I remember as a child going to the first day of class and feeling like I had been introduced to a whole new world. A fresh new lot of faces every year. More kids meant more friends to be made. As an adult, making friends has become much more challenging.
When we are children we have less filters and lower standards of what we require in a friend. Any new person we meet has the potential to be a friend or playmate. We don’t care what they are wearing or their political views. We just see someone that could bring joy and happiness to our lives.
It seems that as we grow older we become more set in our ways; not only in how we live but also in who we choose to spend our time with. Familiarity and comfort become a scapegoat and opening up to new possibilities and relationships becomes too intimidating.
We as a society have decided that being an adult means being a mom, a dad, an employee, a CEO, a husband or a wife and more than often lastly, a friend. There is little room for old friendships and no time to develop new ones.
As time passes by we wonder why we become so depressed, why we feel so empty, lonely and unfulfilled. Humans need to feel connected. We are social beings. Starving that social need is not healthy or natural.
There was an article written by a group of Stanford and Waterloo professers that stated “When people’s sense of social connectedness is threatened, their ability to self-regulate suffers; for instance their IQ performance drops.” Along with this effect were many other negative reactions that were recognized by those lacking social interaction or connectivity.
So why do we do this? Why do we pick and choose who we can and can’t be friends with based on appearance or religion or political views? Why must we have everything in common and not disagree on anything? Why are we so scared of developing new bonds with new people? Of course it is possible that things will turn out poorly or it may be a dud of a friendship, but that never stopped us as kids.
I challenge you today to go out and make a new friend. Seek out someone you think you might have at least one thing in common with. You might like their shoes, like a book they’re considering purchasing, hear them mention a topic that interests you. Strike up a conversation with them. Reach out to someone and find a sense of belonging in that moment.
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