4 Strategies for Connecting With Others and Building a Supportive Circle

Loneliness has been on the rise over the last few decades. With more digital capabilities, people have the freedom to move across the country and be in situations where they don’t have to see people every day. With remote work, for example, a large percentage of workers are not going into the office regularly. While there are many perks to this, unfortunately, it’s come with a loss of connection and community.

With very few social and common spaces, current generations are struggling to meet new friends. It’s even become a struggle to maintain relationships, with more people moving out of their hometowns and states. These opportunities, and lack thereof, have a huge impact on mental health and emotional well-being. If you find yourself feeling alone in your friend group, it’s worth putting in time to solidify your relationships and form new ones.

Several factors will play into your success when creating new connections in society today. It will require time, effort, and patience to develop and sustain relationships. By focusing on several key components you can start to create a stronger community for yourself.

4 Strategies for Connecting With Others and Building a Supportive Circle
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1. Practice Vulnerability

A common pain point that researchers see among current generations is the lack of closeness. The ability to foster closer relationships is a challenge that often results because of the environment you grew up in and the relationships you’ve had over time. There is no formal education on how to be vulnerable, so if you’re finding it difficult as an adult, it may take some effort on your part.

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Connecting with a therapist or joining rehab for mental health can help you develop new skills and get used to talking about your feelings, especially if you’re dealing with insecurities and trust issues. Speaking to a therapist can help you open up yourself to others. A professional will also give insight into your relationship challenges.

Practicing vulnerability will not only make you feel closer to your friends, but it will create a space where your friends can be vulnerable too. Overall, it’s important to share your feelings with friends when you’re going through a tough time. It’s especially crucial if you feel like your needs aren’t being met by your friend group. Being honest about how you’re feeling and their lack of support can motivate them to change.

2. Try Self-Reflection

When you’re struggling to maintain your social connections, it’s important to reflect on your own habits within relationships. While the people surrounding you may need improvement, chances are there are areas where you can develop as a better friend as well. For instance, if you often cancel at the last minute, it can leave a bad impression, even with friends. Any relationship will require equal participation and effort from all parties involved.

Also, reflect on your compatibility with your current friend groups. If you like to go out all the time but your friends don’t, you may need to meet new friends who share the same interests as you. While you and your friends don’t have to all like the same things, it’s important to have some areas where you are aligned. It will be easier for you to connect with those who have similar goals and values.

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Taking the time to reflect on yourself and your friendships will help you discover the weaknesses and ways that these relationships may not be a perfect fit. It does not mean you have to end these friendships, but it may give you motivation to start looking for different people to connect with.

3. Establish Boundaries

After your self-reflection, you may find that certain relationships are not bringing positivity to your life. Certain friends may be disrespectful, or not putting the same amount of effort into the relationship as you. In these situations, it may benefit you to establish some boundaries and limit your time with those who are bringing negativity into your life.

If someone is bringing you down on a regular basis, you’ll need to list the pros and cons of the relationship. Cutting someone off completely may seem harsh at first, but if it makes you happier, it’s worth it. Even if you have a history with this person and care about them, you need to prioritize relationships with those who truly respect and support you.

Resist any tendencies to people please, and put yourself first in some of the relationships that make you unhappy. Setting boundaries is a small step in creating a community that supports you and contributes to your stability.

4. Put Yourself Out There

Making yourself open to socializing and talking to new people is a key part of creating new connections. Creating new relationships is another area where vulnerability comes into play. No one likes rejection, so it can be scary to create plans with someone new. However, when you end up creating a new friendship, it’s certainly worth the risk.

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If you’re alone in your socializing, it might interest you to find a social group hosted by a local organization. Volunteer opportunities, sports tournaments, and book clubs are all classic ways to begin building a new community for yourself.  Once you’ve built up the courage to go and try something new by yourself, you’ll meet new people doing something you enjoy.

You may not be best friends with everyone you meet, but there’s a chance that you’ll meet someone you can connect with. It takes practice to feel more confident in new social settings. So putting yourself out there by simply leaving the house is a great baby step toward being more comfortable in your own skin and interacting with strangers.

Remember You’re Not Alone

If you’re reading this, it’s probably because you’ve felt lonely or disconnected from those around you. This isn’t an experience unique to you. It’s something that many people, especially young adults, experience at some point in their life.

Creating a supportive social circle is essential to your emotional well-being. So put in the effort to nourish current and new relationships. In the end, building a supportive circle will contribute to your mental wellness and continue to benefit you over time.

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