It’s one thing to eat alone because you want to. It’s quite another to eat alone because you don’t have a friend. In my work with the homeless, I’ve learned a lot about how to make friends and gain positive influence with others. Homelessness takes a vicious toll on the souls of those entrapped within its insidious walls.
Too Many Are Alone
Sadly, the homeless aren’t alone in being lonely. According to U.S. News and World Report, a majority of Americans confess to feelings of loneliness. You can be alone in a crowd. You can be alone at work. Everybody struggles with something, and that inward struggle often creates a belief that nobody really understands what you’re going through. In truth, we all sometimes find ourselves wanting a good friend.
I’ve learned a thing or two in working with people who exist unseen by society. The best way to overcome loneliness and insecurity in my life is to help somebody else. If you’re feeling blue, get out of your funk by saying hello and speaking a word of encouragement to someone else.
Help Someone Today
A cook at our homeless shelter struggles with self-esteem. A few days ago he prepared some really delicious baked chicken for lunch. When I saw him standing around a group of people, I enthusiastically said “that chicken was fine!! Man, it was so tender it just fell right off the bone.” Then I repeated the statement again for good measure. He lit up like a kid on Christmas morning.
Saying a Kind Word is Simple and Free
I’ve heard it said that if you can’t help everybody, help the person you can. I see lots of hopelessness in the charity, nonprofit world. Too many people have too little hope. Sometimes their needs overwhelm our resources. But on the worst day you ever had, there’s usually one person you can help: one person you can smile to and say hello: one person you can encourage.
The best part about helping someone else is the blessing you receive from doing it. Speaking encouragement to a discouraged soul creates a double blessing. It blesses them and it blesses you.
How to Make Friends? Help Someone Today
I challenge you to find one person today and speak a word of encouragement to them. Send a friend a text saying how much you appreciate them. Tell a co-worker how their good work makes your job so much easier. Sincerely compliment a family member on a quality that makes them stand out.
Most people don’t have someone who consistently affirms them as a person of value. You can be that person for someone else today. Don’t make something up. Don’t lather on fake praise. Seek a real point of validation for someone else, encourage them verbally and watch their eyes light up.
You Gain Influence by Helping Others
As you consistently affirm others on a daily basis, something beautiful begins to happen. You gain positive influence in their lives. Others start to listen to you because you make their world better. When you make it a practice to help others, you become a better you in the process.
When wondering how to make friends personally, remember that most people struggle with feelings of loneliness and inadequacy. Become the person who helps others feel better about themselves and you won’t be lonely. That’s because others will always want to be around you.