Do you ever feel like nobody in the world is just like you? Like you’re the only one in the world who likes dark chocolate, books that make you cry, lavender body lotion, fuzzy slippers, avocado toast?
Yeah…it’s probably just me.
If you, too, feel like you’re one in seven billion, then be glad. You are unique and special and one of a kind, worth so much because you are so rare. We all want to be special, but we also want to be recognized. And feeling different can sometimes also make us feel invisible.
We long to belong.
There’s nothing wrong with longing to belong.
Everybody wants to be seen, heard, and understood.
I’m a 5 on the Enneagram, an INFJ on the Meyers Briggs, a Stylish Innovator according to the Right Path, and a Blue on the temperament Assessment. Like every other person I know, I know that I don’t want to be reduced to a letter, a number, or a color. People are complex and beautiful and messy, and while all these tests help me understand myself and others better, I can easily get overwhelmed by all the information coming at me from every direction.
But overwhelmed does not have to mean stuck.
How do I make sure I’m seen, heard, and understood without losing myself?
My friend Melanie always says there are people like us and people who just like us. She and I are best friends, even though I don’t share her love of Star Wars, Zombie docudramas, or affinity for one-piece dolphin trainer swimsuits. She’ll never understand why I like to exercise before the sun rises or fall asleep during Broadway musicals and in the middle of late-night card games. She prefers to drink her calories, and I would never waste any of my precious calories on something I can’t chew. She takes her coffee black and I like mine with chocolate. I like everything with chocolate. But when it comes to the important stuff, we are for each other. We encourage each other. We love each other.
There are a couple of easy ways to up the ante on authenticity and accelerate the friendships you value without first taking a bunch of tests.
Keep it simple, stupid.
1) Share something meaningful or significant during a pivotal time in your life. Vulnerability is not a weakness, and when we open ourselves up to one another, everybody wins.
2) Shine a public spotlight in public on something your friend cares about. Use your circle of influence to grow hers.
3) Show gratitude by writing a note, delivering a gift, or spending time together. (This might be my favorite!)
Social media gets a bad rap, but one thing I truly love about it is that all the interesting things my friends are doing are no longer secret. People are getting braver about putting their art and themselves out there for the world to see. I’m learning a lot of new things about the people that I’ve always liked; It’s so easy to reach out and say, “Hey, I’d love to learn about what you’re doing. Tell me more.”
It’s never been easier to make a friend or be a friend.
You do you, and you’ll never be alone.