Thursday, April 5, 2012

Expanding your circle of friends

Eighty-percent of human communication is non-verbal, and thus to expand your social circle, you have to get rid of your social circle. 


Think of the times that you go to big events, sit in your college's cafeteria, sit in class, or go to a club meeting...

How welcoming is it when someone looks you in the eye and gives you their attention? 

And how awful does it feel to be ignored? 

And yet, as great as it feels to be welcomed and as horrible as it feels to be ignored, we can all sometimes find ourselves ignoring others; we sometimes get caught up in the comfortability of our friends - our circle - and we literally huddle up, ready to call a play like a football team.  

And we show the rest of the world the backs of our heads - and as beautiful as the back of your head may be - it isn't nearly as beautiful as your face. 

Your friends are great - they are so great that you need to welcome others into your social groups so they can meet them (and you) too. 

And yet too often, we close ourselves off to others when we're in a group. 

I notice this all of the time when I go to networking events and conferences. 

If I go to an event by myself, the odds are I bounce around the room, chatting and meeting different groups, and truly investing my time in forging new friendships. 

But when I go with someone else I know, or with a small group, I catch myself closing off - thinking of what my group is doing, how my group is doing, and I literally have to force myself to not close off my circle - especially in how I stand and carry myself.  

I quickly remind myself that when I transferred to a university after community college, I found myself on the outside of a lot of closed circles. 

And it was those groups who opened their circle and invited me in, who helped make my transfer experience a whole lot better. 

Having a close group of friends is wonderful, just be sure to check your body language and remember what it feels like to be on the outside - especially when you attend networking events, conferences, and participate in new experiences where you could make some amazing new connections. 

There is a time for intimacy only shared with our best friends, and yet there is also a time to offer your social skills to others in order to make them feel welcome. Make sure that you always remember the difference. 

Trust me - you will appreciate those open circles when it is your turn; and so many others will appreciate you. 

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