Do me a favor!
Pull out your mobile device, go to your favorite social media application and access your friends list or followers. How many people is it? Divide these people into three groups:
1. Who is in your close circle?
2. Who do you know by name but not much else?
3. Who do you not really know at all?
If you have about 1200 friends/followers your breakdown may look something like this. 1200 friends in list 10-20 (close circle), 100-300 (know them but very little about), 880-1090 ((don’t really know).
It is commonplace for almost everyone to have some type of social media account. Society integrates social media with every facet of our lives from food, shelter, religion, and communication. Forbes said that social media is like “attending a party”. You put your best you forward to gain popularity from the content you’re posting, getting new connections and friends from across the globe. Social Media’s intent was to connect people around the world to one another inexpensively, and quickly. As we find ourselves making connections, are we making more genuine connections or are they just a name and a face we call friend?
We need people in our everyday lives. People are vital to our existence. I believe that God made us dependent and dependable at the same time for others. We meet new people all the time, and we leave it at just the meeting. Social media puts meeting new people at our fingertips. I am challenging you today to take a huge leap and make them family. To many this will seem like a huge stretch, to others, this will be a piece of cake. Trust me on this. In order for us to make the world a better place for generations to come, we have to take steps together in the right direction.
Here are some ways to make the new people you meet family (once you get past the nerves):
Strike up a conversation with a random person – Establishing a common ground can only happen with the first conversation. People have so much going on in their lives. Allowing people an opportunity to unload about life can be a door to building a relationship.
Be truthful and genuine in every approach – Everything you say and do should come from the heart with the intent to learn something and share what you are willing to share. People can tell when you are being genuine. (Some may question this and I will explain why later.)\
Meet people where they are – Everyone is different. We come from different backgrounds, different experiences that shape our opinions, and different rearing. We have to approach people with a sense of empathy and flexibility. Listen to what makes them unique.
Hugs and smiles are free – There is nothing easier than sharing a smile. Smiles can change a person’s mood and even the atmosphere. Hugs require stepping out of your comfort zone when interacting with new people. Hugs can relax people and bring down the walls that we put up to keep people at a distance. Hugs and smiles cost nothing to give but can be the world to the receiver. Think about the many Free Hug campaigns we have seen in the last few years. A Christian clothing company did one in DC and garnered positive results. People stop to say thanks, and several even returned for another hug.
Break bread– Sit down with people and eat family style. Growing up you may remember Sunday dinners after church when the family would get together and eat great food. Stories of life happenings and nuggets of wisdom were shared from old to young and young to old. Sitting down to eat with people gives them that same opportunity to connect in a more relaxed environment. Great food and great conversation can make a person’s day.
Join or form groups/meetups – These of groups are usually centered on a specific passion or topic. People that join the group have that same passion. It gives all participants an automatic foundation to stand up with each one, and build from there. Social media is a great tool for being effective in forming and finding groups with your interest and hobbies.
We all want to have successful businesses, relationships, jobs, and lives. It was never promised that life was going to be easy. Growing up, we were always told that it takes a village to raise a child, but we have forgotten that the village was not supposed to quit raising that child once he or she grew up. Social media has made it easy to connect with people at all stages. I challenge you to take a leap of faith and find a way to make them family. We have allowed social media to create bad habits and our in-person interactions are severely lacking.
We can change just as easy as you are reading this. Be more intentional about really connecting with people.
You only get one chance to live a life worth living and share a legacy that benefits the world. How can you facilitate change in the world if the only people you spend time and get close to are only in your backyard? We have so much to offer one another, and Love is the ultimate key to meeting new people and making them family. The Bible tells us a few times to “Love our neighbor as ourselves”. I know that if we did that one thing we would easily connect with more people. Their successes and failures would be ours. We would grow together and share alike.
I had the opportunity to make a good friend, Mike Jones of Creative South. Three things I will always remember from my conversation with him: “Hug people’s necks!”, “Take time to Break Bread”, and at the end of the day, “Make them Family” I will never forget this as long as I live. This has been my personal goal as well. I love people and I love connecting and hearing the stories that make us. Every day that I live, I try to meet new people by every means necessary, share Christ because He is the reason I am, listen to stories, and get to know people so well, they become my family.