Too often, we barely notice (or get to know) the people we interact with.
We may think it’s their loss, but I believe it is ours.
They have the potential to be people who shape our lives if we just got to know them.
A few things about connections that everyone needs to know:
You can’t have too many.
You’ll never hear these words, “Oh he was doomed to fail. He just had way too many connections.”
Never. Gonna. happen.
The more connections you have, the better.
Our connections have a big impact on our success level and is the single biggest factor in our overall happiness.
Many studies over many years have come to this conclusion. These are studies that have been conducted all over the world in various industries, various age groups, and various ethnicities. There are books written on the impact our connections has on our brains and how we experience the same neuro-reaction to disconnection as we do to physical pain. Check out Connected by
Connections are easy to make.
This is the only one of the three that may seem subjective. You may think it’s easy already or you may think it’s one of the hardest things you do. You may consider yourself an introvert and think this is only something extroverts are good at.
Everyone feels differently about it initially. I suggest you keep reading. We’ll talk about ways to make them. If you don’t feel it’s one of your strengths yet, you owe it to yourself, your future, and your happiness to improve in this area.
Before we get into some keys to making connections, check out the experience and advice of one of our student workers, Lily, on this topic.
One of the most important things you do in college is make connections. Even if not immediately helpful, they can benefit you later in life. Whether it be getting a job or expanding your business, connections in the world are extremely important. There is a never a time in your college education that you should stop trying to make new friends.
I think there are four keys to making more connections while you’re a student.
1. Join as many groups as you can.
You can join groups that are just social, groups that correlate with your major, groups that have to do with your ethnic background or cultural interests, your hobbies, and political views. Just about anything you can think of, there is a club for it.
Most of them don’t require much of a commitment either. You sign up for the club, attend a meeting and have fun. Join them throughout the entire time you are in school, not just in the beginning when you don’t know anyone. This is a great way to meet tons of new people with all sorts of different backgrounds throughout your college career.
2. Talk to people you’re sitting in class with.
This is another way to grow your peer group. Plus, it’s beneficial to have a friend in class, especially if it’s a tough class! You two (or you alone) can start a study group or create a group chat, both things not only beneficial for you and your classmates from an educational and learning prospective but also as an opportunity to make new friends and meet people.
3. Get to know the people you work with.
When I was in high school, I worked with a girl for years and we always just chatted but never hung out outside of work. Then she decided to go to the same university as me and we became best friends there and lived together for two years. You never know who from one area of your life will become important in another area.
4. Talk to people everywhere you go.
Introduce yourself to someone you’re having small talk with at the dog park. Maybe you could meet up again the next time you go. Your neighbors, the person you see at the gym every time you go, the cashier who checks you out every single time you go to Dunkin Donuts… these are all opportunities to make friends and beneficial connections.
There are many people around you constantly, and so often we go through life not even noticing the people we are interacting with, but they could potentially be a person who could help shape your life if you just got to know them.
When Lily and I talked, I was surprised to find out that upon entering college, she had some worry around this topic. She wondered if she would make friends and how she would do it. I wouldn’t have expected that, because she came across to me as very social—one of those people who makes friends easily.
You never know how someone is really feeling or who they really are if you never ask. Just know that if you feel like this is not the thing you are best at (making connections), you can improve. Don’t beat yourself up. And definitely don’t give up. Instead, focus on improving in this area. Learn techniques to help you, take action, and once you’ve made many new friends, you’ll be able to help others who struggle in this area.
To see tips on how to start a conversation and make an immediate connection with someone you haven’t met before, check out THIS.
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photo by Alexis Brown