Content provided by the Health & Wellness Team at GBS Benefits
Research suggests we are most influenced by the five people closest to us. It is essential to surround ourselves with people who have a positive impact and help us grow as individuals. When we have close connections with those who truly care about us and those we can rely on for support, our lives are enriched in immeasurable ways. By filling our lives with ambitious, happy people, we will be better able to serve those around us and help others reach their potential.
People with a wide network of friends have less tension, suffer from less stress, have stronger defenses, and live longer. Friends encourage good habits, chase away depression, help you overcome diseases, and boost satisfaction, pleasure, and happiness.
Building intentional friendships is the first step to creating a solid support network. An intentional friendship is based on mutual respect and a shared commitment to each other’s growth and wellbeing. It is not a friendship of convenience or one that is simply built on similar interests. Instead, an intentional friendship requires both individuals to be purposeful in their interactions and strive to nurture and maintain the relationship.
Creating an intentional inner circle doesn’t happen overnight. Compare this process to creating a patchwork quilt – a variety of different pieces are added over the years, while others are replaced when worn and frayed. Some unique pieces may be surprising but add a fun element to the quilt. Consider approaching daily life by looking for ways to improve social connections.
Be intentional about what you can give and what you expect to receive from your core group of people. Are you able to give or hoping to receive accountability, growth, support, challenge, strength, focus, resources? Whatever it is you are striving for, make sure to be clear about it and don’t be afraid to ask your inner circle to help you achieve it.
Take time to tend to these relationships by reaching out to connect regularly and by reciprocating this support. Be intentional about the time you spend together. Make sure you are actively listening as much as you are talking. Make a point to remember important details like birthdays, food allergies, and upcoming events. Remembering these details reminds others you care.