With the rise in isolation that we have been experiencing during the COVID 19 pandemic, there has been an abundance of articles on the value of weak-tie relationships, a term that many of us are only now becoming acquainted with for the first time. In today’s episode, Megan and Kelly discuss weak-tie friendships, why they’re important, and how to get better at creating and nurturing them. We delve into the nature of weak-tie relationships, why we need them and how they differ from close friendships. Tuning in you’ll hear about some of the benefits of weak-tie relationships, like how they can improve mood, improve social skills, and even combat cognitive decline as we age. Our hosts discuss the challenges of striking up conversations with strangers when you’re introverted by nature and how where you live has a big impact on how approachable you are. Hear how weak-tie relationships broaden your worldview by challenging your assumptions about people and why that’s so important for social cohesion. Later our hosts share their tips for creating more weak-tie relationships and reflect on some of the meaningful interactions they’ve had with strangers over the years. For all this and much more, join us today as we explore how to build connection without fear!
Read The Full Article Here:
Key Points From This Episode:
The importance of weak-tie friendships and what they add to your life.
When weak-tie friends cross a boundary and why you don’t necessarily need to reciprocate.
Why only a professional therapist can give you neutral advice.
How weak-tie friendships teach you to be a better listener and communicator.
How your weak-tie social friendships can facilitate work opportunities.
Our hosts discuss being natural introverts and how weak-tie friendships help them get out of their comfort zone.
How regular small interactions can create a sense of meaning and connection.
How weak-tie friendships contribute to happiness.
Where you live can be a big factor in how much people communicate with strangers.
How having weak-tie friendships makes you less likely to make uncharitable assumptions about people’s intentions.
Tips for being more sociable and striking up conversations with strangers when you’re introverted by nature.
How to get over social anxiety and not dwell on moments that you felt were awkward.
The positive impact that complimenting a stranger can have on their day and self-esteem.
How weak-tie friendships give you a broader and deeper worldview.
The value of weak-tie relationships within a supportive community when you are going through something difficult.
How to build confidence with small social interactions by starting small.
Why co-workers are an excellent opportunity to nurture weak-tie relationships.
Giving yourself permission to start conversations
Why having social interactions as you age is important for your cognitive health.
“If you’re sharing personal issues that you’re having, most people are going to respond to you through a lens of a filter of their own lives and their own experiences. And that’s normal.” — Megan Block [0:06:36]
“Expanding your worldview and your social circle, it’s important to have a really diverse community of friends, whether that’s in real life or online.” — Megan Block [0:12:47]
“You do learn to be a better listener, and ask better questions of people, so I think it’s important. I think as an introvert, it’s pulled me out of my shell.” — Megan Block [0:16:23]
“And then the Starbucks barista just insists on being super friendly. Well, fine ‘like, I guess I’ll just be sunny today’, and then I end up talking to people and my soul feels better.” — Kelly Castillo [0:23:31]
“When you have that friendly interaction, you’re much less likely to jump to conclusions about who that person is, or what they’re thinking or what their intentions were, and think it’s all negative.” — Megan Block [0:32:58]
“We all just want to feel less alone about the weird things we do. Because here’s the thing, we’re all weird.” — Kelly Castillo [0:36:10]
Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:
[00:00:01] ANNOUNCER: Welcome to She’s A Full On Monet, a digital lifestyle magazine for women. Every week, our Editor-In-Chief, Kelly Castillo, along with Megan Black and special guests, participate in a deep-dive discussion about recent articles and topics we have covered. We invite you to become part of our community, where everyone’s welcome.
[00:00:27] KC: Hey, guys, welcome back to a She’s A Full On Monet, episode 13. Today, we are going to talk about the importance of weak-tie friendships. I don’t know if everyone listening to this knows what a weak-tie friendship is. It’s basically, new terminology for an acquaintance, basically. These are not your close circle of friends. These are people you work with, I know, don’t see outside of work, or the barista at the coffee shop, you go every day, the girl on the mat next to you at yoga, people that you have a friendly relationship with, but are not close friends with.
Today, I think a lot of people and a lot – There’s been a lot of articles written about it. I see things about it all the time, about the importance of close girlfriends for women, and to have a circle of close girlfriends and I believe that as well. The weak-tie friendships are what we’re talking about today, and why those are perhaps, equally as important.
This is a different topic for us. I’m excited to talk about it.
[00:01:26] MB: I never even heard of the terminology, until we dove into it to discuss it today. I was like, “Wow.” I feel like, I have three actual people, and then all the rest of them are in that other category. That’s okay. Because you know what? I think, when you’re not in school, and you don’t see your click every single day, because it’s mandatory, and you’re an adult, and you don’t have to actually make friends that are adult friends, it is for a while a weak-tie thing, because you don’t see the person all the time.
Or it starts that way, then it pushes you into developing into maybe we should get lunch together, or maybe we should hang out. I see you all the time and we seem to like each other. I really like that there’s a terminology for it, because I was like, “I don’t know what to call this thing that I have in my life with this person.”
