Friends laughing together
Every day, you have the opportunity to connect with people in a more meaningful way; people who will honor who you are and what you want in life. Cheryl Richardson teaches you to create deeper, more meaningful relationships that fuel your mind, body and spirit.
Building a soulful community is a step-by-step, deliberate process to bring certain people into your life. First, decide on the kind of person you'd like to meet (friend, mate, colleague). Next, take specific actions to make it happen. The truth is it takes commitment and action to add new people to your community.

Remember, most people are open, willing, and very interested in making new relationships. And chances are they're just as uncomfortable as you are. Building relationships happens a step at a time, and it will require faith that people will actually show up.

The possibility for rich relationships exists all around you—you simply have to open your eyes, open your mouth and most importantly, open your heart.

How to get started

Build Your Community
Follow the process outlined below to find like-minded people who are anxious to make your acquaintance.

  1. Create a "profile" of your ideal relationship/candidate. Include as many details and characteristics as possible. 

  2. Identify how you need to grow to fit the profile personally.
    Are there qualities that you need to develop within yourself? Remember that like attracts like. Be sure you're not looking for someone to fill a void that needs to be filled by you. If you're looking for someone with a high level of integrity, be sure that you're working to raise your integrity level as well. If you'd like a friend who is creative, you might want to look at how you're expressing creativity in your own life. The more you focus on developing the qualities that are important to you, the better the chances are of attracting a friend who shares your values and goals.

  3. Identify what might be keeping you from developing deeper relationships.
    • I'm afraid that a new friend may reject me.
    • I'm too shy.
    • I'm not sure where or how to meet new people.
    • I feel embarrassed about wanting new friends.
    • I'm too busy
    • It will take too long to build the history a good relationship needs

  4. Choose a friend, family member, or co-worker who best fits your profile.
    Review what you've listed. Can you do this for several people? Let this friend know you want to spend more "quality" time together. Get together and risk sharing more of who you are and how you feel.
Characteristics and questions to ask during this process
Creating Your Community Profile
Create a profile of the people you want to surround you. Follow these example characteristics and questions to ask yourself the following questions while creating a profile of your ideal relationship. Qualities to think about:

Physical qualities:
  • Should your friend be athletic and fit so you can participate in sports together?
  • Does style matter to you? Do you like to be around casual people or get dressed up and go out on the town?
  • Would you like your friend to be affectionate?
  • Can you most relate to someone who is single, married or has children?
Emotional disposition:
  • Is this person honest, funny and communicative?
  • Do you want a relationship that is warm and loving?
  • Do you want to be around a friend who is casual and fun?
Spiritual beliefs:
  • Would you like someone to share your religious orientation?
  • What kinds of spiritual beliefs might this person have?
  • Is it important that this person have a spiritual life?
Intellectual interests:
  • Is it important that a friend be well-read?
  • What kinds of intellectual interests do you have—politics, education?
Hobbies, personal interests:
  • Is it important that a friend be well read?
  • What kinds of hobbies or personal interests would you like to share - gardening, theater, recipes, crafts?
Career/Financial interests:
  • Should your friend be passionate about their work?
  • Think about the costs of your interests. For example, if you love to travel, does your friend need the means to do the same?
  • Maybe you and your friend share an interest in investing and finances. 
How to strengthen your existing relationships

How to Strengthen Your Existing Relationships
As you invest in the quality of your life, you automatically become more concerned with the quality of your relationships. You feel better about yourself and are less likely to tolerate the relationships that bring you down. Instead, look for those people who support you, excite and inspire you, and challenge you to be your best. When we share mutually supportive and loving relationships with others, it becomes much easier to make the important changes that will improve our lives in a positive way.

The possibility for rich relationships exists all around you—you simply have to open your eyes, open your mouth and most importantly, open your heart.

Take Action
Step out of your comfort zone and risk a deeper connection. If you'd like to take an existing relationship to new level, tell that person directly. If there's someone you'd like to get to know better, pick up the phone and invite him or her to dinner. If you long to bring new relationships into your life, let three people in your community know about it. Remember that since most of us share the same desire, when you reach out, the chances are pretty good that someone will reach back. Ask yourself these questions.

The person(s) I'd like to connect more deeply with is (are) ___________.

Two people I'd like to get to know better are _____________.

How to Make Your Intention Known
Once you have identified that you would like to take your relationships to another level and whom the people are that you would like to connect with, follow these steps.

1. Share your intention honestly. 

2. Plan a regular time to get together

3. Honor the relationship—make time, be on time, pay attention, etc.

4. Dare to be intimate:
  • Make eye contact.
  • Listen more than you speak.
  • Ask meaningful, open-ended questions
  • Create an even exchange of energy.
  • Share more intimate thoughts and feelings (less superficial).

Use these scripts as examples of how to commnuicate your intention for your relationships.

Script for Taking a Relationship to the Next Step
"I've made a decision to invest more deeply in the quality of my relationships. I always enjoy spending time with you and I especially appreciate your _________ (sense of humor, thoughtfulness, generosity, honesty, etc.). I'd love to create a fulfilling friendship where we support each other's success and growth while having fun. Are you interested?"

Scripts for Reconnecting with an Estranged Relationship
"I know it's been ____ years since we've spoken and I feel a little uncomfortable making this call. I wanted you to know that I miss our friendship and I'd love to reconnect. I wondered if you might be interested in catching up and seeing if there is anything here to resume?"

"I'm calling to reconnect and say hello. I know we had a rough time ____ years ago and yet I think of you often and miss our friendship. I've grown a lot since then and I thought I'd call to see how you are. Are you interested in catching up?"

What questions to ask when you want to take your relationship deeper

Questions to Ask
There are a variety of questions you can use to take a relationship deeper. Ask a friend some of these meaningful questions:
  • What do you wish for, dream about, or long to do?
  • What have you always wanted to do?
  • How can I support you?
  • What kinds of things frighten you or make you feel stuck?
  • If you could do something fun and adventurous, what would it be?
  • What are you looking for in a friend?
  • What do you need to feel loved and cared for?

Keep Reading
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