Have you felt the need to connect with others around you more? Are you lonely, looking for more friends?
I have been an introvert all my life. All through my childhood and teenager years, I was a major introvert. Social gatherings often came with anxiety, and I had only a few close friends. Throughout the years, however, God has changed me bit by bit.
Some if it I can see coming from my studies: being a speech therapist makes you want to connect with people on a level they are able to do it. You are always seeking ways to better connect with people, to communicate with them better, and to help them communicate with you better. I think God is also changing my heart for ministry’s sake. I am an encourager at heart and I want to help, edify, and encourage those around me. As I am growing more in putting my gift into use, God is giving me a heart that wants to reach out to people and connect with them.
I have found, though, that so many of us women wish that others would want to reach out to us and connect with us. We feel lonely — at home and at church. We feel like we are lacking friendships that build us and encourage us. So we wish and pray that something would happen, yet it rarely does. And I think that is because no one of us is taking the first step in connecting with one another.
So instead of wishing that things would change, that others would change — maybe it is time for us to change? Maybe it is time for us to learn to reach out to others and connect with them?
Tips On How To Connect With Others
Be interested in them.
Some of us are introverts; others are extroverts. That affects our need or desire to communicate and spend time with others. But I am sure that all of us want to spend time with those people who are actually interested in us. So consider this. Why do you want to connect with this person? Is it so that they would encourage you, help you, admire you or edify you? Or is it because you like this person? Because you want to be friends and learn more about them?
Pursue a friendship with them: be ready to put time and effort into this person for a season. Be ready to get uncomfortable in pursuing them and asking them to hang out with you time and time again. Someone always has to take the first step; so maybe risk it out and be the person to do that.
However, be wise and gracious in choosing the people. We easily fall into choosing people who are like us — whether it is in age, personality, family situations or work. What if you challenged yourself to choose someone you would not normally choose? Maybe choose an older person to sit down with and have a coffee with them. If you are married, maybe you could choose a single person. If you are an introvert, maybe choose that loud extrovert.
Reach out in small ways.
Depending on our current life circumstances, some of us can honestly be crazy busy right now. I know I will be going into a season of working in a city two hours up north during the weeks, only to drive down home for the weekends to be in ministry. I cannot meet people during the week, simply because I will not be here. But this doesn’t stop me from reaching out in smaller ways.
There are so many small ways you can reach out, that do not take more than 10-15 minutes out of your day. Maybe send a text message to ask how you can pray for them — and then actually pray and tell them what you prayed. You could call them, spending 10-15 minutes just to ask how their day has been and if there is something you can pray for. Send a postcard or a letter to let them know that you’re thinking about them. Send a photo to share something about your day, to let them feel more connected with you.
Ask questions about their life and follow up.
Asking questions can come quite easily to us, especially if the other person is fairly new to us. What do they do with their life? How is their family? When did they get saved? Have they gone to other churches than the current one? What is important, however, is to follow up with some questions. If they share about something where there are concerns, make sure that you keep asking about that matter again. If they share a prayer request, ask if God has answered the prayer.
Questions To Ask To Connect
I started leading a women’s Bible study recently. I know these ladies, I am friends with them. Yet I wanted to know them on a deeper level so that I could connect with them better. So in our first meetings, I asked questions — a lot of them. Ice breakers are great in situations like these. Yet I wanted to ask some difficult questions as well, to truly get to know one another. I, of course, answered these questions myself, and I had not prepared any answers because that would make it quite unnatural.
- What is your favorite characteristic of Jesus?
- What do others most often misunderstand about you?
- How is your devotional time going right now? Do you struggle with Bible study or prayer time?
- What do you wish others would do more for you or with you?
- Where have you seen God come through for you this week?
- How have you grown during the last year?
- What is one quality or gift you have that you like?
- What theme or topic God is talking to you about in this season?
- Is there something you fear that is hard for you to let go?
- What are your spiritual gifts?
Do you have any suggestions or ideas for connecting with others? I’d love to hear them! Leave them in a comment below.