[00:02:19] KC: Yeah. For me, personally, weak-tie friendships are super important to me. I value them perhaps, in some cases, even more than close friendships, just because I’m a really busy person and I have a lot of responsibilities and people who in my life who count on me to be their support systems, and to be caregivers and all of that. Sometimes, having a super close friendship, where that person is also – not all the time, but occasionally expecting you to be that for them can be overwhelming to me.
I know, with my time constraints and my emotional energy constraints, I don’t always feel like I’m the best friend in a close friend situation, because I don’t always have the energy. I feel like I don’t necessarily fulfill some of their needs, because I’m so over-committed. Yeah.
[00:03:11] MB: It works for your lifestyle, because there’s only so much of you that you can give. It’s like, sometimes you do need a friend who isn’t on that same plane, or isn’t on that same level and they resent you for it. It’s not even something you’re doing purposefully. It’s just like, sorry, this is all I have. It’s not a get out of jail free card, but it’s just like, this is all that’s expected and this is cool. This works for me and you.
[00:03:40] KC: I like being able to have the social interaction when I want it, but not to have all the responsibility and especially the emotional responsibility. I’m an introvert.
[00:03:49] MB: It literally sounds like, we’re talking about, not calling someone your boyfriend, or girlfriend, but you’re getting all the benefits. I feel like, “Oh, my gosh.” If someone was just tuning in, didn’t read a thing and they were like, “Huh? What are they talking?” Because it’s like, “Oh, none of the emotional obligations, but all the benefits.”
[00:04:07] KC: Exactly. Exactly.
[00:04:09] MB: It works, though. Okay, it works. Because I bet you, the other person is probably on a different level, but same busy and doesn’t have a lot of free time, or maybe something just came up in their life and they’re like, “This is all I have to give.” We all need social interaction to not be weird.
[00:04:28] KC: Yeah. We do need that. There was a study done in 2014 that said, we’d found that people who have a lot of weak-tie associations, or friendships were happier than people who didn’t. I think that’s really interesting. I know, I mean, I’ve had kids my entire adult life. I’ve always had these commitments that kept me from having the super close friendships. That most people have super close friendships, until at least their mid-20s, because that’s when life starts to intervene and they have suddenly, full-time jobs and families and things like that.
Your friends in high school and college are your world. Since I’ve had kids my whole adult life, I’ve always had other commitments. Those weak-tie friendships were the ones to me that meant the most on a day-to-day basis. They were usually the parents of my kids’ friends, because we would see each other. The moms that I met at cheer competitions, at soccer games, in being PTA mom or whatever. Those friendships really grew and developed over the time that my kids were in school and became closer.
For me, that’s who I could call if I needed someone to pick up the kids from school, if I had an emergency, or if I just hey, want to have a girls night, let’s go out and get a cocktail. I need a break. That was the social interaction that filled up my energy reserves. Recharged my batteries to be able to talk to someone who had kids the same age and the same school and the same teachers and we could relate and talk about that stuff. I mean, they weren’t going to call me necessarily if they were having problems with their husband, or got fired. I’m sure they had different friendship circles for that.
[00:06:06] MB: Have you ever, though? Have you ever had one of those weak-tie friendships dive into that weird place of like, giving you the TMI too soon and you’re like, “Wow, we hit a new level quicker than I was ready for.”
[00:06:22] KC: I’m not sure we have that relationship.
[00:06:23] MB: Because I also know you are, and correct me if I’m wrong, a bit non-confrontational by choice most times. You are very kind and very sweet. You’re not going to be like, “Dude, don’t even put your problems.” You’re going to be there for the person, but you’re –
[00:06:39] KC: I am uncomfy. Yeah. I am uncomfy right now.
[00:06:43] MB: Here we are talking about what your husband did. Okay, let’s go.
[00:06:47] KC: Yeah. I have had that happen quite a few times, and I’m fine with it. I will talk anybody through anything. I feel like, I usually have good advice and counseling to offer people and I am happy to be that person occasionally. My issue comes about when it’s constant and they’re expecting it to be reciprocated, because I’m a super private person. I’m not going to complain about my partner, or my kids on a deeper level, or things like that. Because first, I’m just private, and I don’t like to share that with other people.
Plus, I mean, if we don’t have a super close relationship, I don’t know where that information is going and I find that to be disrespectful to my partner to talk about them and our personal relationship with people who are not. I would do that with my sister. I would do that with my sister-in-law. I would do that with my super close friends, but not with just the mom group that I go have cocktails with every now and then. That seems disrespectful. That’s my opinion. If that’s the place that people need to vent and get it out, I’m totally fine. I will listen to you and I will give advice, but I won’t reciprocate it. Does that make sense?
