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The Friendship Resolution

Are you fed-up, sick and tired, and otherwise OVER our recent era of social isolation? Do you feel detached from real relationships with anyone outside of your family yet desire more meaningful friendships? Does it feel as if your life has been on hold for two years? You are not alone! Three-quarters of people around the world feel “stuck” personally and professionally. Just as our economy and many businesses have greatly suffered from the shut-down, limits, restrictions and other unforeseen obstacles, our personal lives and friendships have also greatly suffered. It is time we re-connect as a social human-being in an intentional way and “bring-it-in” to again welcome connection within the 6 ft constraint of social distancing and perhaps even a few HUGS!

It is true that this pandemic is not over yet, and we should continue to be mindful and limit our large indoor gatherings. However, finding and nurturing a handful of close friendships does not require large groups. In fact, real connection is more successfully forged one on one. What deep friendship does require is a decision, a plan, and consistent action toward finding and building these relationships. In 2021, a reported 188 million people set out on January 1st to make a few changes in their lives by creating a New Year’s Resolution. Change can be tough, and most people have an aversion to change because it is often uncomfortable. We humans do love our comfort zones, so it is understandable why most resolutions do not last even the month of January, let alone the months or year it takes to make change stick. Some people give up altogether on New Year's Resolutions. For those of us who don’t, why do we keep trying? The answer is different for everyone but for the most part it all comes down to this. We want to make our lives better. We want to be happier, healthier, live longer and experience more joy in our lives. So, we resolve to make a change… again. The science is clear, nurturing friendships is certainly one way to live a more joyful, happier, healthier, and longer life! Some would suggest that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. What will it take for us to turn the corner and really do things differently and get the desired result in 2022? Most people start off well with an intention and follow it up the first weeks of the year with action that becomes less and less consistent. The problem here is that they missed a crucial step. The plan! A successful plan has a few parts. First, you should set a realistic goal. For our friendship resolution, decide how many close friendships you would like to build this year. A good start may be to add one or two. These friendships do not happen overnight. Studies prove that it takes between 40 and 60 hours to form a casual friendship, 80-100 hours to transition to become a friend and more than 200 hours together to become good friends. You can stretch that 200 hours over weeks, months or years. The second element to a good plan is that you should share your goal with a few people. Let your spouse and family know that building a few friendships is important to you and ask for their support! Third, focus on a smaller number of goals. One or two solid friendships can truly make a big difference in your life. You need to build deep with a few friends before you can build your Tribe out wide. Lastly, there are benefits to starting out strong in an all-out way to get the ball rolling. Taking the initial steps to connect or reconnect may take some effort upfront and even follow-up to get your calendars opened and aligned with new friends. Go after it with determination and after a bit, the momentum you have created will help your efforts to connect. If as suggested in the beginning of this post, you have a desire to build more meaningful friendships in 2022, here are my four recommendations to create your Friendship Resolution plan of action:

1. Identify what friends you already have that you would like to build a deeper friendship.

Maybe you were close to this friend at some point in time but the pandemic or “life” in general threw you off track and the friendship has been somewhat neglected. Beyond social media you do not really know what is going on in their lives, nor do they you. Reach out and set up a coffee, lunch, or happy hour to catch up! Share what is going well for you and also a thing or two that isn’t. Vulnerability is the path to deepening friendships. It is not necessary (or even recommended) to go too deep too fast. Over time, share a little more as you become closer and in proportion to their sharing. One get-together is not enough! Continue to connect over the next weeks and months and your friendship will grow.

2. Set out to meet new people.

Whoa – what? We have been home bound for so long it can be scary to put ourselves out there in new environments. Our meeting people muscle has atrophied but it will bounce back with a little practice. The easy way is to start by exploring things that interest you! Take an art class or join a new gym. Check out and find a group that hikes, rides bikes, scrapbooks, or whatever sounds fun to you! You will most certainly meet some new people and the bonus is that you already have something in common. Whatever you decide to try, commit to give it a fair shot and show up at least three times. The first time may not seem to pay off, but I have heard it said, 90% of success is just showing up. The second and third visit will be easier, and you will begin to recognize some familiar faces. Once you are there, strike up a conversation by simply introducing yourself and asking a question or two. Listening with interest is a fast-track to friendship!

3. Add friendship building activities to your calendar.

Things that are important in your life make your calendar. Our lives are busy, and we have lots of commitments. If we do not document the plan for our friendship resolution, it has little chance for success. Also, if it does not have a “place” on your calendar, it can easily be overlooked or pushed aside by someone else’s priorities. Each week block out time to connect one on one with a friend or two that you would like to build deeper. You may not be able to physically connect each week but staying in touch with a quick phone call and a text here and there letting them know you are thinking about them can keep the relationship growing. If like many you need a few new friends, add events to your calendar where you get out of the house and meet new people. Set a reminder each week to create your friendship plan for the week. This step of the plan is the piece that can truly set you up for success in your friendship resolution.

4. Join Lady and the Tribe’s FREE Inner Circle

Sometimes we all need a little help or reminders that will keep us on track. Lady and the Tribe’s Inner Circle project. Together we will connect on ways to find your Tribe and then build deep, lasting life-long friendships that will add meaning to your life (and may increase your life expectancy!) BONUS! Here we will share ideas on how to find new friends, connect more regularly and provide ideas for a monthly get-together for your Tribe to go deeper. Please find our Facebook Page Lady and the Tribe | Facebook and let's connect and create community there as well.

Together, lets create new connections and each build our own Tribe of support in 2022!

All my love,

Brenda Ridgley

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