Building meaningful relationships is essential for any human being, especially for those who have gone through a life-altering experience.
“Often, after an injury or illness, we have to find new ways of developing these critical relationships. Many of the things we used to do, we may not be able to do as easily, or at all, and so many activities are just not as accessible to those of us with disabilities,” says Deborah Davis, who is a wheelchair user after sustaining a spinal cord injury.
Deborah gives the following advice to help build connections with others and expand your social circle.
Deborah states to be intentional about the type of people you want to attract in your life. First, determine what kind of people you want to have in your life. Make a list of the type of qualities you seek in relationship partners.
Deborah gives some examples of qualities. Some qualities might include spirituality, hobbies, similar intellectual goals, etc.
“Even if someone has different opinions, politics, religion or hobbies, we can still learn from and enjoy those people who are different from us.”
But, Deborah says to focus on how you feel around the person because you both could have similar interests but the connection is just not there.
Reconnect and Reach Out
Deborah suggests to reach out to people you already know and try to reconnect with them. She says, “It can be hard as a new relationship is like dating, you can get rejected if they “are just not that into you”…or your old friends may be busy with their own lives. But gather the courage and just make the contact. You have nothing to lose and friendship and fun to gain.”
Deborah states to make sure to take the initiative to answer your phone when a friend calls. You want to enable others to connect with you.
“I know that is an issue for many of us as we can get into our own heads, and there are times we just are not feeling social and are averse to being available emotionally,” she says.
Let your friends know you care about them!
Create Consistent Opportunities
Deborah advises creating consistent opportunities for connection. She suggests a happy hour, lunch date or an invite to hang out at your place. Schedule it on a calendar so you do not miss or forget it.
Schedule Dates On Calendar
Deborah recommends scheduling events you want to attend or hangouts with friends on a calendar. You can look up events and plan ahead with your friends!
Deborah’s last piece of advice is to always let your friends know how much you appreciate them.
“Everyone wants to feel good, and if you can be a part of making that happen for someone else, the chances are that they will want to be around you more often.”
Deborah concludes her post by saying, “you are building a support network for when you need someone to share in life’s joys, triumphs, as well as sadness and tragedy. All are a part of life, and having a strong support system can help you achieve more and recover through all of them.”
Do you have advice for building friendships? Share your story with us at AbleThrive.com!