Finding Your Tribe: Be Real
This is part 4 in my 5-part series on forming deep relationships as an adult. If you missed the first 3 posts in the series, you can catch up here:
I have a real love/ hate relationship with social media. It seems like I’ve been Facebooking for as long as I can remember. (Now I’ll proceed to date myself by telling you I’ve used it for over 14 years, and I still remember when it was called, “The Facebook”, lol.)
There are times when I love social media because I can keep up with the friends that I’ve made in the three states I’ve lived in during my adult life. It’s fun to watch friends grow their families, get married, get new jobs, and travel. And I love sharing the fun details of my life on social media as well.
Then there are times I’m just so tired of reading about the DRAMA. When election time rolls around…Ugh! Count me out! I’m amazed at how nasty people can get behind the screen. Even more amazed when I think about how once something is written online, it exists indefinitely. It never goes away, people!
However, social media has been a real lifesaver and motivator when it comes to my parenting journey. Recently, I felt frustrated by my infant’s sporadic sleep habits. Ok, “frustrated” is probably an understatement. I was at my wit’s end. So I wrote a status update venting on how I wished I could hire a sleep coach so we could get some sleep around here.
I was just venting, and yet, the comments started pouring in. Mom after mom weighed in and recounted her own child’s sleep problems. Suddenly, I felt much less overwhelmed and much more understood. I was a part of an elite club of Mommas dealing with difficult sleepers. Which brings me to the whole point of this post…
To Find Your Tribe…Be Real
That post on Facebook was meant to be a venting session for me, but because I was being completely honest on what I was dealing with and how it made me feel, other moms immediately connected to it.
People connect to real life. Let’s face it… we may all have rainbows and sunshine and perfectly cooked meals to show off, but we all have just as many clouds and rain and messy, disorganized houses that we don’t often let people see.
If you want people to truly connect with you, beyond simply “liking” your posts, be real. Be honest about your struggles and you’ll start connecting with others who share the same pain points as you.
This series on friendship has been all about growing deeper relationships with others. It probably goes without saying that what works online works even better in real, every day life. But it’s true. If you want to grow a friendship beyond an acquaintance, be willing to share about issues you’re currently struggling with. Invite the other person into your life.
Yes, this takes a certain amount of vulnerability on your part. It’s a little scary. But worth it, especially if the other person can relate to you.
If you’re wondering how you can become vulnerable and honest with another person, here are 3 ways to do it.
3 Ways to Be Real:
- Share about a current struggle you’re facing. This is exactly what I did in my Facebook post about my daughter’s poor sleep habits. I’ll be the first to tell you that I have pretty darn cute kids, but those darlings are far from perfect (just like their Momma)! Admitting that I was struggling with the sleep issue did make me vulnerable, but also helped me to see that so many other people deal with the same issue too.
- When you make a mistake, own it. It’s important to own your mistakes and call them out when they happen. If you do this in front of a new friend, you’re showing that you’re mature enough to admit when you got it wrong. That can go a long way in the development of a new friendship.
- Laugh often. I’m convinced we need more laughter in our lives. Everyone is so serious all the time. I know I can get in a rut and wear the same serious face hour after hour. But a really easy way to remind yourself to laugh more is to get around a kid. Yes, even your kid. Have you noticed that kids laugh all the time? And about the smallest things too. Get around your kid and laugh when they laugh. And then practice it in every day life.
Remember that no one is perfect. We all have our struggles. When you’re cultivating new friendships, don’t be afraid to be honest about the issues present in your life right now. Instead of turning someone away, you might just gain your new best friend when she admits she’s going through the same thing as you!
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