Photography by Kayte Demont
Making friends. A concept that has plagued some of us since childhood. I have a love of connecting with and talking to people and it’s served me well both personally and professionally. But while it’s easy for me to sit down for coffee with anyone, I’ve definitely struggled with how to really weed out the people who aren’t “my people” to find the gems that will always support me and stick by me.
It’s a tricky concept to discuss because there really is no right or wrong answer. I wish I could sit here and tell you all an exact formula to finding epic humans so that I could help you eliminate the sometimes painful process of being burned by the ones you thought were something they weren’t. But I can’t, and I’m a feeling person, so I’m just going to share some tips based on my experiences moving to new cities and having to start over in order to create a support system. Hopefully you can find some solace in the ones that resonate with you and apply them to your life the next time you meet someone of interest.
5 TIPS FOR BETTER CREATIVE RELATIONSHIPS
If someone has the balls to reach out to you first, at least give them a chance. To me, it takes a lot of courage for someone to go out on a limb and ask to meet up. It’s scary when you allow yourself to be vulnerable to rejection. Maybe this person is only looking for something from you, but maybe they’re the best friend or creative partner that you’ve been searching for! You never know! So take a chance and meet them with their vulnerability. The worst that can happen is you have an awkward coffee conversation and then you move on.
Seek out qualities that make you feel good but also intrigue you. It’s absolutely paramount to have a few people who are your constant cheerleaders. At the end of the day, life is fucking hard and sometimes you need someone in your corner telling you it’s going to be okay (even if you were the one acting like an asshole). I would argue that it’s even more important to find the people who also listen to you and offer suggestions and challenges to help you grow. It’s awesome to have someone boosting you up, but you can’t keep vibrating on a higher frequency without people pushing you to continue growing (otherwise it’s called enabling).
Get on the same page. It’s easy to get caught up in a new relationship of any kind (personal, professional, etc.). It’s exciting! If you’re anything like me, you want to learn as much as possible as quickly as possible so that you can get close to that person and develop trust and support. In a professional setting, especially in a creative field, this notion can often be clouded by the notion of getting ahead. Collaboration is the key to success, but it should be met with agreed upon boundaries and respect. You want to make sure that whoever is in your corner is on the same page!
Spread the love. When I meet a new person, I make an active choice to approach the interaction with an open mind and heart. Sometimes this bites me in the ass and I get burned, but more often than not it allows me to connect with people who I may not have come into contact with otherwise. There have been so many productive life conversations that I’ve had with people, never to see them again. Conversely, I’ve spent a significant amount of time with people that have turned out to be different than I thought they were. I think the key to balance here is making sure that you know that you can have different types of relationships with different kinds of people. As long as you act out of kindness and love, you’ll eventually hit your stride with finding your crew.
Go with your gut. Sometimes you will meet people in your creative endeavors that a lot of people love, but there’s something just… “off” about them. Don’t ignore that! Sometimes people take a while to open up and prove themselves, but if you’re feeling like there’s a block, listen to that. You don’t have to be their best friend/ creative partner. You can take your time developing a relationship that works and feels best/ healthy for you.
I hope that these observations from my experiences help you navigate your own waters! There are so many opportunities for friendship, collaboration and support out there, it just takes time. If you’re interested in learning more about getting involved with the support system/ creative community that is the Mass Musings Tribe, we’d love to have you! Click here to learn more.