How to Enter the Friendship Zone and Have All the Friends You Want and Need

Loneliness ends when friendship begins, right? So, how do you go from all alone to all the friends you want and need? The solution, though not quick and easy, begins with you, within your own heart and mind. Here are five steps you must take to enter the friendship zone and create and maintain as many real friendships as you desire:

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web_church outsideStep 1: Show up. You form relationships most frequently from the people you see most frequently. That means if you want to find a friend you must get out of your shell and show up someplace where people you might like to meet can be found. Get active in a cause you support, go to church, volunteer, or search for clubs or other organizations that interest you. When we moved from San Diego to Colorado we moved to a town where we knew almost no one. When the political season started I went to a caucus meeting and met some of our neighbors. Now we have new friends with common interests because I showed up.

Step 2: Speak up. It is easy to interact with people who like the same things you like. When I went to the political caucus meeting, I was confident I would meet people who agreed with my political ideas. In the process I got to know a couple with whom I shared much more than a common political position. We asked questions, listened politely, shared personal histories, and were drawn together by what we saw and heard. We spoke up!

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Five Levels of Friendships

Smarmy quotes about friendship posted on Facebook walls do nothing to clarify the meaning of this serious human yearning. Friendship is experienced on at least five levels.

downloadPassing friendship is the first level. The interesting person you sit next to on a long flight or the stranger who assists you in a moment of need would be passing friendships. After my freshman year in college I took a train from Julesburg, Colorado to Columbus, Nebraska. Sitting close to me was a lovely young lady my age and we chatted like old friends every mile of the way. Before I departed the train we exchanged addresses and promised to stay in touch forever, but we did not. It was a passing friendship. This category would also include nearly all school-days friends.

Needy friendship is the second level. These are the friends who appear only when they need something. They are found on the job when they need a favor, next door when they want to borrow a lawn tool, at church when they need another volunteer, etc. They are people you know and whose company you can abide though you will not vacation with them nor invite them to your birthday party.

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Three Reasons Why You Are Shy and the One Thing You Can Do About It

YOUNG WOMAN“I’m shy. That’s just the way I am,” said a young lady I spoke to recently. To her, shyness is in the same category as the color of her eyes or the size of her feet – something she cannot change. But she can change, and so can you. You do not have to be stranded alone in the corner of a room while everyone else has a good time. Here are three reasons why you are shy and one thing you can do about it.

Reason 1. You have become comfortable with your shyness. You protect yourself in a cocoon of self-doubt, unworthiness and insecurity, and it feels safe. It is like an old pair of shoes; worn, ugly and disintegrating, but you are used to them. If you bought a new pair you would have to break them in and they might pinch or hurt. And what if you didn’t like the way they looked or maybe they wouldn’t go with your favorite outfit? It is too easy to stay with the old ones – no risk, no unpleasant pain, no change. Your shyness is comfortable and your misery is manageable.

Reason 2. You have convinced yourself you must be perfect before you can be personable. You think that there are certain characteristics you must have that will make yourself feel secure enough to take the risk to speak up and be noticed. Since perfection never comes, friendship doesn’t either. Unfortunately, perfection in human relationships is not possible because humans are not perfect.  Michael J. Fox said, “Perfection is God’s business.”

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14 Very Short Stories That Can Change Your Life

The following stories have wonderful shades of emotions. These are based on true incidences both wonderful and inspirational.

My good friend from Zambia, Rasheed Khan, sent me an email I feel compelled to share with you today. He did not write the stories, but he saw the depth of their message and shared them with me. I share them with you. Each story is only a couple of sentences long. Enjoy:

Wheelchair-player1. Today, when I slipped on the wet tile floor a boy in a wheelchair caught me before I slammed my head on the ground. He said, “Believe it or not, that’s almost exactly how I injured my back 3 years ago.”

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The Quickest Cure for Loneliness

social-skills_2The quickest cure for loneliness is to find a friend. Like everything worthwhile, it is easier said than done. Lonely people need a few guiding principles in their pursuit of friendship. Here are five principles that will help you develop good friends.

Principle No. 1: You must diversify your activities. Find a variety of ways to get involved with others: take your lunch break with someone new, join a group involved in playful activity, volunteer to meet some need you identify with, or join a study group. To make friends you have to get out of the rut you are in.

Principle No. 2: You must develop social skills. If you have been alone for some time it is likely you have lost many of the social skills necessary for developing friendships. Relearn them by following these few suggestions: Get sincerely interested in other people. Learn the fine art of asking questions. Since people love to talk about themselves, when you strike up a conversation with someone, get them to talk about themselves. They will think you are the most interesting and intelligent person they have ever met. Use your body language to demonstrate an open and welcoming spirit. Make eye contact. Smile.

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