Three Action Thursday

Less Friends/Deeper Relationships

So in this week’s piece, I want to go “deep” on Authentic Relationship building, maintaining the good habits coming out of the pandemic, and of course share some quotes that might get you thinking.

A Concept I am Noodling

…how to form deep, authentic relationships. 

Relationships are challenging. Ever wonder why it seemed so easy to make friends as a kid, but in adulthood, it seems overly daunting? I think the reason lies in “uncommon commonalities.” As a kid, you were too young to have had significant life experiences. This meant you had lots “in common” with your peers. For most of us, we spent our days in school or extracurricular activities that facilitated relationship building. As kids, quantity is prized over quality: success is measured in how many friends you have, because you are too immature to have real and deep relationships. As you age and grow into adulthood, life presents each of us with diverse experiences. With unique likes and dislikes, it becomes more difficult to discover these “uncommon commonalities.” Pair that with the fact that we have more responsibilities, as well as more stress, and the forecast doesn’t look great for building deeper authentic relationships.

I have actually talked about how to increase the probability of having deeper relationships before. You can read it in a piece I wrote entitled “Avoiding GroupThink (Part 3 of 3).” Warning: if you want to succeed at it, it is going to force you to be intentional with your actions. 

I think one of the things I have not covered is the power of small groups, and having fewer friends, but being intentional about having those relationships grow deep roots. I am an extreme extrovert: I generally thrive in large groups, especially if I am hosting. In fact, we used to throw large parties of 40 to 60 people at my home multiple times a year. But after a few years, I sensed I was not getting much fulfillment out of the parties anymore. That feeling was stemming from the fact that I was not able to talk to everyone nor get to the depth I wanted to in the conversations I did have. In actuality, I sometimes wasn’t even able to talk to everyone who attended, including a few people I really wanted to get to know better. I responded to these realizations by switching my model to smaller, more intimate groups. We began hosting individual families at our home, and I started hosting a series of back-to-back-to-back Friday meetings at a local restaurant to spend an hour (sometimes more) in conversation with a single person at a time.  These changes have brought me much greater life satisfaction and demonstrate intentionality in building lasting lifelong relationships.

If you have some thoughts on this topic or any tactics you want to share, shoot me an email back. I would love to hear them!  

What I am Listening To

In the Daily Stoic podcast from earlier this week, Ryan Holiday discusses maintaining the good relationship habits that we have established during the pandemic. He specifically highlights keeping our social and family “bubbles” intact and slowing down. 

Have a listen: Try to Stay in the Bubble.

Quotes I am Pondering

If you think a complimentary thought about someone, don’t just think it.  Dare to compliment people and pass on compliments to them from others. 

~ Catherine Ponder, American minister

Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for you to do. 

~ Pope John XXIII

Do not fear death so much, but rather the inadequate life. 

~ Bertolt Brecht, German poet

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