[00:07:52] MB: No, it totally does. Because I have been the person to complain too much about a relationship. Here’s the thing: it paints a picture to the other person. If you only paint one part of the picture, they’re only going to see one part of the picture. Then they start to genuinely worry if you’re with the right person. It’s like, first of all, you shouldn’t share your personal relationship with anyone other than like, I have one person in my whole world that I share everything with and she’s my best friend in the entire universe. That’s the one person. It took a while for me to get there.
Even then, when I tell her what’s going on, she’s like, “Oh, she does not like it.” Sometimes, you just need to get it off your chest. You need to be with someone who you trust. it can’t be with someone who’s going to judge you for that. You can’t just tell the person you just met. You know what I mean? It’s just not right. If it’s going to ever happen, it’s got to be to your sister. You know what I mean? If you don’t have a sister, that sister you’ve chosen to be your sister.
[00:08:53] KC: Yeah. Family is the people we choose. I think, most people, if you’re sharing personal issues that you’re having, most people are going to respond to you through a lens of a filter of their own life and their own experiences and that’s normal. You have to be aware of that. If they just got divorced, or they’re unhappy with their spouse, or something else is going on, they could give you advice that’s more what they would like to hear, versus what you need and what’s right for your situation. Which is why, there’s nothing else like therapy, right? A therapist gives you neutral and healthy advice. That’s why they went to school. There’s no substitute for that. I wouldn’t substitute close girlfriends for that, just because they’re not professionals. If you just need to vent –
[00:09:37] MB: When I could vent too, I just like to ask questions. I don’t like to give advice.
[00:09:43] KC: How did that make you –
[00:09:44] MB: Because I’m like, no. Because I’m like, I don’t want to sit here and give my very biased opinion based on my personal life experiences to this person who’s going to may, or may not take that advice and make a major life change. Whatever. I just like that you can tell the person just once to get it off their chest and talk. They don’t have any, maybe anyone else. You just ask questions. Like, “Hmm, that’s really interesting.” Like you say, how does it make you feel? Like whatever. You certainly don’t want to dish out advice.
Now we’re just getting off topic, but I just figured once that person goes from that weak-tie friendship and just dives into that personal space, can you go? Is it still a weak-tie friendship at that point? Or do they cross some line to where it’s now in this weird limbo, because you’re not necessarily giving in as well. Now you’re like, “I know you very well.”
[00:10:38] KC: Yeah. I think that close friendships are friendships where the support is reciprocal and equal. I mean, I’ve been the person people vented to in a weak-tie friendship, but I didn’t do that. I didn’t do it back for them. I know that they were just going through a period of their life where maybe they want anyone who was super close to them to know what was going on in their relationship, or in their personal life, and they just needed a neutral party to complain to and then that’s [inaudible 00:11:04].
[00:11:04] MB: They didn’t want to pay for a therapist. That’s what I [inaudible 00:11:07].
[00:11:09] KC: I have a lot of different friendships than weak-tie friendships with people of every different background, coming from different walks of life. I think that has helped me to expand my perspective on the world and feel more connected in general. I mean, I’m an introvert by nature, but I do try to be a friendly person. I’m not above starting conversations with people who are doing the same volunteer work as me, or if we’re taking the same class and I see them every week for that, something along those lines. I do definitely have to foster that, because I think having expanded social circle is always a positive.
[00:11:51] MB: A 1000%. It forces you to push your social – Like I said in the beginning, being an adult and making new adult friends, or even just being an adult and socializing with people that is out of your comfort zone for some people. It’s good to have weak-tie friendships, because it forces you to practice social interaction, and practice those social – just communication skills are always good to practice on in all different ways.
[00:12:20] KC: Yeah, exactly. I think, it can help you to see the world a different way, when you are exposed to more perspectives. That could even be online friendships. Because I follow a lot of people on social media and I have a lot of “friendships” on social media, with people I never would have met in my day-to-day life. They live on the other side of the world, or they’re from a completely different background, where our paths would never cross. I think that’s great, too, for expanding your worldview and your social circle. It’s important to have really diverse community of friends, whether that’s in real life, or online.
[00:12:57] MB: Yeah, I completely agree. Because you’re exposed to different viewpoints. That’s always a point. Yeah. I know that weak-tie friendships are funny, because they’re all kinds. It’s funny. You say, the barista that you run into. It’s like, there are people now that I think about that it’s like, they’re always – I’m always catching their shift or something. Now we’re friends, because they just know when I’m there. It’s just funny, because it’s like, man, okay, here we are, again. I guess, let’s get to know each other. What [inaudible 00:13:24].
[00:13:25] KC: Exactly. Exactly.
[00:13:27] MB: Because sometimes they’re forced, or heaven forbid, if you’re a parent, like mom friends, because you’re on a playdate, and you’re sitting next to each other. I have a four-year-old, I’m not going to just drop her off and leave and go do my errands. I’m going to hang out and now I’m hanging out with this mom. That’s happened. I’ve actually met some really cool women.
