Week 37: Expanding your friend circle – Going beyond where everyone knows your name

I grew up watching Cheers. Some of the plot lines were probably over my head (and likely not appropriate for my age), but what I remember clearly is 1) the theme song and 2) the sense of family that was formed by the characters.

Do you have a place where you go and everyone knows your name? Is it a local neighborhood establishment? Your workplace? Your church? The gym? The coffee shop or co-working space?

How did this originate?  Think back to when you were the new person sitting at the bar / pew / table. What did it take for you to start making friends with strangers at that place and time?

The concept this brings to mind is: forming new friendships in adulthood. For me, this can either be like tying my shoes or walking in quicksand. With some new people I meet, I can tell we were meant to be together and the conversation flows. The hard part after that initial meeting is keeping the relationship going amidst two seemingly busy lives. With others, conversation sloggs and I plot my careful exit.

The challenges posed in both situations send many of us back to our already-formed friend circle. The logistics of meeting with that really cool new person seem so hard, that you chalk it up to a one-lunch chat. The slog that you experienced with the other person makes you hope you don’t run into them on the street. Back you go to your “originals”. There is nothing better than picking up the conversation where you left off with an old friend, but what if we made room every once in a while, despite all of the made-up obstacles, to expand the circle?

I’ve been practicing this a lot lately. When I meet a person who I feel like I could speak to for hours, I make sure that we have plans to get together again. When I interact with someone who I don’t click with, I don’t try to force another meeting or another awkwardly silent meal. (You know exactly what I’m talking about here – the high-pitched promise of “we should do this again!”)

How does this work for you in your life? How much time and space are you making for new friends in adulthood? How often are you devoting your time to “doing this again” with someone who is not meant to be your BFF?

That’s the challenge I pose this week. Think back to the last really awesome person you met and clicked with, but you don’t have any plans to meet on the calendar. Reach out and invite her to lunch, coffee, or out for a walk. If you aren’t local, find a time to have a video chat (not a phone call that could leave you multi-tasking).  

There is room for more friends in our circle.

Who have you added to your friend circle during the 52 Weeks of Meaningful Connections? I’d love to know if being intentional about making connections has brought new (or rekindled old) relationships to your life. Reach out to me at natalie@smalltownleadership.com to let me know.


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Natalie
Small Town Leadership Founder; Natalie believes everything she needed to know to succeed in her career she learned by growing up in a town of 600 people. As a Certified Professional Coach and award-winning public speaker, she helps her clients and audiences make wherever they are feel like a small town. She lives in Dublin, Ohio with her husband, Rob, a professor at Ohio State and two little girls.

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