How’s your social life? Do you enjoy the people you hang out with? Are they supportive and encouraging? Or are they a bit like “Debbie downers”?
Here’s the thing about relationships: They are critical to who you are, what you value, and your emotional well-being. If you find that your social circle is not what you would like, the first thing you need to understand is that YOU can do something about it.
So, how do you develop a positive and healthy social circle? Here are a few tips.
How to build a healthy and positive social circle
1. Embrace Your Worth
People with poor self-image tend to surround themselves with others who have little to offer. This allows them to feel accepted and perhaps, a bit superior.
If this sounds like you, it’s time for some self-assessment. None of us are perfect, but all of us have something valuable to share with others. Make a list of your strengths – you will probably be surprised.
Focusing on what you have to offer will change your attitude. You will hold your head up a bit higher; you will initiate conversations; you will have more confidence. People respond to these behaviors. You might even become friends with folks you’ve never thought to hang out with.
2. Focus on Quality
We all know people who seem to have huge circles of friends and acquaintances. They are extroverts who have “never met a stranger”. They are able to strike up conversation anywhere, with anyone. Sometimes, we envy them.
You can choose to focus on quantity or quality – but the best choice is quality. When you have a smaller social circle, but it’s comprised of people who understand the meaning of true friendship; folks who are there when you need them and whom you can trust, then you have great social circle already.
Not that your inner loop shouldn’t widen – it should. But being selective means that you segment out acquaintances (and who may not be especially healthy for you). Keep them at arm’s length and draw the true supporters close.
3. It’s Not All About You
Sometimes, in our fear of rejection or feeling of inadequacy, we spend too much time hesitating when it comes to developing new relationships.
In our minds are the following questions:
- What if they don’t respond to me?
- What if they feel I have nothing to offer?
- What if they think I’m not attractive enough?
Notice that all of these questions are about you. When you approach possible conversations with “me” questions in your head, you are not focusing on the other person.
Get over yourself and your self-doubt. Make your approach all about them. Ask questions, and then actively listen to those responses. Show genuine interest. People tend to warm up to these types of advances.
4. Get Rid of Dead Weight
We all have some relationships that are “unhealthy”.
It can be that “needy” individual who consumes too much of our time and energy. Or a relationship that is somewhat emotionally abusive. It can be that negative person who always seems to drag our mood down.
If you have any of these in your social circle, it’s time to weed them out. Stop being so available. The less time you give them, the more you’ll have to focus on developing those interactions that are healthy and positive.
At the same time, be certain that you are NOT one of these negative people who drag others down.
5. Seek Out People You Admire
There are individuals we admire because of their accomplishments, general positive attitudes, or their ability to get along with others. They seem to have a network of positive relationships as well.
These are the people you want to bring into your loop. Learn all that you can about them – this information will give you the means to begin communication on their level.
When you can add people you admire to your social circle, you become more like them. The old saying, “We are known by the company we keep” is still true today. Humans are social beings, so we will naturally want to seek out relationships with others.
Depending on the psychological baggage that one brings into adulthood, the relationships we seek (and keep) can either stunt our personal and professional growth, or push us forward.
Relationships that push us forward are positive and healthy. Identify those people who provide this, actively pursue their friendship, and experience how much better your life becomes.