Rekindling Connections Through Shared Interests and Adventures.
At different life stages, we have opportunities to make new friends while also valuing and retaining long-term friends.
Lydia Denworth’s book “Friendship: The Evolution, Biology, and Extraordinary Power of Life’s Fundamental Bond” highlights the importance of companionship and cooperation and having positive relationships in our lives. People who are open to new experiences are more likely to have friends located further away, younger and older, who we see less often, yet are still close to.
Interesting things happen when people from diverse backgrounds, with different life experiences, are drawn together through a shared interest. These can be online communities of interest or shared outdoor adventures.
The MEA Online program ‘Navigating Midlife Transitions’ introduced me to a global alumni community of caring individuals rediscovering meaning and purpose and finding ways to make the world a better place for future generations.
Similarly, self-publishing my first book is creating exciting new connections with writers, authors and readers around the world supporting one another and sharing the ups and downs of our writing journeys.
Maybe it’s time to meet up with a local writing group for offline connections too!
My partner, Steve, belongs to a very active online community of landscape photographers sharing images and feedback on different themes, photography techniques and access to useful resources. These are often between people who have never met so sharing is about the photograph and the techniques.
Going on outdoor adventures, exploring new places and discovering new things together rekindles friendships, injects fresh energy and variety into our relationships.
That’s what I discovered while organising AWOL (Adventurous Women On the Loose) adventures for over a decade for a diverse group of women of different ages, life stages and backgrounds. These experiences inspired me to write a book about Going AWOL.
Shared outdoor activities strengthen connections between friends, developing empathy for one another.
Walking in nature lifts our spirits and the conversation flows more freely. We can spread out, sometimes being alone to enjoy the surroundings, and at other times, walking beside one another.
Being together outdoors surrounded by nature strengthens bonds and builds connections. Quite different from the digital connections that flourished during a global pandemic.
Both have their place.
Combining online and offline connections
Although it is not easy, sometimes we need to free ourselves from old ties, especially when they are holding us back from making transitions.
Mutually rewarding friendships help us succeed and thrive. This is particularly important with intergenerational friendships which widen our perspectives so we can learn from those different perspectives.
By taking steps to be more selective and intentional about our technology usage we can enhance our offline and online connections.
Quality friendships emerge when we give our time to others so that we understand and are understood. When we nurture our friends by spending time together, it is time well spent.
I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. – Maya Angelou
Mary Somervell is a transition guide, blogger and outdoor adventurer who lives in Nelson, New Zealand and is an MEA alum. Mary founded AWOL (Adventurous Women on the Loose) over a decade ago to share her passion for being active outdoors with other women. Including AWOL, she has organised over 70 different outdoor adventures around New Zealand. https://www.insideoutworks.co.nz/books She worked in senior marketing and human resources roles before founding InsideOutWorks, a business consultancy, offering transition guidance and risk management services.