Making Friends and Building Relationships
Last updated: July 2022
You’d agree with me that building relationships is an important life skill.
In order to survive and become the best we can be, we need to relate with others. Unfortunately, this skill doesn’t come naturally to everyone. It doesn’t come naturally to me.
Growing up with a not so invisible illness
In people living with sickle cell disease, the red blood cells die within 10- 20 days instead of 120 days. This is because of the shape of the red blood cell (sickled shape). Hence, there is a shortage of red blood cells in people living with sickle cell disease.
This shortage of red blood cells causes different complications and one of them is delayed growth or delayed puberty. Unfortunately, I didn't grow up like my mates. I had delayed growth as a kid.
Because of the delayed growth, I was bullied so much in secondary school. This made me lose confidence in myself.
I questioned my physique and wished for another body. I became really reserved and shy. Talking to strangers became a nightmare and making friends was even scarier.
As I grew older, it dawned on me that building relationships is important. Meeting and connecting with people helps you feel less lonely and opens opportunities for you.
Advice for making friends:
Here are some steps to making friends and building relationships:
1. Be intentional
Someone said, show me your friend and I’ll tell you who you are. Nothing's truer.
The people you call friends and hang out with the most have an influence on your life directly or indirectly. Somehow, our friends become a big part of our lives, so we need to be intentional when picking someone to be our friend.
When I say be intentional, I mean pick the right people to be friends with. Have the right circle of friends. Make sure you’re in a circle of people that make you feel loved. You don’t have to have a large circle or many friends. Just one or two is fine if that’s what you want.
Also, be intentional about building relationships. Having a friend is something, keeping that friendship is another. To keep a friend and build a relationship with someone, you have to be intentional. This means you have to invest your time and consciously take action to build the relationship.
Actions like reaching out first, checking upon them, and sharing problems with them will strengthen relationships better.
2. Work on your limiting beliefs
As I tried to start getting better with my relationship life, I realized there are some limiting beliefs I held. I know getting rid of these limiting beliefs is a must in order to improve my life.
One of the things I believed about myself was that no one wanted to know or talk to me because I looked small and they would always ridicule me. Can't blame me, it was what I have been through that put that belief in me.
Getting into university, I realized people were really not interested in my physique. The ones that really mattered did not care about what I looked like. Our limiting beliefs hold us back too many times. When we take time to work on them, we realize it’s all in our heads.
Your limiting beliefs are not real and you need to work on whatever you think about yourself before you can become a better friend or build better relationships.
3. Keep improving yourself
You can’t change someone else but you can change yourself. Learn to always become a better person and become a better friend.
Communication is a very important skill when it comes to relationship building so you might need to learn how to communicate your feelings.
In a nutshell, keep improving yourself. Take baby steps daily to become a better person.
4. Find friends online
The transformation in my relationship life started when I turned online. Well, that wasn't intentional. I just wanted to share my story with sickle cell on Instagram and that was how I met people that could relate with me and not judge me.
Gradually, I made friends online and that was the turning point. Social media is a great platform to connect with people from over the world. It is easier for me to make friends online because I can hide behind the keyboard and express myself. In fact, I have more friends online than offline.
You too can try going online to find friends. Connect with people around you and over the world.
Are you interested in connecting with other sickle cell warriors?