I distinctly remember sitting with a teacher and role playing how I should approach making new friends...in high school! Kids are experts at making friends. They see a kid, like something about that kid, and then they’re the best of buds. I'd like to think that I have cultivated meaningful friendships in my life! If you're interested in finding your forever friend, here are a few tips for cultivating a friendship… that’s meaningful (hopefully).
Tip #1: Branch out/be open and allow people to show up as they are: Don’t count anyone out simply because they don’t look like your “ideal” friend. There should be a level of connection, however you’re not looking for a twin. Many people believe that their best friend must have the same interests as them. Having a friend with different interests allows you to experience something new.
Tip #2 and #3 Listen and Connect: Don’t hog the mic. When cultivating meaningful relationships this is not your time dominate the conversation or go on a tangent about 50 reasons why you’re so great! Truthfully, no one really wants to hear that. Get to know the other person. I'm not saying trauma bond, but make strides to get to know the person outside of the surface level conversations. Actively listen and find small pockets to build the conversation and the relationships.
Bonus tip: When in doubt throw in a few compliments, but don’t make it weird.
Tip #4: Laugh: Shout-out to all my RBF (resting b*tch face) shawties! This is not a dig or a means to side with the men that tell woman to smile more as a means to spark conversation to then flirt with them. Don’t force a smile, but also note that smiles are inviting. There are serious moments, but a friendship should be fun. If you're not having fun, you should reevaluate the friendship.
Tip #5: Follow-Up: Similar to a great date, you leave wanting more! (LOL, that was not a sexual joke!) Don’t leave the person hanging. Keep in touch! We get busy! Life happens, but make time for the people that matter in your life.
Journal prompt: Who are the people in your life that allow you to be you? What traits/qualities do they possess that allow you to feel safe?