The demands of our lives these days can feel all-consuming and busier than ever.
When feeling challenged or overwhelmed by life, have you ever shared what’s going on with a friend, and felt better afterwards even though nothing changed?
When we share our lives with others we feel heard, confirmed and valued. When we come away barely being able to get a word in edgewise, we can feel unfulfilled.
In times long ago, polite society would say: “How do you do?” And the proper response was always: “How do you do?” Reciprocity is a balanced exchange that can be so gratifying.
The art of supportive friendship encompasses the art of conversation. Here are a few things to practice to take a more mindful interest in others.
>> Greet people genuinely. When you meet someone for the first time, look them in the eye and step in to their space with true curiosity and interest. It’s better to meet fewer people but have a more meaningful impression and connection.
>> Listen with interest. Create the mindset and space to listen to a person’s story and how it impacted their experience without getting stuck thinking about how you can help them or give good advice.
>> Share what you want. You can’t expect people to know what you want or how you feel if you don’t tell them. Speak up and share what you need to share with someone. Friendships take work and willingness to express and meet needs.
Alice Inoue is the founder of Happiness U. Visit YourHappinessU.com.