A group of young people sitting outside a basketball court

It’s such an incredible feeling to be supported—to feel like you don’t have to walk through life alone. There’s this saying I’ve heard quite frequently: “It takes a village.”

When I first heard this, I didn’t really understand the weight of it. As time passes, it has rung true in my own life. When we face pivotal moments in our lives—both the hard times and the worth-celebrating times—it’s our community we lean on the most.

Community gives us the opportunity to build healthy relationships and foster a sense of belonging for others. Finding your people can make or break your career, your individuality, your marriage and your goals.

Cultivating community is all about being the friend you want to attract. If you’re looking for a little more connection and community in your life, then try working on developing these habits:

Ask questions and learn more about people.

Building a healthy connection with someone creates trust, which helps you accomplish your goals. It’s easy to get caught up in looking for ways people can serve you, but instead, look for ways to serve other people.

Get to know them. Ask them about their likes, dislikes, go-to Starbucks order, their pet peeves and their dreams. Stop treating people like an ATM machine and actually get to know them. People are not commodities. They’re human beings.

Any relationship worth having requires mutual effort and hard work. When we get outside of ourselves, we become more aware of the needs of others. As we take the time to learn more about our coworkers, our friends or even our neighbors, we’re showing we care enough to value the person above the task.

Any relationship worth having requires mutual effort.

Stay away from gossip.

If you have anything to say about someone else, then ask yourself: Is what I’m about to say building someone up or tearing them down? Replace the “need” to talk bad about others by simply speaking good and choosing to talk more about your own life.

Sometimes we succumb to gossip when we are trying to avoid talking about what’s really going on in our world. In a time where there’s so much negativity online and on social media, choose to see and call out the good in others.

Show up and be consistent.

Consistency is huge when it comes to earning someone’s trust. Remember when you were in kindergarten and someone invited you to sit with them at lunch? Then the next day, you hoped they’d do it again and again. If they do, that consistency develops a bond and eventually a friendship. When you show up to things and hold a consistent presence in someone’s life, whether at work or at home, people look to you and want to interact with you more because they know they can depend on you.

Consistency develops a bond and eventually a friendship.

During my college years, I struggled so much with this. I’d overcommit myself to the point where I ended up disappointing the people I loved most in my life. It affected my health to the point were I was hospitalized for severe dehydration and exhaustion.

When we spread ourselves thin, we stop being consistent. Soon, we find ourselves missing opportunities to build relationships because we’re too busy obsessing over “the hustle.” Part of developing consistency as a person means knowing your limits and finding a balance in your life that allows you to operate at your best capacity.

When we surround ourselves with the right community of people, we cultivate more than just healthy relationships. We cultivate purpose that transcends into every area of our lives. We weren’t meant to live our lives isolated from everyone else. Through the highs and lows that come with navigating the day-to-day, community is one of the most beautiful things we can find to lift us up.

Who makes up your community? How do you cultivate community on a daily basis?

Image via Sarah Kehoe, Darling Issue No. 20

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