[00:13:48] KC: Me too. Yeah.
[00:13:50] MB: Just by being forced to sit next to each other and make sure our kids are alive and okay.
[00:13:56] KC: Yeah. I mean, I get some of my best weak-tie friendships then with my mom groups. We call ourselves the village. All the moms that have kids. They’ve been in school together since kindergarten, and a lot of – Gabby just graduated a year ago. That’s a long time. That’s 12 years, 13 years of being together. We traveled for competitions here, we traveled for lacrosse and cross-country. They’re a rental, an Airbnb, or a hotel, because it’s really just the moms. The dads don’t usually come to that.
[00:14:32] MB: Weak-tie friendships are harder for dads.
[00:14:34] KC: For dads. We would go to Vegas for a competition and big turns watching. There’s kids. You do get to know them a lot. I mean, you have conversations and you get to know a little bit about their lives. I also have a lot of weak-tie friendships that are spouse of my partner.
[00:14:52] MB: Good one. Yeah, me too. Because I mean, you only really see them when they get together as all the couples, or you’re connected through social media, but how intimate can that really be? Dan’s had the same group of friends since he was in eighth, ninth grade, like that core group of friends. When the wives get together, there’s one – Okay, there’s one that it’s like, have you seen stepbrothers before?
[00:15:18] KC: Yeah.
[00:15:20] MB: When they’re like, did we just become best friends? Other than my other best friend, she is my soul sister. I don’t know how I connected with such a human as well as I connected with her. Everyone else, eh. I’ve known them for 17 years, but it’s on such a surface level. I’ve traveled with them. We were in Bali for two weeks. I know a little bit about them. You know what I mean? They’re weak-tie friendships.
I feel like, because only because we’re not neighbors, I don’t see them all the time, maybe I would know them better. It’s okay to have those, because then it forces me to ask the questions that carry on the conversation. It’s easy to get together with your best friend. I can get together with my best friend and sit and saying nothing and be completely content. That’s comfort zone stuff.
When we’re talking about weak-tie friendships, we’re talking the ones where you’re asking the harder questions other than like, “How was your day?” Or going into the mom routine of just talking about parenting. Socialize a little harder when it’s a week relationship.
[00:16:23] KC: Yeah. You do learn to be a better listener, and ask better questions of people. I think it’s important. I think it’s the introvert that’s pulled me out of my shell. One thing that I’ve really noticed about my weak-tie friendships, at least my case, and I think this is [inaudible 00:16:43], is that the more wider my social circle has gotten, as far as having these weak-tie friendships, and then having friends of friends and then having people that I – those social interaction. Because I met a lot of people when I was doing this as a personal blog, been invited to a lot of – would introduce me to other people, I have this really social circle, as well as my partner’s colleagues.
I mean, he’s in an industry that is huge. There’s a lot of people that we regularly socialize with, as part of that industry. All of them, all of their wives, and all of the friends he’s had a long time and their wives and children. It’s a pretty huge weak-tie circles that overlap. I have learned that you get a lot of benefit from those relationships as far as most of the things that my kids have had jobs with people in those circles, have had internships, where all I have to do is put out a message, “Hey, my son needs an internship in this industry. Who knows somebody?” I immediately get responses. I can ask for referrals for things like, accountants, or things like, I don’t know everything, basically. I have social circles that specialized –
[00:17:55] MB: To get that working opportunity, to have weak-tie friendships, for sure, for sure. When I need employment sometimes, or I need anything, I think about – of course, you think about your close people. You’re so networked with your weak-tie, because they know you want a level where they know you’re not a psycho, so they can trust you. They may not know your whole life story, but they know you’re a good person, they know you can be trusted. They feel some connection with you. They do want to reach out on some level to help you if you’re in need, or if you have something. That’s a really great insight.
[00:18:31] KC: Yeah. I think that sometimes when people know you too well, like really close friendships, then they don’t want to vouch for you, because they don’t want to be responsible. For them to come to their company, or their HR department and say, “Hey, I recommend this person. I know them through this. I don’t know them that well, though, so no pressure,” then it doesn’t feel as loaded.
[00:18:54] MB: It really does. Because if say, heaven forbid, it doesn’t work out, they feel personally responsible. Or if they make a bad impression, it looks bad on you. Sometimes that can be often the thing.
[00:19:04] KC: Yeah. I’ve had situations where close friends, or family members have asked me for jobs, or asked me for investments and things like that. I worry, because I don’t want to damage the closeness of our relationship and I don’t want to ruin something that’s really good. If it’s a weak-tie friendship, I don’t feel so much pressure and it’s easier for me to say yes or no, and not feel all kinds of feelings about it.
[00:19:27] MB: A 1000%.
