Loneliness and isolation are never our options. It's good to appreciate the fact that we are social beings and that we have a huge need for healthy social relationships and supportive communities for our wellness. With this being said, here are 7 tips to cultivate social wellness.
1. Develop A Sense Of Self-Confidence
You can't strike up a conversation with potential new friends without working on yourself first. Start by being the one to initiate talking, then finding common interests with them and if things work out, form a solid bond.
Even if you're not one to just start talking to strangers, muster up the courage and practice your "script" mentally, which often flows naturally as you get comfortable with the person you're talking to.
But if there's no chemistry you can feel between you and the one you're talking to; specifically, if they seem a bit cold, aloof, and unopen, it's okay to leave it alone and find other friends that are more your style or wavelength.
2. Join A Community You Share Interests With
Whether you're part of a youth group in church, you're a hardcore anime fan, or you're someone who loves to dance, you can always find a circle that you have common interests with. Forming friendships based on things or activities that you love doing is often fun and exciting.
You can try to get into Discord groups with people to talk about things like the environment, hip hop, fashion, or video games. You may also explore local hangout spots like yoga studios, gyms, sports courts, or anywhere people can do recreational activities and socialize with one another.
If you're still in school, try the clubs or organizations there where you can find new friends. If you're working already or running a business, you can attend conferences and hopefully develop good and lasting relationships with the people you introduce yourself to.
3. Embrace Your Differences In The Group
It's easy to just side with those who we have many things in common with, but it's actually when we try to appreciate our diverse traits, thoughts, and cultures that we learn so much that we couldn't in a circle with friends all too similar.
Try to be as open-minded and non-dismissive as you can. If you have different beliefs, lifestyles, or outlooks in life, then you can at least be tolerant with each other and instead focus on the things that bring you together.
But keep in mind that you don't have to compromise your long-held values just for the sake of your social capital; if you find the relationship draining or if you feel like you have to put a mask on every time you talk to people, it'd be best to not continue and just move on to another circle.
4. Try New Things Every So Often
If you don't have a lot of hobbies in your free time, then it may be the perfect season for you to get into new things. If you've never dipped your fingers in sports, baking, or journaling, and you've always wanted to for the longest time, then by all means do it.
Whether they're beginners or already experienced in what you're trying to get into, you're opening up the possibility of a strong and healthy bond with them. But note that you shouldn't get pressured to rush into a friendship as much as you wouldn't wait too long to open up that your bond fizzles out already.
Trying new things can indicate being open-minded to brand new connections, so take time to have a rundown of the things you'd like to explore and settle for those that excite you the most. The next thing you know, you'll have a really solid circle that you'll bond with very often.
5. Watch Out For Red Flags
While it can be thrilling to expand your social connections, it's also great to protect your own peace and show that you have boundaries without rubbing your current and potential friends the wrong way. If you come across people that are too needy or if they stretch you thin with their favors, then it's alright to drop them kindly.
If you don't believe in disposable relationships, you can still keep in touch with those you don't hang out with anymore. You don't have to burn your bridges, but you have to be watchful of your mental health and a bit defensive of your personal space when you're dealing with them either by chance or by choice.
But if you think some people are truly toxic to you, then you can either break it to them kindly or just leave silently. Whether you leave a toxic friendship upfront or by ghosting, you're likely to be painted as the bad guy to other people anyways. If that's the case, then it justifies your exit; they were never your friends to start with.
6. Make Time For Your Social Life
Show your friends that they mean a lot to you by simply organizing a picnic or a beach trip together. Leisure time not only shows your social circle that you value your relationship; it also benefits your wellbeing.
Being with your friends can be that needed breather in your fast-paced school, work, or business environment. But remember to not overuse your time on either recreation or making a living; find a good balance between both.
7. Use Social Media To Your Advantage
While it's ironic that social media connects us virtually but physically disconnects us from the ones around us, you can always counter this by wise and strategic social media use.
You can arrange calls or video chats on WhatsApp, Telegram, Viber, Messenger, Discord or Zoom to keep the intimacy while limiting scrolling or watching time on apps like TikTok, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.
Social Wellness Is Important!
While it can be downplayed sometimes, social wellness is actually integral to our mental and emotional health. We all need people to laugh with, have fun with, try new things with, learn from, cry, vent and rant to, and even make room for some conflict with.
Expanding your networks can feel like a chore if you fake it, but it won't if you're honest, wise, and reliable. The best we can do is be our authentic selves while still being careful and strategic to attract solid people and form solid friendships along the way.