I'm a really extroverted person. As an extrovert, I have less trouble than most people with getting to know people and making connections. (But extroverts and introverts are both great in their own ways, the world needs both 😉) Connections are vitally important. I hope I can provide some perspective on how important they really are.
Oh, and let me clarify: getting connected is similar, but not the same as getting plugged in. There are subtle differences that I'll get into in just a second, but if you haven't read about getting plugged in, you should 😉. When we get connected, our lives and the lives of those around us become intertwined. Then, we get stronger, forming long-lasting ties. Getting connected makes us stronger, and honestly, it makes life way more fun.
Now, I know some people say, "Be nice to everyone, you never know...." They're not totally wrong. We should make an effort to be kind to everyone, that's how we spread love and joy and all of those good things. You may meet someone who can get you that next job, get you an internship, give you free tickets, be your new best friend or boss, or anything. Connections can open doors. You never know who or what you could be meeting, or missing.
That's why I make it a priority to be kind to everyone I come across. I'm looking for colleges right now, which is honestly kinda scary, and I've noticed it's not all about what you know. It's really about who you know. Getting to know admission counselors and faculty can really make a difference. Connections, connections, connections. Meet people, say hey, be nice, make them remember your name. There are so many good people out there ready to hand out scholarships, job offers, and other gifts, and they are waiting for you to get connected to them. Networking is a skill we all need to develop, that's how we get new opportunities. Don't let good people pass you by, get connected. Put yourself out there a bit, even if it's uncomfortable. It'll be worth it, I promise.
Friends. They hold you up when you slip. Maybe some of you feel like you need more of them. If you feel alone or lonely (there's a difference) don't give up. I guarantee you, there are people who would love to be your friend. Don't believe the lie that you'll never find friends or that you don't need friends. You will find them when you look.
Let me share some personal stuff so you all can hopefully see how getting connected has impacted my life. Chris, Josh, Justin these guys are more than friends. I love all three of them, they're pretty much my best friends in the world. They help me through all the mess I get caught up in. And I can't forget to mention my friends for life, my God-brothers TJ, Tyler, and Tyson. (Of course, I can't mention all of my friends, but you all know who you are. You mean the world to me 😉). But, like I was saying, these guys can sit and listen to me rattle off all my problems until I can't say anymore, and they'll help me through them. Yeah, we hang out, chill, and do all that, but, more importantly, we are there for each other through everything .
These guys don't judge me when I make mistakes. I think we all need people like that. They laugh with me, and sometimes at me when I deserve it 😉. They'll hug me and they'll punch me if they have to. They show me again and again the value of real friends; you need them, and I need them. Real friends will hold you up when all you want to do is fall down. Real friends will text you when you don't want to talk to anyone, and they'll know exactly what to say. Or they'll just be quiet with you. Whatever the situation is, they'll be right there with you to help you through.
Alright, enough of this. Even I get tired of hearing my own thoughts. I'd like to introduce some other ideas There is a book called Safe People by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. I definitely recommend this book. It's incredibly well-written, but it also talks about the types of people that we need to get connected to and the types that we should avoid. The book references Genesis 2:18 (from the bible 😉) which says, "The Lord God said, 'It is not good for the man to be alone... '" The authors pointed out how God emphasized relationships. We really do need them. That book is still helping me as I live my life, and it would be unfair to you all if I didn't recommend this stellar book. Check it out.
I think I've reached my word count limit, plus I'm rambling (because I love friends! I love talking about them, why we need them, all of that) so I'll wrap it up. If you're reading this, which I guess you are, I hope you better understand how important it is to get connected. There are people out there for you, mentors, employers, counselors, benefactors, coaches. These people are waiting, for you! And, of course, your future friends are waiting for you too. Please don't try to trudge through life on your own. Scientists and psychologists alike concur: we are social creatures. It's not right for you to shut all of your greatness inside, the world wants to meet you! So, do us all a favor. Open up a little more, make some real friends that last, and get connected. You never know who you'll find.