How many times have you been travelling in another country amongst strangers and you hear a familiar accent –“ These people comes from my part of the world!” You gravitate toward each other and strike up a conversation with a smile on your face.
Do you remember the feeling?
Something shared, something familiar, a pleasure that is difficult to express. A link to your roots – home. If you never see each other again you will remember that feeling of seeing someone you have a connection with.
Building friendships and relationships are some of the biggest cornerstones of a person’s success in life yet very little is known about how we do it. The statistics are startling, 1 in 4 people…
Do not have a best friend, friendships in the western world are dying.
We have acquaintances, people to nod your head to when passing but few real friends. Yet to belong doesn’t have to happen by accident, its the result of a set of simple actions that anyone can learn to do.
Many of you are aware teach children interactive skills through dancing, Id like to invite you on a journey, back to your classroom, sitting on the floor in front of your teacher . Imagine a classroom of children huddled up on a chilly winters morning, if you look closely , there are invisible dividers between them. One group of 3 girls together, friends since year 2. Five boys at the back all in the footy team, one girl at the front alone, lost in her own thoughts. Look closer and you will see the more dividers, the isolated, the hungry for recognition, the lonely. These invisible dividers are torn down when confronted with dancing with a partner
When you dance together, you are out of your comfort zone. The truth is you are scared yet excited, a part of you exposed, sharing something of yourself, an underlying dialogue running through your subconscious:
“Am I ok ? Will they accept me? “
The paradox is … everyone is feeling the same fear, and connect through the experience .
We train our kids to find one nice thing to say about their partner, how they dance, how they are dressed, posture, timing, anything positive that has a ring of truth about it. Watch them light up. And watch the body language change in response when a compliment is returned. We are viewing ourselves in the mirror of another persons body language, it changes how we see the other person and boosts our self confidence, knowing we are being accepted.
Once they have finished dancing with their partner, they learn to introduce them to the person nearest to them, “Bill, Id like you to meet Mary, she has beautiful eyes and dances a fabulous cha cha, Mary I want you to meet Bill because he loves books and has great taste in music.” They dance, compliment each other and continue the process of taking turns to introduce to each other. The mirror is passed on to others in the room.
They had it right all those years ago, basic good manners, a lost artform that bound society. Basic rules and reasons that were lost over time, replaced with expedient communication that allowed a hardening to another persons feelings. Text, email, remote communication that can never replace eye contact, a genuine smile with positive body language and words of encouragement
In Dance sport, our kids learn how to make friends with anyone, then help people make friends with each other and then help groups make friends with other groups. Before you know it you have woven a community of people who are connected through the feeling they have when they belong.