What is a meaningful connection?

Walking through any store with the twins in my cart has always been a guaranteed attention grabber. I get stopped multiple times by moms and grandmas, as well as the occasional grandpa, that always say how precious they are. Enter Lia into that picture and I’ve got a show-stopping crew.

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Eve and Vera

As the twins have grown, they have learned to love these outings. They see getting out of the house and going anywhere as an adventure, and they love seeing other people. Eve, the more outgoing of the twins, has reached the hearts of many by walking right up to them and saying hello. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “How sweet. She just made my day!”

A couple months ago I decided to turn this into a game. I asked the girls to smile and say hi to as many people as they could and to count how many smiled back. Our only goal was to bring happiness to someone else.

As I was driving home that day, I realized that this mindset could be life changing. For me, anyway.

For one reason or another, I’ve lost sight of the importance of the kind smile and friendly hello. Sometimes I’m in too big of a rush to take the time to notice the people that pass me by. Sometimes I’m too comfortable in my own introverted bubble to break out of it. I’ll smile politely at people but my motivation is not to initiate a meaningful encounter; it’s to be polite.

Perhaps it’s the reality of having three kids ages three and under, but I’ve become rather isolated in my day-to-day life. About a year ago I began to realize just how much I needed meaningful relationships, and I realized I had to take the initiative. I started to truly try to break out of my bubble and reach into the lives of other people. But the kind of genuine, lasting friendships I seek do not develop overnight. At least not normally, and especially not for introverted people like me.

Also about a year ago, some life changes carried my family to a new church and we immediately sought the opportunity to connect with other people. We joined a Community Group and it has been salve to my soul. But it’s just a beginning.

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Eve, Vera, and Lia

With my twins now in preschool, I also have the opportunity to connect with other moms. I arrive 10-15 minutes early on the days I pick up Eve and Vera just so I can chat with some of the other waiting moms. Because this is how connections are made, however slowly it may start. It is a step.

I tend to be self motivated and very determined to accomplish the goals I set for myself. It is a great trait because it helps me accomplish a lot in a day. It is also a terrible trait because I sometimes let this inner drive to check items of my to-do list prevent me from slowing down enough to really see the people around me. I don’t want to just pass by with the polite smile and nod. I want to see their hearts, to understand where they’ve come from and where they want to go, to learn what makes them tick and what makes them laugh.

I used to think that sitting around and talking for an afternoon was wasting time. I prefered to talk while doing something, not while doing nothing. And though I still love taking walks with a friend and chatting along the way, I’ve come to learn that sometimes you have to forfeit the walk but you do not have to forfeit the chat. In fact, you shouldn’t forfeit the chat.

I’m thankful for this experience, because it took me feeling isolated and alone to really see the value in having a true friend – the kind of friend that is just as invested in me as I am in them. It taught me that sometimes I have to invest first, and that’s OK. I will probably always lean toward being introverted and I may be content with having just a few meaningful conversations a week, and that, too, is OK. Because I’ve learned to see both the heartfelt chat with a close friend and the genuine smile to a stranger as meaningful connections.

Different, yes, but meaningful.

So, help a girl out here and share some tips with me. How do you connect to other people?

14 thoughts on “What is a meaningful connection?

  1. There is nothing like a heartfelt chat to help me feel uplifted ❤ I’ve made a lot of friends online, and I try to be intentional with new people I meet in real life. Often times it means going outside of my comfort zone and inviting people to coffee in hopes of making a true friend. It’s definitely been a process for me! I just wrote a post about friendships actually too!

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  2. Last summer, we downsized and moved to a new neighborhood just a few miles away. I am no stranger to moving, as this one was #13. However, it had been many years since the last move and we lived in a fabulous neighborhood with terrific people. As is typical in the area where I live, no one came to introduce themselves or say welcome to the neighborhood. At Christmas, I decided to send Christmas cards to my immediate neighbors and to everyone I knew had moved in after us letting them know we were new too and wanted to say “welcome”. Four neighbors have stopped by our house to thank us for the cards and two of them brought us cookies😊 I am hoping to see more of them as the weather gets nicer and people are outside more. I am hoping it has opened a door to cultivate some friendships.

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  3. When I had my son in 3yr old preschool, I invited other moms too go to Webster recreation’s “come and play” program on Friday mornings. We were able to get out of the house, let the kids run, get in a few min of conversation with another adult and make meaningful connections. Now that he’s in 4yr old preschool, we still go to come and play with the same kids. Now the moms go out once a month for moms night out. We also help each other out with preschool pickup and drop off (or even just wait with a kid sometimes if a mom is running a couple minutes late), and have someone to talk to/message with about parenting success and frustrations.
    I’m not sure what will happen next year when our kids are all in kindergarten, but we all want to still stay connected.
    I know the current kindergarten class in my school district has a Facebook group for all the parents to connect. Maybe I’ll do that for his class.
    Good luck in your journey ❤️

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  4. Becky, Beautifully written! You took the words out of my mouth! I feel that you and I are similar in how we are introverted, it has taken me years to accept that its okay to be this way. You are a beautiful woman with a beautiful family. I am blessed to have you and Mark and the girls as our neighbors!! I always know that you are right there if we ever needed anything and I always tell the boys if they couldn’t find a family member to help them that you are a safe option for them. Never doubt the beauty you posses in side, and the lives you have touched. I have found that I have to make the effort to talk to people and make the connection first and I would love to chat with you over a cup of coffee or tea anytime. We should plan a family dinner together sometime this summer, my boys just love the girls!! So cute to watch them all play!! You have touched me with your words as I know others have experienced similar feelings, thank you for being open.

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    1. Thank you, Heidi! I would love to do tea and a family dinner. My girls would too. They think that Kyle should just magically show up whenever they want to play. They look outside and ask me why he’s not there. 🙂 Maybe we can make a few “neighbor dates” while the kids play this summer. It would be fun!

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      1. Aww, so sweet. My boys are so good with little ones, I think that get it from Michael as he loves babies and always has!! When the weather is nicer we should do dinner!!Would love to visit with our neighbors!! Kyle loves the girls, we have a sled to give them and a small lady bug pool or sand box that has a cover and the small slide in our back yard if you would like them! All are in good shape.

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