How to establish meaningful connections

Photo by Harli Marten on Unsplash

Introduction

According to the ancient Greeks, there are three types of friendship: the acquaintance relationship, the friend relationship, and the soul connection.

In modern terms, you have the work/school/gym buddy with whom you talk about the weather, politics, business, etc. The friend you visit for relationship advice, like to gossip with, and ask for their personal opinion — the philosopher’s relationship where you discuss the concepts that influence the world beyond perception.

These three relationships share a common ground in which they can maturate.

Here are three fundamental notions to keep in the back of the mind, next time you visit a friend.

Acceptance

Few people were blessed with a loving childhood and have established a foundation of belonging in this world, which can not be shaken by any external event.

But if you are like me, there is always that lingering feeling in the back of your mind that you are not interested enough as the people you admire.

Good friends will assure that anxiety is a fundamental part of the human experience. They accept you despite your shortcomings by complimenting you on your strengths or putting negative experiences in perspective.

Yesterday I met with a female friend I have known since high school. I opened up that I regretted never taking a chance on high school love. The girls I fancied did not return the favor while I rejected all the girls who were interested in me. What I could not comprehend at that age was that love is about growth and not initial lust.

My friend assured me that many of her female friends also never experienced highschool relationships, and some of them have found love during their university years. She contrasted my experience with hers and told me that many of her high school relationships were superficial in hindsight. Only her current relationship is one of love.

Photo by Alexandra Lammerink on Unsplash

Humor

Life is full of dark corners where light is far from being found. A good friend will show you the laughter in the tears of truth.

If you struggle to be comedic, there are only 11 types of jokes, according to Big Think: irony, satire, hyperbole, etc.

Learn from the best and watch comedians, which you think are funny. In time and you will become more natural in integrating their humor style in your day to day activities.

Laughing at yourself and the world is a form of optimism that can’t be underestimated.

I never considered myself as funny until I discovered that I have a knack for the absurd.

I love to be critical and have innovative thoughts that translate to the hyperbole and satire in the humor department.

Find which kind of puns suit your personality and start experimenting!

Vulnerability

How often do you talk about sex, depression, and failure with your friends?

Only when you show your most personal struggles, deep thoughts, and wicked emotions; souls connect.

To achieve such a thing, I recommend trying out Ray Dalio’s concept of radical honesty.

I try to be as truthful to myself in every interaction with people, friends, or strangers.

Why?

I see the merits of the more objective view of a stranger when I discuss my life situation or abstract ideas.

As Tim Ferris would put it: elders look harsh to younger people because they expect people to do things for them. What life teaches us, in the long run, is that comforting the other is a waste of your precious time. So be direct and trust your gut instinct. — Don not fear rejection.

For example, in my last interactions, I have talked about my age anxiety. I felt like the ultimate loser in a previous couple of months because I had not finished my bachelor’s thesis in three years.

While all my friends were finishing university or working, I felt stuck, left behind, and lost all grip of perspective.

I thought I had to accept that would live an average life, with a job I would despise but would give some form of financial stability.

After talking about these struggles to acquaintances and friends, others opened up and showed me that this is my cynical perspective, and I should not let external validation determine my living.

Conclusion

I am deeply grateful for all the beautiful friendships in my life.

They add color and spice to my limited time on earth.

When I showed them my vulnerability, they returned the favor.

Photo by Mohamed Nohassi on Unsplash

I shared intimate stories about my life. http://bit.ly/ruijs

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