I recently attended a conference in the Dominican Republic called Awesomeness Fest. Frankly, I did not know what to expect other than that there were world class speakers in the online marketing, personal development and health and wellbeing space.
This suited my needs just fine as I needed the latest knowledge in all three areas to help spread our mission at Energesse.
However, what I experienced just blew me away. I found people connected extremely easily, smiles and hugs abound. I found people who were immensely talented and high achievers, yet like minded souls who wanted to change the world for the better.
I found new friendships that blossomed as if we had known each other for several lifetimes. It was uncanny how this happened.
Connection with a social community you love is critical to your wellbeing. I certainly have this in Sydney, yet I still felt there was a gap. This gap was filled at Awesomeness fest, where I found a community that I loved.
This community was also ready to intellectually and motivationally inspire me to climb to the next level of my personal evolution.
It’s hard sometimes to find that community, but trust me they are out there. My ‘Social & Relationships’ score on my Wellness Wheel jumped from an 7 to a 10 at Awesomeness Fest, and I now feel connected with this amazing community via our Facebook group.
I am sure you may already have communities that we are connected with – they might special interest meet ups, religious groups, educational or extracurricular activities or even groups of special friends.
However, I find some people attend such gatherings, but don’t really make the most of the opportunity in being a part of them. As such, I want to provide you with 6 tips to make stronger connections in ANY social or community group you are interested in or actually currently belong to.
1. Find communities you love
If you feel you are not already in a community that you can really resonate with, then it’s time to consider looking for a new one.
My advice is to find a community that you absolutely love being a part of, not just one that seems cool or that you have a special interest in. It’s always good to explore, try out a few sessions in one of these communities before you commit to them long term.
For example, you could try a cooking class, or sit in on a meditation session or even join a bird-watching group for a day. Ultimately, it’s not just the activity but the people in the group that will help you decide if it aligns with your innermost heartfelt needs and a cause that you believe in
2. Connections are about quality not quantity
There are some people that attend community gatherings and potter from one person to the next, have superficial conversations and exchange business cards in the speed of an ATM withdrawal.
It may give the impression of popularity when someone knows everyone’s name in the room however the reality is that for true wellbeing, we need to have deep and meaningful connections.
We do not have to have many connections, but just a few that help us evolve ourselves to happier, healthier and successful human beings. The quality of our relationships with a select few individuals within a community is enough to keep us engaged and wanting more.
3. The power of online is offline
These days there are many communities that are online such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Meetup. These are wonderful ways to connect with others, find special interest groups and connect with like-minded individuals.
However, some studies have shown some people feel more depressed after spending time on Facebook, rather than happier. Also, internet marketing experts will tell you that the power of these online relationships increases significantly when you engage with your online contacts offline.
Again, this is not about numbers, rather it is about meaningful relationships to you. Rather than searching for new communities to be a part of, try to engage your online contacts by meeting them in person. You may find that you have more fun and build deeper trust that way.
4. Be authentic
The whole “just be yourself” quote is so often used, yet so rarely followed. People crave authenticity. Deep inside, we all want to expose our inner self without judgement, yet we often hold back because we fear what other may think of us if we really did so.
Nonetheless, all the evidence shows that when we really expose our truths and vulnerabilities, we gain so much more in friendships, love and lasting relationships.
So don’t be afraid to show off your true self. Whatever trauma, defect or disability you think you may have, the next person has just as much and will probably be very relieved to know your honesty.
Be the first to have the courage to expose your truths and your community will love you for it, if they are genuinely the right community for it.
5. Don’t be selfish, share your connections
Sometimes we find gems of human beings in our community and we just want to hold on to them. We want all their time, we want to hang with them as much as possible and are afraid to introduce or share them with others.
The fear is that if they are introduced to other friends who find them more interesting, then your new connection will leave you. Perhaps this has happened in the past.
Do recognise that if this happens, then this is more about you not loving and valuing yourself, rather than not being valued by others. Its paramount that you recognise your own beauty, talent and strengths and appreciate them. Others will follow.
When you are generous in sharing your connections openly with others, you will receive the same in return and meet more amazing people.
6. The best relationships are long term, so be patient
The best relationships take time, and the communities that we enjoy the most are often ones that we have a long history with.
Even if we don’t attend all their events and miss a few over long periods, the ones that we commit to in spirit can be the ones that rewards us the most.
If you have found a community with the right cause and interest, invest the time in getting to know the people in it. As it the line from the movie ‘Shrek’, people are like onions, we have layers.
The more time you spend in uncovering your layers and theirs, the greater the bonds that form. This will help greatly in sustaining your happiness and wellbeing, particularly in challenging times.
I hope these tips help you improve your social & relationship score in all your communities, so you may better enhance your total wellbeing.
Do you other tips that you use to improve your connections with your community?
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Dr Avi specialises in insights and strategies to improve patient and customer experience.
Contact: +61 2 8091 0918