[00:19:29] KC: Yeah. I know, it’s really benefited my kids. I mean, they have gotten, like I said, jobs, internships, letters of recommendation. I mean, when my daughter was going out for sororities, I put something out there saying, “Hey, these are her top three, or top five sororities. If you – an alumni of these sororities, please let me know.” I got so many letters of recommendation for her, same thing for college. It’s just amazing that you, I mean, benefit from these types of friendships that are not – I mean, they’re not super deep. It’s not like these are close friends who owe us some favor.
[00:20:04] MB: No, but it doesn’t take very much and they get it.
[00:20:07] KC: Yeah. They know it’s going to be reciprocated. If they asked me, yeah, I’d the same.
[00:20:12] MB: I like that. That’s a really good point, as to a benefit to them.
[00:20:17] KC: I mean, I know for me as an introvert, it’s not always super easy to create these types of connections. It’s easier for me –
[00:20:25] MB: Oh, I’m the same. I cringe at it, actually. I always hope that the other person is a bit more social than me, so it pulls me out of my shell. Because I got to tell you, I am – I mean, minus a margarita, I am not a naturally social person. I loathe the forced opportunities to do it. I’ve now noticed, because of the fact that I’ve forced myself and amazing things have happened, I now know that that person that’s telling myself it’s crazy is a lie, and I have to push myself.
[00:20:57] KC: Yeah, completely. I know that I – Some days, I’m just in my house all day. I don’t see anybody. I know when I’m out, it does make me feel more connected to have these interactions, even if they’re short and hey, good morning. How’s your day thing. That makes me smile. That sets the tone for my day.
I have had to get past, get out of my comfort zone, to give myself permission to make conversation with people that I see on a regular basis. I mean, it can be my neighbors, or there’s a lady that she and I walk at the same time every morning. I walk my dogs and she just walks, but we cross paths literally every single morning.
[00:21:36] MB: That’s so funny.
[00:21:37] KC: At one point, we just got to say hello to each other. Then it was, how’s your day going? It got to be a little bit more conversation now. I mean, I know about her kids and grandbabies that are on the way.
[00:21:46] MB: How fun. I love that. That’s really cool. It’s almost going to be with your walking and you don’t see her, you’re like, “Where is she? Is she okay?”
[00:21:55] KC: I wonder how she is. Is she okay? Yeah.
[00:21:57] MB: She didn’t tell me she was going on vacation. It’s at that level now. You’re like, “How did we get here?”
[00:22:03] KC: Yeah, exactly. Sometimes, we walk together for a short period and just chat.
[00:22:07] MB: You’re the [inaudible 00:22:08].
[00:22:08] KC: I know. It’s been nice, because she tells me things. She’s been living in this neighborhood for, I want to say, 35 years. I’ve only been here four years. She tells me things that are going on around the neighborhood, like construction projects.
[00:22:21] MB: She knows what’s up about the neighborhood?
[00:22:22] KC: She’s got the tee on the neighborhood. She gives me all the info.
[00:22:25] MB: Girl, you’re connected.
[00:22:26] KC: She’s my source.
[00:22:28] MB: Yeah, she’s the source.
[00:22:28] KC: She’s my source.
[00:22:29] MB: Oh, man.
[00:22:30] KC: I know, for me, I have to shift my attitude a little bit, because I don’t really always welcome a small talk. If I’m alone, like I’m in an Uber, I’m at a coffee shop, I’m on my phone scrolling. I put my headphones in. I don’t welcome it. People have told me that I don’t always look super approachable. I guess, I have that resting bitch face.
[00:22:52] MB: Is that not like the biggest flex you have? You’re like, “Thank you. It took me years to get people to not want to talk to me. Now I’ve hit it. Thank you. Thank you for letting me know that what I’m trying to put out there is being seen.” You’re like, mission accomplished.
[00:23:08] KC: Goal achieved. I unlocked the next level.
[00:23:11] MB: I’m so cold and unapproachable and it’s probably my biggest flex. At the same, time, I hate that. Because when somebody is so nice to me, it’s such a great part of my day, and it causes me to want to do it to other people. I don’t want to talk to anyone and I’m trying to put that out into the world, then the Starbucks bar usage just insists on being super friendly. Well, fine. I guess, I’ll just be sunny today. Then I end up talking to people on my soul feels better.
[00:23:40] KC: Of course. You always do, even though if you’re not in the mood for it.
[00:23:43] MB: Yeah. The natural Megan, no.
[00:23:45] KC: No. Not a chatter. Me neither.
[00:23:47] MB: I am ashamed of us.
[00:23:50] KC: I follow this account. It’s very popular. I’m sure most of our listeners know what I’m talking about. It’s called Humans in New York.
[00:23:56] MB: No. I’ve never heard of it. I’m searching it now.
[00:23:58] KC: Oh, my God. It’s like, they have books. I have one of the books. My sister bought it for me. Then there’s millions and millions of followers. This guy goes around New York, and he approaches people and asks them to tell him a story about their life. They’re always the most interesting. I mean, I’m addicted to it.
[00:24:14] MB: Oh, I would be too. New York’s most interesting place in the universe. This is fun.
