Friends, colleagues and casual acquaintances: lend me your ears! Would you like to have a more vibrant social network? Yes, I’m talking about actual people you can hang out with in person on a regular basis, who share your interests at work or at play. Did you know that expressing gratitude is a great way to strengthen all your relationships? It’s easy to do. Let me explain.
I’ve found that once I started to send out thank you notes on a consistent basis, all my social relationships just blossomed. This is because whenever you express gratitude to other people, they notice you!
Compassion and Kindness
Receiving a personal handwritten note is such a warm way to connect, even if you send it to someone you’ve just met or perhaps only know casually. Don’t be surprised if the other person wants to see you again! I think it’s because we all need more compassionate and kind people in our lives, and when you’ve expressed thanks to someone, you’ve shown them your true colors. They realize that you are a responsible individual who follows through and they’re more likely to view you as helpful to them in their social networks and friendship groups.
Mindset and Reciprocity
Once you start to spend more time together in person, don’t be surprised when other people notice that you’re quite a bit happier and more pleasant to be around than some other folks. Why would that be? Could it be because you make a point to express gratitude each day? Yes. Gratitude has been proven to change your mindset for the best and other people around you can sense that. They’ll realize that you know how to treat other people well and as a result, the people around you will respond in the same way, by reciprocating those warm feelings back to you.
Positive Feedback Loops
In essence, what you are doing is creating positive feedback loops between yourself and those around you. Your daily gratitude practice makes you more empathetic and understanding of diversity in others, and of course this opens you up to an even wider range of social interactions. As you open up and take an authentic interest in the well-being of others, this gives them the cue to react in a socially positive way toward you.
Once you are in a positive feedback loop like this, you can feel that the bonds of friendship and comradery become stronger and more consistent. Your circle expands. Everyone wins. And it started with a daily gratitude practice that only takes a few minutes each day. That is a superb return on your investment of time and energy, isn’t it?
The great thing is that as you continue to make a point to communicate your thankfulness, you’ll find that other people around you will begin to seek you out to talk about common interests, concerns or passions. They know you’ll listen and sincerely wish to help them because you’re just that kind of person!
Expansion and Connection
As you continue to share more of yourself, including your personality and your skills, it naturally strengthens and deepens the connections you have with friends and colleagues within your social networks. Suddenly your life is full of things to do, you’re getting out and about, having fun, and it just keeps getting better.
Wouldn’t you like a life like that? You can have it! Just pick up your pen and a notecard each morning and express thanks for something nice that someone said or did the day before. Don’t worry about perfect penmanship or the ideal wording, just speak from your heart through your pen. Send it off to them and when they read it, they’ll start to see you differently. And you yourself will feel different too — happier, more at peace, more satisfied with your life — gratitude has a way of doing that!
Once you get going, I’d love to hear how your daily expressions of gratitude are growing your social networks and helping you connect with more friends and colleagues that enrich your life. Life is what you make it, so make it count!