I am reminded how far along I still need to come, seeing that I am living with such a relational person.
Hannah is always messaging others. But, strangely, she is not making plans. She's not confirming plans. She's not planning plans. No plans. No work. No business. Just laughing and pictures of coffee and dogs and lots of gifs!
When I go into a store, I think “what do I need to get done to get out of here?” Hannah thinks, “Megan’s getting married soon, I wonder if she would like these coasters?”
If you are like Hannah, stop reading right now.
Really! You don’t need this.
But, if you are like me, this post can really help. Even though you see the value in friendships, it feels like an overwhelming obstacle. In this post, I am going to provide a friending checklist that you can implement that shouldn’t overwhelm you, but should help beef up your relational muscles 💪
Number 1: Be present.
This one does not require you change anything in your calendar, but to pay attention.
Give eye contact.
Put your phone down.
I’ve learned that when I am not present, it creates frustration, I get stressed quicker, and I typically have to spend more time trying to remember what was said or apologizing for being rude.
Number 2: Ask someone to talk once a week.
Since I know that time with close friends or coaches matters so much, I make it a part of my Monday to take 30 seconds to text one person to see if they want to talk this week.
This has helped me because one text is a lot less overwhelming than thinking about planning five meetings. But, this has been critical for me getting the right people in my life!
Number 3: Take care of messages in bulk.
Texts and emails used to get overwhelming because I had to stop what I am doing at any time to reply. These messages created a frustration when people would interrupt my day, demanding my attention.
Now, I will leave messages unopened and unread until I am ready to go one at a time. This way, I get to it when I am ready and am more productive, without feeling stressed.
Number 4: Join a group.
Because I have found the value of meaningful, authentic conversations and what that can do for your emotional health and success in life, I actually designed our Anchor groups to focus primarily on sharing. This has become a built-in, weekly part of my life where I know I am going to intentionally connect with others.
Number 5: Treat social media like email.
This could be a strange one to you, but keeping up with social media can feel exhausting for me. It is unending. And to a task-driven person like me, I can't stand never finishing the task.
I would constantly feel behind. I miss things. I don't catch life events for people. And then I feel guilty that I am not doing enough to leverage these tools.
So, I started trying something that is beginning to work. I will make sure to spend 10 minutes a day on Facebook, Instagram and the News app. In those 10 minutes, I am wishing people a happy birthday, commenting on posts and quickly seeing what's going on.
Then, I put it away and check that off for the day ✅
Number 6: Be courageous.
I think, since making friends is something that kids do naturally, we don’t expect it to be so hard to do as adults. But, friendships require all kinds of courage.
Every time I ask someone to meet, I feel self-conscious. “Am I bothering them?” “What do they think of me?”
Brene Brown talks about the vulnerability hangover that we can feel for days after sharing something personal about ourselves.
Maybe that is why we are task driven. Tasks are clear and simple. You have control. But, when it comes to relationships, you are exposed and no longer in control. You have to have courage.
So, be re-assured. This isn’t easy for all of us. But, it is well worth it. Keep going. Take one step today.
Which step will you take this week?
Oh, by the way. If you haven't watched our series, Isolated, check this out too. It will give you some inspiration to take your first step!