[00:24:18] KC: I mean, the stories he gets from total strangers make me laugh, make me cry, make me feel so attached to their – I mean, I want to know more. I want to meet this person. That has really changed my perspective on just small talking with total strangers, because I know, I used to especially an Uber driver, or somebody would say, “Hey, how’s your day?” I’d be like, “Oh, please. Just don’t talk to me. Why are you talking to me?”
Now, I do talk back. You find connections with people that you never would have expected in a million years. You find some same level, deeper human interface thing that makes you feel like, we’re all just going through the same stuff. We’re also interconnected. I think that helps us to be more compassionate people.
[00:25:05] MB: A 1000%. There’s five people in the whole universe who are aware that we’re all just getting further and further disconnected, because we’re getting deeper and deeper into our phones and into social connection, rather than actual connection. They’re trying to wake us up. They found people, like humans – what is it? Humans in New York? Then, it slowly made you realize like, “Oh, wow.” If I would just stop and not feel weird to ask somebody about their –
I would learn. We’re all supposed to connect in a way, but yet, we’re all programmed now to disconnect and it’s weird to talk to strangers, or it’s weird – you know what I mean? How more enriched is that one person going to be when he leaves? Is it a he?
[00:25:48] KC: Yeah, it’s a he. His name is Brandon.
[00:25:49] MB: When he leaves this earth, how much more enriched and fulfilled is he going to be, because he learned so much about so many walks of life of people? We just are so consumed in ourselves and what everybody else is doing socially. We don’t even realize how many amazing stories we can grow from are literally standing around us.
[00:26:10] KC: When we tend to be super self-absorbed. That’s our nature of a human being to be super self-absorbed and to think, “Oh, poor me. This is happening to me. That’s happening to me.”
[00:26:23] MB: Or when other people are thinking of us and they’re not actually thinking of us at all.
[00:26:29] KC: When you allow yourself to have these conversations, not just like, “Hey, the weather’s crazy today.” “Yeah, sure.” It’s a little bit more meaningful.
[00:26:36] MB: Right. Deeper connection than that. Yeah.
[00:26:39] KC: Right. A little bit more meaningful conversation. Really, again, empathy, compassion, worldview. It changes the way that you’re looking at your own problems, because you feel less alone. I mean, the study has said that people are happier, and I can see why that would be. When you and I had that warehouse in Costa Mesa off of – you know what I’m talking about.
[00:27:00] MB: I just drove there, past there the other day.
[00:27:02] KC: Really?
[00:27:04] MB: We only used to have a pleaser. I loved it. Yeah.
[00:27:06] KC: Remember, they have that little cafe and you or I, one of the two of us would go get lunch there. Then the little man that owns that cafe would tell you a little bit about his life while you’re waiting for the sandwich. I knew his daughter was going to college in San Francisco and it was so expensive. I mean, we would have these little parent to parent conversations. It was just a nice little connection a nice little get out of my head for a few minutes kind of a thing.
[00:27:30] MB: I wonder if he’s still there. Yeah. It was. It was a two-second conversation with this total stranger. It was little bits and pieces consistently every day that add up to a weak-tie friendship.
[00:27:45] KC: Yeah. No, it does. The reason that it does is because, I mean, if your sandwich isn’t right, takes a little bit longer.
[00:27:52] MB: I always heated my bread toasted, so he had – There was a mandatory five-minute standing timeframe there. He had to pour our cokes. It was like, there was no get in, get out. Minus, we’ll have a pleasant conversation. I think I really brought my phone, because I knew I was going to get talked to, and I was fine with it. Because I don’t want to also be rude. When someone’s trying to connect with me, I’m also not the person to try and push that connection away. I want to invite it. I’m not wanting to be like, on my face, all when we talked about doesn’t read, “Hey, let’s be besties.” If someone is going to go out of their way to do something that hey, heck, I’m trying to do myself, I will put that disconnect away, whatever that is, unless it’s my kid yelling at me or something, to try and find a connection with that person.
Because they’re trying. That’s super. Oh, man. It’s happened to me before, where I’ve put myself out there rarely, and the person’s so involved in clearly not their work, whatever is happening. I’m like, “Oh, okay.” I feel like, I hate to say it, but it can be where you live can really affect that too, a lot of people. There’s more people. They’re less social in [inaudible 00:29:02].
[00:29:03] KC: Here in California, people tend to take it as very obtrusive to just speak to them unexpectedly, or –
[00:29:09] MB: Oh, my gosh.
[00:29:10] KC: It can be.
[00:29:10] MB: I’ll leave California, like I live in Ventura. Then going down back to where I’m from, and Orange County, all that area, such a different way of how people treat people there.
[00:29:21] KC: Oh, yeah. Big time.
[00:29:22] MB: I’m just like, “Dang.”
[00:29:23] KC: I will tell you, that I was living in Newport Beach, California for many, many, many years. The social interactions there are bare minimum.
