Any new situation can bring with it a feeling of uncertainty. When faced with a new school, job or social environment our first tendency is often to try to make a connection with someone – an experienced person who knows the ‘lay of the land’, or someone just like us who is trying to find their way.

Everything is easier with an ally; a guide who can help us find our way, or someone we can partner with to overcome challenges together.

Human beings are social by nature, and forming alliances with others is a big part of how we survive and thrive in the world. To one extent or another, we all rely on each other to get by.

When a child meets somebody for the first time, their tendency is to stay close to a parent or care-giver until they have had time to get used to the person. Once they overcome their initial shyness, they feel comfortable expressing themselves and before too long they are getting along as if with an old friend.

Have you ever noticed that, no matter where they are, young children never seem to have trouble making friends? Even if they are too young to speak, they find a way to make connections with the people around them. A smile, a nod, or just a wave – once a child feels relaxed in an environment and begins to reach out to others, people instinctively want to respond and make their acquaintance.

Communication always seems to be easier when we are relaxed – there is a good reason why so many cultures around the world have a tradition of serving alcohol at social functions!

Open communication is the key to building rewarding friendships wherever we are. As long as we take the time to relax and be ourselves, then we naturally create and maintain alliances with family, friends and colleagues. Every day brings opportunities for us to make connections with the people around us – it doesn’t take much, a kind word and a smile can go a long way.

The next time you find yourself in a new situation, or you come across someone you have never spoken with before, try approaching things as a child would – with an open heart and no expectations. You might be pleasantly surprised at the result!

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