Cultivating great friendships is one of the surest ways to find more happiness and joy in your life. Recent studies show that those with a wide circle of friends and family live longer, laugh more and worry less. But friendships, like all other good things in life, take time, energy and commitment. Having said this, few things will offer greater rewards. As one philosopher wrote many centuries ago, “There is nothing in the world more valuable than friendship. Those who banish it from their lives remove as it were the sun from the earth, because of all of nature’s gifts, it is the most beautiful and the most pleasing.”
As I grew up, my father often said that the person with three great friends is a rich person indeed. I have never forgotten this advice and encourage you to take it to heart as well.
To build deeper friendships, you must be willing to move out of your comfort zone, break the ice with people you might not know very well and show sincere warmth. If you plant the seeds of friendship, you are bound to receive a rich harvest of great friends. At a cocktail party, have the courage to walk over to someone you would like to get to know better and introduce yourself. Every human being has a deep need for affection and most people will be delighted you took the initiative. And if they do not respond to you, so what? Rather than viewing it as rejection, see it as their loss and politely move on to the next person who can benefit from all you have to offer.
A while ago, my mother’s car had a flat tire while she was on her way to do an errand. She asked a stranger who was watering the lawn in front of her house whether she would mind if Mom left her car in their driveway while she walked to the gas station nearby to get help.
The woman said she didn’t mind and so my mother left. After returning and having the flat tire repaired, Mom went to the front door of the house and warmly thanked the owner for her kindness.
The woman, in turn, invited my mother in for a cup of tea. Over the next hour, the two of them discovered they had grown up in the same town, gone to the same school and knew many of the same people. A great friendship developed simply because my mother took the initiative to make a new friend.
Excerpt from Who WIll Cry When You Die by Robin Sharma. www.robinsharma.com