[00:29:33] MB: If any.
[00:29:34] KC: I mean, social interactions with the guy that makes your sandwich, or the barista, or whatever. People are so isolated. If you talk to them, they’re like, “Oh, my God. Why are you?” When I moved to Dakota –
[00:29:44] MB: Whatever it is, it stinks, because how are you supposed to make any new friends that way?
[00:29:48] KC: Yeah. I know.
[00:29:49] MB: No one wants to talk to anyone. How am I supposed to know anyone?
[00:29:52] KC: I moved to South County. When I lived in Newport Beach, we live next to the exact same couple for the seven years that I lived in that house, I never spoke to them, not ever, not once.
[00:30:03] MB: No way. Really?
[00:30:03] KC: Because, we would drive in down our driveways to our sub-training garages. We would never see each other, never speak to each other.
[00:30:09] MB: What’s that about?
[00:30:10] KC: I don’t know. One time I found the neighbor’s cat and I went – it was three doors down. Gabby and I went to return the cat. The lady was so upset that we had rang her doorbell. She was like, “This is a no solicitation.” I was like, “I found your cat.” She was like, “Oh, sorry. Here, give it to me.” It was very weird. I moved to South County. Then the first month that we had this house, every single neighbor on our street stopped by to introduce themselves to say hello. Asked if we needed anything. We got brought cookies. We got invited to someone’s kid’s birthday party. It was night and day difference. Night and day.
[00:30:45] MB: Yeah. That that can really affect how many – what your success rate on having any weak-tie friendships.
[00:30:53] KC: You’re forced to be on the kids talk – like your kids talk –
[00:30:56] MB: Age away, or something. Yeah.
[00:30:58] KC: Or sports. I’m going to say, I’m just going to say the city, those Newport moms, or whatever, they’ll be nice to you if you’re on in the same girl scout troop and you also donated the same amount of money, or whatever. You have to go through these invisible rings of fire of approval, before you even get a hello.
[00:31:18] KC: In Newport, we called them the momfia, because they are so – I had moms who would not even speak to me. Even if I spoke to them, they would dismiss me, until they saw where I lived. I think I posted a party for the kids. They saw where I lived. Then suddenly, they want to be besties. I was like, “Girl, last week, you wouldn’t even talk to me.” I don’t go around talking with what I have and who my partner is and this and that. Because it’s such –
[00:31:48] MB: They’re known for, it’s okay with that like that. That’s just, they’re not willing, they don’t care to change, because that’s just what’s up. It’s like, man, I’m sorry. If you live in certain areas where it’s harder to make weak-tie friendships, because people are just so trained –
[00:32:00] KC: Absorbed in themselves.
[00:32:01] MB: – weirdly to think, oh, man. Heaven forbid, a woman, a barista guy says something to a woman and like, “Oh, he’s instantly hitting on you.” You know what I mean? There’s no way for certain people to win, because of these perceptions that people have, that they’ve been trained to have. It’s like, they just stay silent. Don’t socialize with anyone.
[00:32:21] KC: When you do have those little interactions with your neighbors, with the people who are in the service industry that you go to every day, imagine how many less Karens there would be in the world if you had a little bit of knowledge about that person, if you guys had talked about some shared interest, or something, because you’re not going to be horribly rude and yell at somebody who you have a weak-tie friendship.
I mean, yeah. I’ve had neighbors come and tell us off we’re leaving our garbage cans out a day after the pickup day, because we were out of town or whatever, not here in this neighborhood. They would bring them in for me. They wouldn’t even say anything. When you have that friendly interaction, you’re much less likely to jump to conclusions about who that person is, or what they’re thinking, or what their intentions were, and think it’s all negative. That’s, I think, where some of that Karen behavior comes in, they assume that your intentions are bad.
When you know the people that you interact with on a daily basis, you’re going to be so much more compassionate to them and you’re going to have more patience and you’re going to be a better person. It’s better all-around.
[00:33:19] MB: So weird how as adults – I guess, just this life is just a wheel of retraining ourselves how to be good people. Because these are all things we teach ourselves. We are taught as children. We all think we teach our teach our children, yet –
[00:33:32] KC: Think of Kelsey.
[00:33:34] MB: Here are these things, like they’re not the first time of being told to not make an ass out of you and me to like, you know what I mean?
[00:33:40] KC: Yeah. Think of someone, like a little kid like Kensey, four-years-old. She is going to be friends with anybody who talks to her. I mean, you take her to the park and some little kid has a cute toy that she likes, or says hi to her, or whatever, besties immediately. Immediate bestie.
[00:33:57] MB: There’s hardly any bias going into it. Everyone’s just cool with everyone. The older you get, the harder it is to just accept people for who they are and just talk to people. It doesn’t mean you have to go on a fishing trip after this. Just go talk to someone. Find out something new about life and maybe get out of your own head for two seconds and your own world for two seconds. You don’t have to get super hardcore about it. You don’t have to go on a river trip together.
