Finding Your People
How to Maintain Good Relationships in a Society That Values Quantity over Quality of Human Interaction
As an extrovert with many conflicting interests, I find myself involved in several different friend groups and activities. I've made many new connections and started several new hobbies over the past year.
Eventually, I began to slow down and notice that I didn't love every group I was in. While I was a part of many things, I often felt lonely. I started to reassess my friendships and create higher quality relationships. I have started to come to terms with the fact that not all friendships have to last a lifetime, and others are worth preserving, but require work.
Balance your interests.
Spending too much time with one group of people can be detrimental. The last thing you want is to lose interest in a good thing. It is also rare that you will find someone who likes everything you do. Instead of repressing hobbies and your enthusiasm for them, find other people who cherish your ideas and the different facets of your personality.
This can be difficult to do since our society values such an intense amount of socialization. But learning your limits is important. Don't feel guilty about staying home on a Friday night, or turning down a party for a day trip with one friend. Quality over quantity.
Make more time.
Quality relationships stem from quality time. The problem is, time is something that we always seem to lack. The best way to see your friends on your tight schedule is to know theirs. If you're both behind on emails, take your work to a local cafe. Go clothes shopping together or invite them on your morning run. Even menial tasks can be made more pleasant when there's someone to enjoy them with.
It's okay to drift apart.
People and circumstances change. Sometimes a friendship that once seemed like a match made in heaven can turn out to be...a bit of a chore. If you find yourself wanting to cancel plans more and more, and feeling the need to convince yourself of the benefits of seeing this person, it could be time for a change.
It's not as though you need a huge middle-school-drama-style falling out in order to end a friendship, just a little space. If the other party doesn't continue to extend invites, chances are they weren't feeling it either.
Remember your long-time friends.
It is easy to get caught up in everyday life and forget to check in on older friendships when you are constantly meeting new people. Reconnecting with them can also seem like a burden. However, these people have stayed in your life for a reason. Chances are you will be able to talk to them as if no time has passed. Shoot them an email or meet up at an old hang-out spot. You won't regret it.
Above all, find people that make you happy. Be with people who make you feel good about yourself and are putting in the time to be with you. You'll have stronger, healthier friendships that'll last longer.
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