Though we are supposedly more connected than ever as a society, often we feel as though we have no support. It’s in these times that we need to remember that weaving our own web of contacts, confidantes, and close friends takes more than Liking, Following, and Subscribing, it takes real connection, and that can mean getting out there In Real Life.
Whether you’re looking to expand your network in the virtual space, IRL, or both, the following four tips can help you connect and find support.
Authenticity is such an overused and worn out word mainly because it’s become a goal and not a state of being. Being authentic doesn’t come from following a checklist, it comes from knowing yourself, being unafraid to reveal who you are when you meet someone, and being (paradoxically) comfortable in your vulnerability.
Genuineness is attractive to others because they can sense that you aren’t trying to “get something” from them but are instead simply showing up from a place of true curiosity and interest. Vulnerability doesn’t mean revealing your life story in detail, but it does mean being human; admitting that you have the same concerns, struggles, and challenges as others attracts people who can become part of your tribe thereby allowing you both to support each other.
Make Connections – Without Expectations
Whether it’s online or in person, you know when you’re being targeted as just another follower or subscriber because you feel it. And the feeling you have is one of ickiness. Nothing feels authentic, and you just know that if you sign up for someone’s free lead magnet you’re going to get about four emails in the next six days touting their new product or offering.
This, my friends, is an expectation, and it’s killing people’s ability to truly connect both online and IRL.
If someone emails you way too often for your liking after you subscribe to a list or they toss a business card at you as they’re introducing themselves at an in-person networking event, they are not connecting, they are expecting. They are not looking at you as a person; they are looking at you as a number.
The number one key to connecting with others is to do so with no expectations.
Your web of mutual support will grow out of getting to know other people, developing trust in them, and allowing them into your world. It does not grow out of immediately placing an obligation on them or expecting them to return a favor with no foundation in place.
The kicker is, knowing and trusting take time. They take effort. They take consistency, communication, and dedication. And this is why they can be so challenging. Connecting with other people isn’t efficient or often convenient. It can be tough to move past superficial niceties and really make real and supporting connections. But you can do it.
The next time you connect with others, shift your mindset to one of curiosity and learning instead of expectation and see how that changes your experience.
Make a New Choice
To work on expectation management when you’re connecting with people, make a new choice and approach your connecting time as learning time. View it as a time to learn not only about others but about yourself.
If you need support in one area, ask yourself how you can provide support to others. If you’re looking to grow your business network, ask what your business can do for others.
Notice how you’re choosing to show up for your connecting time. The energy you bring to every encounter shows up in your body language, how you speak (and the words you type online so be mindful), and in your tone.
If you aren’t feeling like you’re connecting with others in meaningful ways, make a new choice in how you’re showing up for the interactions. By changing your energy and managing expectations, you stand a better chance of forming stronger, more meaningful bonds with others.
Grow with Patience and Care
Weaving a web of mutual support is about nurturance and trust. The web you weave will grow with time and patience (both of which may need some practice and nurturance themselves) and will change as you continue on your own personal growth journey.
With patience and care you will begin to understand that:
- Your words and deeds have far-reaching effects
- Showing up authentically will attract the right people to you
- Synchronicity is possible with trust
- Having no expectations allows you to attract the right people to you while honoring and releasing those who are not meant to be in your web
- Making choices about how you show up energetically can radically change how you feel about connecting with others both online and IRL.
Living and working in a hyper-connected world can feel as isolating or as inviting as we choose to make it. By showing up to connect with others authentically, managing expectations, making choices about our energy, and having patience, you can build and grow a strong community that provides mutual support, caring, and comfort.