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Four Ways Adults Can Create A Meaningful Social Circle

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There is something about adulthood that makes it incredibly difficult to make new friends.

In elementary, middle and high school, you’re forced to see a particular cohort of folks a few times a week, forced to do activities and projects with them. Inevitably, some of those people you’re forced to interact with become friends.

I wasn’t always the best at making new friends. In fact, I was always the lonely-looking girl standing awkwardly by the punch bowl at every conference or event. I didn’t know what to say so usually, I said nothing.

Even when someone would come up to me (you know, after you accidentally make eye contact for 5 seconds or more) and start small talk. They’d ask me about my day and on the inside I’d start to panic.

I wanted to be the person that always said the right thing… the cool thing… the witty thing. I wanted so desperately to make a connection that I often said nothing.

Through sheer stubbornness and persistence, I kept putting myself in these awkward situations (re: punch bowl, eye contact) until they started to feel normal and I mustered up the courage to start makin’ some friends.

The followings tips come from lessons I learned on my journey and some of the best practices I’ve ever received to build deeper, more intimate relationships with other women as an adult.

Send Handwritten Notes... for any reason.

I met a young lady at a networking event and she asked to follow up with me on a call later that week. We talked about her business and what she could do to grow. At the end of the call she asked for my address. I gave it to her and completely forgot about the ask, since no one ever really sends anything in the mail.

A week later, I got a postcard thanking me for my help. I couldn't believe it! I honestly felt warm on the inside.

She immediately set herself apart from anyone else I've ever met in my entire life. To this day, we've done two partnerships and we've become great friends. 

I started to send handwritten notes to friends and family at least once a year. I notice they’re always just as surprised as I was to receive that first note.

Handwritten notes are cool because you can be authentic, personal and long-winded (if that’s your thing). It’s also a keepsake that they could hold onto for years.

Call, Don't Text

I know, no one uses the phone anymore… and that’s exactly why you should be! Instead of sending a text to check up on friends, call them up. Listen to their problems and be fully present in the activity of catching up.

When Facebook sends that daily email letting you know it's someone's birthday, call them instead of writing on their FB wall. They'll remember that phone call for the same reason that people remember a letter. Most people aren't doing it.

You can call for any reason:

  • Birthday

  • Promotion

  • Life event (wedding, family death, kid’s baseball game, etc.)

  • Invite them out for drinks/coffee/lunch/dinner/hangout session of some sort

  • Just to say hi! (gasp!)

Calls are highly underused these days. That’s why you should be using them to deepen your relationships.

Join Social Groups (where people meet in person) 

If you have a hobby, try to find groups of people that enjoy that same hobby.

When I was transitioning into analytics, I joined every meetup group on meetup.com that talked about the topic. I eventually found 2 groups that I liked and started going to the meetings every month. After about 3 weeks of seeing the same faces, I started to make friends. 

It doesn’t matter what your hobby is, there are usually people nearby that enjoy doing the same thing. When you meet up based on a common hobby, you already have things to talk about and a basis to connect on.

Meet the people you talk to online in person 

I spend a ton of time on the internet (mostly Facebook) talking to the people I meet in groups. If you're in a large group, it could be helpful to announce "Hey guys! I'm in DC, would anyone want to meet up in person for coffee?" You'd be surprised how many people say yes! 

The one common theme I think in all of these is to make an effort to get away from the digital world and talk to folks in more personal ways. The more people you talk to, the more chances you have to find and build a great circle of friends. 

Keep “putting yourself out there”

The phrase “putting yourself out there” typically means taking risks - and that’s what you’ll need to do if you want to make some real friends.

Even if you’re uncomfortable, you’ll have to start talking to people. That’s the only way they’ll get to know you and your personality.

Related Content: How to Push Yourself Out of Your Comfort Zone

You’ll have to ask them to meet up in a social setting. If you want intimate relationships, you must create a space for intimacy.

Finally, you’ll have to keep trying. Sometimes you’ll find someone you think is cool, but they decline every invitation no matter how many times you invite them out. Don’t take this personally. They could have a million reasons (that have nothing to do with you) for why they can’t hang out.

In that case, let them tell you when they’re free (which might never happen) and find someone who does have the time, interest and capacity to spend time with you… because you’re worth it.

I hope the future leads to some amazing friendships for you! (And if you're in the DC or NY area, we should totally grab a drink!) 

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About Chantl

Chantl founded Thrive Lounge to give women the kick in the pants they need (lovingly, of course) to uncomplicate their goals, stop making excuses, get productive and start living the life they always wanted. Her book, Goal Doing: Practical Advice For Goal Setting, Action Planning and Achieving Your Dreams, gives women a step-by-step guide to create, plan and achieve their grandest goals.

Why Your Dreams Need A Home (and How to Create It)

A few weeks ago I met with a friend who has been stuck in a bit of a rut. Her rut, however, is more of a #firstworldproblems kind of rut. It's not the "OMG! My life is falling apart right before my eyes" kind of rut. In short, she envisions a massive future for herself BUT (there's always a but, right?) she doesn't have any motivation to change what she's doing right now.

She works at a job that pays her well, she does have a management role and she gets to do work she enjoys. (Not the worst thing in the world, right?) The problem is that in her free time, she daydreams about this story forming in her head - a brilliant story of war, heartache, triumph and family values. Each day the story becomes more complex. It's poking at her, begging to be shared with the world. 

Over peppermint tea, she shares with me her struggle with complacency. Her life is nothing short of enjoyable. That book (or screenplay - she hasn't decided) would add another layer of complexity to her life and she's not sure she's ready for it. Through her internal struggle, her vision is growing, each chapter of the story is now screaming at her, letting her know it's time to let it fly. 

