I realize it’s hard to find real friends. I’ve heard a lot of complaints over the years about how people don’t really listen, they don’t really care and they don’t really want to connect deeply. But I believe that while it may seem that way on the surface, there are actually WAY more lonely people longing to connect than we realize.
Yesterday one of my articles ran with Her View From Home. The point of the article is this: there are more kindred spirits out there than you probably realize, but it takes courage to find them. I offer some suggestions about how to do so: (click here to read the article and share it if you think it might help someone.)
There is something else I learned about finding connections that feel like kindred spirits.
We are all different on the surface. Our differences are enormous. Different genders, religions, cultures, stages of life, hobbies, interests, etc. The list is not infinite, but it seems like it is. With all of those differences, how could we ever find someone like us? How could we ever find a kindred spirit?
Let me tell you! By focusing on our humanity. What makes us all human? We all have bodies, thoughts, feelings, goals, longings and deep fears. And we all need love. But you’ll only have surface-relationships if you only talk about surface things. You will keep feeling alone and distant from everyone else if you try to “fit in” by doing what others do and saying what others say. No. If you want to actually connect and be known, if you really don’t want to feel alone, you’ve got to be brave and get to the heart.
Simply being there to listen and see the insides of a person is helpful. You don’t have to change them. Simply inviting a friend out of the darkness of secrecy and shame and into the light where they are loved can change a life! There may be a time for advice, but stick with the 80/20 rule. Listen and acknowledge 80% of the time and then when it feels like the other person is ready, go ahead and offer your wisdom – but only about 20% of the time. If you meet their pain with your wisdom all or most of the time, they’ll start to feel disrespected and tune you out.
5 things to ask and do to see and acknowledge the heart of your friend:
- What is my friend excited about right now? Be excited for them without bringing in your own story.
- What is my friend afraid of right now? Allow them to admit it without trying to dispel their fears.
- What is my friend longing for right now? Assume that there is a longing even deeper than the one they admit, but don’t press too hard. Do they say they long to be married? I’m sure that’s true, but what about being married do they long for? Validation? Companionship? To feel loved?
- What is going on underneath my friend’s frustration right now? Is he sad? Does she long for something she can’t find?
- How is my friend’s health? Is she getting enough sleep? Does he need a break? Is there anything I can do to relieve their physical burden?
Don’t give up on finding kindred spirits. Don’t give up on connecting and love and hope and the power of loving people right where they are.
The world needs your love.