Happy 2015! Did you make any new years resolutions this year? Studies find that we are more likely to achieve our resolutions if we share them with others and tap into a network of support.
Depending on your personality, you may only need one or two people to lean on or a team. Either way, having others there to cheer you on, offer advice and provide moral support will make a difference when you are feeling less than confident in yourself. Of course, the challenge is finding and fitting into a group that’s right for you.
Where do you begin? Search out people who share similar interests. If you would like to start a walking/running group with other moms, for example, ask around on social media, your neighborhood or at your gym.
Or maybe you would like to join a moms group. Search online and see what groups exist in your area. Check with your local library or your place of worship. Look at Meet-Up.com for neighborhood groups or start your own. Sign your child up for a parent-child music class to connect with other moms. *I include a list of moms groups here on my resources page.
Reconnect. Some individuals may currently be shallow connections, particularly friends in social media. Make a list of people who you would like to try and get to know better or reconnect with. Reach out to them and see if they’d like to meet up for coffee or lunch. Set a reasonable goal for yourself like “I will connect with someone I want to get to know better once a week.”
Invest. If you join a group, invest your time to become not only a name on a roster, but a part of the group. This means attending group get-togethers and taking the initiative to lead or help with an event or responsibilities within the group.
Be patient. We live in an instant gratification society. We want friends and we want them now! But, friendships take time to develop. Only a few friendships are formed immediately and usually those kindred spirits only come around once or twice in a lifetime.
Be curious. The word “communication” is derived from the Latin word “communicare” which means “to share.”As you head out into the social scene, you may feel uncomfortable and nervous. Approach new situations by inviting people to share a little about themselves. This begins as small talk, but can deepen into fascinating conversation when we discover interests in common. Remember this: people like people who are interested in them, not people who are trying too hard to impress or be interesting. Ask questions like “what brought your family to this area?” “how did you find out about this group?” “how old are your children?” “what are your family’s favorite places to spend time around here?” Then listen.
The benefits. As you launch into Operation Get Connected, you’ll start feeling both physically and emotionally better. This isn’t a coincidence. Social connection is wired into our DNA. When you have the opportunity to engage in conversation with others who share your interests, you feel more alive and positive. Feel-good hormones like cortisol will flood your body, boosting your immune system and providing a buffer from depression which can be fueled by isolation.
As you strengthen your village, your family will bask in your efforts. Your children will have a brave role model to help them as they navigate their own social circles, and as a whole, your family will feel more at ease and integrated into the community.
Are you struggling to find your tribe? What are the challenges holding you back?