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Why Unexpected Friendships Can Be The Best Ones

Why Unexpected Friendships Can Be The Best Ones

Friends are important parts of our lives. They laugh with us, share their joy, make us feel better when we are down, brighten up our days, and offer genuine support and advice. When we are mature enough to become well-acquainted with our interests, we seek out to find friends who are alike, so that we could spend hours and hours talking about the same books, music or movies we like. We believe that those are the people that we would get along with since we have so much in common. But have you ever tried to step out of your comfort zone and get to know people that are different than you? There is something good in the unexpected – we can learn something new about ourselves and become a better person.

When fate brought together an illiterate prisoner and an encyclopedia editor

For some prisoners, being incarcerated brings about retrospection of their lives and a desire to change for the better. This is what happened to Robin Woods during his time in Maryland Correctional Institution. His desire to change led to quite unusual friendship with Mark Stevens.

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Woods, growing up in a housing project in Cumberland, Maryland, never really learned how to read as a result of resentment towards authority figures. He decided to learn how to read during his time in prison, which brought Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Encyclopedia in his hands. During one of his reading sessions, he spotted a mistake, and he felt the need to inform the editor, Mark Stevens, even though he wasn’t sure his message will reach him.

To his surprise, Stevens responded, and thus this unbelievable friendship started with exchanging many letters and later phone calls. They finally met in person after almost a decade since the first letter. At their first meeting, Woods honestly said to Stevens “I never met you until today, but I love you very much. You’re a good man.” These two people have nothing in common at first sight, yet they found something good in each other – inspiration, support to stay on the right path, and a whole new perspective on life.

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When the number one tech guy met the big-shot investor

When Bill Gates first met Warren Buffett in 1991, at the request of his mother, he hardly thought they would get along as he believed they have nothing in common, since Gates considered himself “a technology nerd” and Buffett as “a big-shot investor.” However, on their first encounter, they started talking and as the hours went by, Gates realized he was wrong: “We were suddenly lost in conversation and hours and hours slipped by. He didn’t come across as a big-shot investor. He had this modest way of talking about what he does.” This friendship still lasts to this day, as they constantly learn something new from each other, challenge each other and grow together.

The key is to step out of your comfort zone

You may think some relationships seem improbable, but that doesn’t mean that they cannot be great and full of love and respect. Meeting people who are nothing like you will open completely new horizons to you, and bring new perspectives to life, and many new benefits.  Break the pattern and step out of your comfort zone if you want to achieve personal growth. Be open-minded and try to experience new views. Although these kinds of friendships might not look as they will last for a long time, they are the ones that last for a life time since there is so much you can learn from each other. This can bring benefits not only to you, but to community as well, as we can see from the example of Emily Farmer (25) and McEwan Voorhees (100) who became friends as Emily decided to play the piano to elderly people at Heritage Place in Bountiful. They’ve become close friends and learned so much from each other.

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Challenge yourself to do something new every day – travel to some new place alone, and try to make friends by walking up to complete strangers and starting random conversations. Or, make use of so many meeting apps out there. You would be surprised at how many great friendships you could start once you open yourself to the possibility of meeting people who seem to not share any of your interests. Try out activities you’ve never dared trying before and by pushing yourself further, you will meet new people that will challenge and push you even more to reach your full potential.

Featured photo credit: https://unsplash.com/ via images.unsplash.com

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Ana Erkic

Social Media Consultant, Online Marketing Strategist, Copywriter, CEO and Co-Founder of Growato

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

How to Motivate People Around You and Inspire Them

How to Motivate People Around You and Inspire Them

If I was a super hero I’d want my super power to be the ability to motivate everyone around me. Think of how many problems you could solve just by being able to motivate people towards their goals. You wouldn’t be frustrated by lazy co-workers. You wouldn’t be mad at your partner for wasting the weekend in front of the TV. Also, the more people around you are motivated toward their dreams, the more you can capitalize off their successes.

Being able to motivate people is key to your success at work, at home, and in the future because no one can achieve anything alone. We all need the help of others.

So, how to motivate people? Here are 7 ways to motivate others even you can do.

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1. Listen

Most people start out trying to motivate someone by giving them a lengthy speech, but this rarely works because motivation has to start inside others. The best way to motivate others is to start by listening to what they want to do. Find out what the person’s goals and dreams are. If it’s something you want to encourage, then continue through these steps.

2. Ask Open-Ended Questions

Open-ended questions are the best way to figure out what someone’s dreams are. If you can’t think of anything to ask, start with, “What have you always wanted to do?”

“Why do you want to do that?”

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“What makes you so excited about it?”

“How long has that been your dream?”

You need this information the help you with the following steps.

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3. Encourage

This is the most important step, because starting a dream is scary. People are so scared they will fail or look stupid, many never try to reach their goals, so this is where you come in. You must encourage them. Say things like, “I think you will be great at that.” Better yet, say, “I think your skills in X will help you succeed.” For example if you have a friend who wants to own a pet store, say, “You are so great with animals, I think you will be excellent at running a pet store.”

4. Ask About What the First Step Will Be

After you’ve encouraged them, find how they will start. If they don’t know, you can make suggestions, but it’s better to let the person figure out the first step themselves so they can be committed to the process.

5. Dream

This is the most fun step, because you can dream about success. Say things like, “Wouldn’t it be cool if your business took off, and you didn’t have to work at that job you hate?” By allowing others to dream, you solidify the motivation in place and connect their dreams to a future reality.

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6. Ask How You Can Help

Most of the time, others won’t need anything from you, but it’s always good to offer. Just letting the person know you’re there will help motivate them to start. And, who knows, maybe your skills can help.

7. Follow Up

Periodically, over the course of the next year, ask them how their goal is going. This way you can find out what progress has been made. You may need to do the seven steps again, or they may need motivation in another area of their life.

Final Thoughts

By following these seven steps, you’ll be able to encourage the people around you to achieve their dreams and goals. In return, you’ll be more passionate about getting to your goals, you’ll be surrounded by successful people, and others will want to help you reach your dreams …

Oh, and you’ll become a motivational super hero. Time to get a cape!

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Featured photo credit: Thought Catalog via unsplash.com

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