As an introvert, I like to hang out by myself...a lot. But the flip side of that coin is that I love human connection. I’m not one for small talk, I prefer deep conversation, or else silence between two people can be so calming and easy. Growing up, I was never in the “popular crowd”, my sister was three years younger than me and when she got to high school, people would ask me “Are you Andrea’s sister?”...I was a senior! Despite all of this, I get such joy from the relationships I have built over my lifetime because, the ones that stick, which by this point are adding up, make my days joyful and provide strength in the tough times.
A good friend of mine says I call these friendships “my people” quite frequently, and, although this isn’t meant to be an exclusive term, it got me thinking. What are the qualities that sustain those relationships, people I return to no matter the miles or experiences between us?
They create connection. Probably not a big surprise, but my people aren’t small talkers either. They ask the big questions, we don’t really talk about the weather, but about dreams (at this point for ourselves and our kids), goals, and how to solve the issues of the day...and there are lots of them, so one on one, we could go on forever. This doesn’t mean we have to agree on everything, just that we have the desire to sink in a little deeper on what makes the world go around…and that conversation is so much bigger than our own experience in our neighborhood.
My people love and encourage growth and change. I’ve discovered as I have gone through challenge and change that my people will provide support when I’m down, but the ones who are really special want to see me rise out of it...and my goal is always to do the same for them. I think most of us are wired to help when we see struggle, but to honestly help someone and then, when they rise, in part because of the help that you offered, be genuinely happy for them, is a testament to how we keep our own values and ego in check. There is comfort in knowing that someone is the same person you always knew, but the best life is always transforming us and my people support that beautiful change.
My people are feelers, and they use what they feel to figure out their passion and the meaning in their lives. They use what moves them to create change in this world on the myriad of challenges we face. You may never hear their names in the news, so many good people are out there every day teaching the next generation with action that will never be celebrated by society, but they are touching lives, healing hurts, and creating change where it’s needed. The people they do come into contact with have their days, and sometimes even their lives changed forever. From inclusion in schools, to raising up the next generation of leaders, to changing lives by expanding their families through adoption, to working on sustainable natural resource policies, they pick their issue and go at it with all of their heart and mind in a way that is so inspiring to me.
My people focus on themselves. They believe that the change they want to see in the world starts with them and their next right choice...and the example inspires a chain reaction. We support each others happiness and trust each other’s judgment. Like attracts like, no excuses.
As life continues to grow, flow and change, I couldn’t be more grateful for the people in my corner, loving me, encouraging me, and inspiring me with the way they live their days. My greatest hope is that I return the favor to them on a consistent basis. Thanks for being my people.