Whether she pursued this book or not, it was time to give her dreams a place to live. Her dreams are currently occupying her brain space making it difficult to fully enjoy her life as it is because she feels like she's missing something. She feels like she needs to do this. There's a subtle feeling of disappointment in herself for not bringing her dreams to life. (... and we've all felt this at some point, right?)

What she didn't realize is that she didn't need to quit her job to sit down and pen this body of work over the next year. Instead she can start a small process of making her dream tangible by giving it a place to live. Right now, she could start the process of writing down the names of each chapter as they came to her. She could start with a small summary of what would happen in each of those chapters. She could develop the names of the characters and pen the details of their personality and appearance. She could write down the conflicts they went through and how they got through them. The possibilities are endless...

Creating a home for your dreams is simple, you can: 

  • Start a blog

  • Write down your ideas in a journal

  • Use Word Documents, Google Docs or Evernote

In doing this, you start making your dream tangible so, in small tiny pieces, it does become a reality. You also create a habit of taking steps towards your goal so that it's easier to keep the momentum going. (It won't be overnight, but within a few years, she will have that book.) Also, you stop feeling disappointed in yourself. Instead, you can feel proud that you've become that person that is making their dreams come true. In turn, you can fully enjoy the life you're currently living. 

Finding a home for your dreams is your opportunity to simply START. You don't have to share it with anyone. Every time you have an idea, you now have a place where you can write it down and hold on to it until you're ready to take the leap. Your idea is not lost to you and it's no longer in abstract. It exists and you, with minimal effort, are taking the first steps to bringing your dreams to fruition. 

 

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About Chantl

Chantl founded Thrive Lounge to give women the kick in the pants they need (lovingly, of course) to uncomplicate their goals, stop making excuses, get productive and start living the life they always wanted. Her workbook, The Vision Board Planner, gives women a step-by-step guide to create a super effective and life-changing vision board. 

How To Have PRODUCTIVE Calls With Your Accountability Partner

Accountability Partner

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This year, I made a pretty big decision to intentionally piss some people off. Who are the unfortunate angry people that have incurred my wrath, you ask? My trifling student loan company.

Since I've been tracking my finances like a boss, I made a conscious decision to get out of debt. Like, completely out of debt - student loan debt, credit card debt, and all of that left over, residual debt from my early 20's (#YoungAndDumb) by my 30th birthday.

This would require an insane amount of discipline, planning, and focus... over the course of a few years. (It's like I'm training for the Olympics, but no one will hand me a medal at the end of it.) That's when I decided to get an accountability partner.

 

What is an accountability partner?

An accountability partner is someone that ensures you're reaching your goals by checking in with you periodically. The greatest accountability partners are your high productivity, type-A besties because they can gossip about absolutely nothing over wine for hours, but still have an off switch when it's time to #werk.

Why accountability partners work.

Add social pressure. When everyone else is going to the party, you want to go, right? This is the same thing. You are making a commitment to your friend that you will accomplish your goals. Wouldn't want to let her down, now would you?

Give you a schedule. If you know you have someone checking in with you about whether you published that blog post, you're going to make sure you get it done before your call!

Fresh perspective on your ideas. Now, you have someone to tell you if your ideas are great... and if you need to think through them a bit more.

Devil's advocate. Every idea sounds good in your head, right? An accountability partner will challenge those ideas and make sure you've thought about it from every angle.

Have I sold you on getting an accountability partner yet? Good! Here's how you make your weekly calls productive.

 

Reflect on your accomplishments and where you want to go BEFORE THE CALL.

After each accountability call (if you've done it right) you'll walk away with at least 3 to-do items. Right before the next call starts, ask yourself whether you actually accomplished those goals. If you didn't, why not? Did you only partially complete your goals?

Taking account of what you've done ahead of time will make it easier for you to translate what you've done to your accountability partner so your call is not filled with a bunch of hmmmm's and let me check's.

Also, if you have an idea of where you want to take your goals next, that gives a lot of opportunity to talk about how you will execute your ideas on the calls. Being fully prepared for your accountability call gives you an opportunity to GO DEEPER into your goals and ideas on the calls. 

 

Be ready to share your ideas.

Just as you'll be sharing your accomplishments and goals with your accountability partner, they will be sharing theirs with you. Listen carefully to what their goals are. Better yet, write them down so you can look back at them. Ask questions to make sure you fully understand what their next steps are.

Then (get ready for it...) share what you think about their new idea. Do you think it's brilliant? Have you done something similar and have an experience to share? Are you excited about the idea? Is there a way to DREAM BIGGER here?

Sharing your ideas and experience is a way to add more value to a conversation by presenting a new perspective that your partner may not have considered or thought about.

 

Keep a log of your accountability partner's goals.

Talking about your goals is all fine and good, but at the end of the year of working with your accountability partner, what have you accomplished? What has your partner accomplished? 

You cannot measure what you don't track. Keeping a long of your partner's goals will allow you to say, "Wow, you've paid off $6K in your loans in 5 months!" or "Wow, you wanted to pay off $2000 this month and you paid $3000!" It will also show you whether or not you've been successful over time. 

 

Stay on topic.

The one downside to having a friend as an accountability partner is when you get the urge to go WAY off topic. You could be talking about career options and opportunities and then fall way off track talking about what you're going to do the upcoming weekend. 

Guard your accountability time like the queen on a chess board. Your time is valuable and precious. Take good care of it and you'll win every time.

xoxo

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