One of the best turning points in a friendship, in my opinion, is when you get past the niceties and deep dive into vulnerability and openness. I can remember with each friend what conversation or moment crossed the line from “friendly” to true friends. Sometimes I get lazy with new friendships because, let’s be honest, making friends as an adult is hard. But it’s important to open up and not be guarded against new friendships… or to let your existing ones just skim the surface. I couldn’t agree more with the tips Maxie shares in today’s post!
3 Ways to Make the Most of Your Time with Friends
Guest post by Maxie McCoy
Have you ever hung out with a friend and felt like it was just a bunch of surface level exchange? I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the time we spend with the people we love most. Sometimes that time can feel like someone literally refilled our plate with a heaping scoop of soul food. We feel grounded again. We feel OK. We feel like anything is possible. We feel supported.
And then other times, we can be with people we love and adore…people who are good to us and good for us… but the time we spent with them was less than satisfying. Now, when these aren’t the right people in our lives, this kind of feeling would make total sense. But unfulfilling experiences happen with our nearest and dearest, this empty feeling is because we were less than intentional with how we spent our time together. Which is great news because we can change it!
When we come together with our loved ones, it’s so easy to never scratch the surface beyond “catching up”. They share what’s been happening for them. And we share what’s been happening with us. And then we hang up, or leave, and that was that. It can feel more like something that we crossed off of our task list, rather than a deep and meaningful connection.
If you’ve felt the same way after spending time with your best friends or family, consider trying one of these ways to make the time you have together more than surface level catch up:
Ask follow up questions about why. This helps get to the heart of what’s really going on in a situation. If you think about the surface level conversation as WHAT, then the deep and meaningful connection is the WHY. So if they tell you they broke up with someone, don’t ask what happened. Ask why they think it got to that, what were they feeling? If they’re frustrated about something at work, ask why they think they’re feeling that way about the situation.
Be quick to laugh. One of the most potent feelings is laughter. But so often we guard our laughter with a hundred-foot fence (because it’s vulnerable to laugh!). Consider what it would take to find the person across from you funny, to giggle at their curiosities and little jokes. It will make the entire interaction feel more fun. And fun is a crucial building block in connection.
Share something personal. Whether it’s an insecurity. Or a fear. Or something that maybe you’re in the midst of processing (only if you feel safe with this person and trust them of course). Oftentimes, to get to meaningful conversation and connection, we simply need to go there– away from the shallow stuff and into the dark and murky waters of the deep. Many times when we do that, we’ll feel a deeper connection and potentially find new levels of friendship and bonding.
It’s easy to stay at the surface. But connection, genuine connection, is found beyond that. So take some time to think about how to create more intention for fulfilling interactions with the people you love and care about most. They’re worth your time and thought!