We can accomplish a lot alone, but I’ve learnt that I can accomplish so much more with friends.

Before joining the workforce in earnest, I didn’t know what social circle I fit in. I enjoyed playing sport but wasn’t a jock. I was into the ‘hip’ trends, but wasn’t a part of the popular kids. I loved video games and pop culture but never quite got in with the geek groups. I often felt like I didn’t belong wherever I was standing. It was lonely.

When I left school I understood that this was not the burden I thought it to be. A lot of people knew of me, they would say a passing hello or engage in a brief conversation, but we always lacked a meaningful connection. As I got older and joined the workforce I learnt that this was known as networking. Creating connections or a basic foundation in order to engage with others when needed. From here, a platform that requires no additional introduction, you can build a relationship, either personal or professional. The same principles apply to family members or friends. Often, the platform that you start with is some kind of similarity or common interest. From there, if there is interest, a relationship blossoms. I, personally, have a tendency to stone wall people. It’s a default setting for me and something I am trying my best to change. Those that know me, are aware of this and know that if they endure the wall it comes down. But they shouldn’t have to do that.

To help me fix this problem I had to do a bit of self reflection. I asked myself what do those who interact with me see? How do I come across upon initial introduction? Is this what I am trying to present?

Once I had a fair idea of other people’s initial perceptions, I then questioned how I look after myself. It is just as important to understand your own boundaries as well as others, and if you overstep your own you may very well damage a relationship you have with someone else.

More than anything I enjoy being alone, hours deep in a video game or movie. This is my recharge time. Sometimes it goes a little too far, and I am wiser for knowing that. Being able to identify that being alone is as critical as being in company I now had to communicate that in a way that wasn’t offensive or standoffish and that was not easy.

My partner struggled with it when we first started dating. But eventually we were able to work out the signs and boundaries and now we both have ‘recharging hobbies’ and they are just as important as our time together. Many of my friendships also work like this. I’m not big on the dependence of others, so I often don’t see them for weeks or months at a time. This doesn’t detract from our relationship and I find that when we do catch up or hang out, it’s as if there was little to no break between visits. Our conversations are meaningful, our interactions fresh and exciting.

I think in short, building relationships is firstly about knowing yourself and what you are trying to show people. Then it’s about building on those little moments with people and understanding that just as you have boundaries, so do others. Take some time to observe and understand them. It will all be worthwhile.

Thanks for reading! If you missed part 3 it’s located here – Overthinking success