The best way to develop stronger relationships.

I recently watched the movie Green Book. The film is about a blue collar caucasian who who becomes the driver of an African-American classical pianist on a tour through the 1960s American South. You know, the typical Hollywood formula… I enjoyed the movie and recommend it. But the highlight for me was a great quote from Viggo Mortensen’s character that jumped off the screen and sucker punched me in the earhole:

‘The world is full of lonely people afraid to make the first move.’ – Frank “Tony Lip” Vallelonga,  Green Book

GreenBook

Make The First Move

On a planet of 7.5 billion digitally connected people, none of us should feel lonely. Yet we often do. Most people wish they had more, deeper or more fulfilling personal and professional connections. But we fail to recognize that the easiest way to make this happen is to make the first move.

Make Contact

If you want more or better professional contacts be the one that makes contact. You are the one that should make the first phone call, send the first text, or write the first email. It’s that simple.

Connect

If you want to reconnect with your high school friends, cousins or former co-workers from that place where everyone bonded over the stupid boss, you should do the connecting. Your mobile phone offers at least a dozen ways to make this happen. If you are not weird, and there is no guarantee that you are not, chances are very good that others will be happy to reconnect with you too.

8 Easy Ways To Create New Connections Or Reconnect Old Ones:

  1. Coffee/Chocolate Milk Meetings  You don’t have to drink coffee. I don’t. Heck, you can eat caramels or enjoy them apples. It’s all arbitrary. #namethatfilm
  2. Afterwork Happy Hours  My friend Susan Stearns’ Happy Hour game is super strong. She gets a group of former co-workers together a few times a year. Thanks SS!

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    Bar time in Madison at State Street Brats with Badger track guys.
  3. Book Clubs  My friends Betty Garrot and Stacy Sollenberger are both half bookworm, and are in 3 book clubs right now. It’s a great way to facilitate social interactions and improve your bookmarking skills.
  4. Dinner Parties  This is a great way to jumpstart or turbocharge personal relationships. My neighbors Yassir and Ghada are excellent at this.

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    Ghada (front left) and Yassir (back middle) are great at getting people together.
  5. Video Conference Meetups  I created a monthly video meetup with my college track teammates. It’s now a highlight of my month. On Wisconsin!

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    A scene from one of my monthly online track team meetups.
  6. Group Texts  Several of my high school classmates and I have a group text that regularly flares up with jokes. Like it did this week when our classmate Dan Richards was interviewed on NPR. Thanks to Marcus Chioffi for starting that one!
  7. Meeting At A Restaurant or Bar. In a 2-day span this week in Atlanta I met with 10 different people at restaurants: Stephanie Herbst-Lucke, Diana Keough, Theresa and Jabari Pride, Harper Cornell, Nicola Smith, Scott Jenkins, Heather Hudgins, Kim Hoey and Mark O’Brien. I am pretty good at this game. And lucky that people agree to meet me.

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    This week Scott Jenkins and I made last minute lunch plans across the street from his tiny little Atlanta office (in the background).
  8. Go for a hike or ride. This is a healthy way to multi task. The opposite of #7.

The Golden Age For Human Connections

Never in history have people lived so close together, had such phenomenal resources to facilitate interactions, yet felt so isolated. This is bullshit. And it’s all because most people are longing for someone else to make the first move.

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These things are like magic wands for facilitating human connections.

Don’t wait for anyone. Be the initiator. Create an alumni group that consists of people from a school, employer, program or organization you enjoyed. Invite people to be part of the group and watch how positively they respond.

Form a group around shared interests. Develop a professional organization of people who do what you do. Be the spark. Be the glue. Heck, be the who dang craft closet that brings the project to life, and see what happens next.

Phone A Friend Friday

I have long considered Fridays, Phone-A-Friend Fridays. So every Friday I contact someone I haven’t talked to in a long time. You can this too. You are sure to surprise and delight someone. All while reducing global loneliness levels.

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My friend Amy Meadows was one of my first Phone A Friend Friday calls.

Key Takeaway

There is nothing more important to your personal and professional happiness than meaningful connections with other humans. Don’t be afraid to make the first call, text or send the first smoke signal. Start today. Because we all get ahead when we get together.

*Please don’t just read this. Do something about it. You can start by sending someone this blog post as an icebreaker. If you send it to me, you will make me laugh, and cause my ice to break.

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