[00:34:26] KC: I know that it does not come easy to every adult. It came easy maybe to us when we were kids, but we get out of it and it’s no longer easy.
[00:34:33] MB: There’s ways to go about that though. I use my kids. It’s easy for me to make friends, because I have to do playdates and gymnastics lessons. Join a book club.
[00:34:43] KC: If you don’t have kids, take your dog to the dog park. The dog park people here in my neighborhood, they chat, they get together, they do social things.
[00:34:52] MB: What are you going to do? You’re staring at your dog, making sure it’s not attacking another dog.
[00:34:57] KC: It’s easy for someone to make that conversation and say, “Oh, what kind of dog is that? How long have you had it? What’s its name?” You have a shared interest, because you’re already at the dog park. Do a volunteer thing, that I’m a court advocate for foster kids. In the Casa group that I’m in, we all support each other. We have little Casa nights, where we can talk about our stuff that’s going on with our foster youth. We can talk about things that we have questions about. We get to know each other a little bit socially. Those are weak-tie friendships, but they’re people who are going through the same thing I’m going through, so it’s very helpful.
[00:35:30] MB: Yeah. There’s so many ways to just be involved in your community, or do stuff you like, and actually, and get to know other people. That is like, you’re standing in the same general area. You might as well talk to someone. Even if you personally don’t talk to someone, if you physically plant your body in an area where other people are, there’s a chance somebody is a little bit –
[00:35:53] KC: Going to talk to you.
[00:35:54] MB: Will talk to you. That’s great. That’s all you need. You just need the start for you to let it flow. The more you practice that, the better you’ll get at it and it’ll feel less weird and you’ll feel like you sound less weird. Because a lot of people are still very involved in their own selves, like, “Oh, man. Am I sounding as socially awkward as I’m feeling right now?”
[00:36:16] KC: Oh, I do that thing where the guy at the movie theater says, “Enjoy your movie.” I say, “You too.”
[00:36:22] MB: Oh, every day.
[00:36:23] KC: Then I sit through the whole movie like, “What did I say?”
[00:36:26] MB: Six days a week, I work out at the gym. Six days a week I am told, “Enjoy your workout.” Six days a week I say, “You to.” Six days a week, I think about it for at least an hour and I go, “He’s not even working out. He’s at the front desk.” You know what? I’m not the only one who’s done that. That’s what I tell myself. I’m not the only weirdo that said, “You too,” that work to the guy at the front, just like you got with the movie. No, he’s not seeing [inaudible 00:36:50].
[00:36:51] KC: Or the front, the gate agent at the airport that says, “Have a good flight.” You say, “You too.” He’s not going anywhere. He’s not going anywhere.
[00:36:56] MB: Oh, God bless TikTok. Because I felt so alone in the world, then I saw some joke about that, like about, “Oh, you too.” They’re like, thinks about it for an hour and I’m like, “Oh, I’m not alone.” We all just want to feel less alone about the weird things we do, because here’s the thing, we’re all weird.
[00:37:14] KC: We’re all weird. Right.
[00:37:14] MB: We’re all weird. We don’t feel we sound weird, but you don’t. No one’s thinking about also, that you sound weird. They’re listening to whatever story you’re telling them. Get over yourself and relax.
[00:37:26] KC: I know for me, I’m less awkward when someone gives me a job to do. If I’m in a volunteer situation, I always ask to sit at the front table, whether that was something that at the school, or community garden, or whatever. If I have a job to do, especially a job where I have to interact, I’m selling raffle tickets, I’m pointing people in –
[00:37:45] MB: Or you have to give somebody a name tag and you have to call out their name. Well, yeah.
[00:37:49] KC: I’m way less awkward. Way less awkward. I know, my daughter is the same. My older daughter is the same as me. She’s very introverted, not super social. When she first moved to LA, she didn’t easily make friends at her new school. She was by herself living in LA going to college. She called me one day and she was like, “Mom, I don’t know how to make friends. I knew all my friends in fourth grade.”
[00:38:11] MB: I remember this. You said about her –
[00:38:15] KC: Compliment them on something. Anything. Just find something and tell them –
[00:38:19] MB: I think, it was also there when you received a call and it worked.
[00:38:22] KC: Yeah. She said, “Mom, I did it. I told her I loved her bracelet.”
[00:38:26] MB: I was like, I felt that, because I was like, I’m a full-blown adult and I didn’t move anywhere. I’m just a full-blown adult, not at school with my girlfriends all the time. I needed that reminder of oh, how do you go about starting a conversation with someone you don’t know if you’re an introvert?
[00:38:41] KC: A compliment is the easiest way.
[00:38:43] MB: If it makes you cringey inside. You can feel your skin crawl just thinking about doing it. I bet you, I know Sam. I bet you, it took her a lot of courage and a lot of self-pep talk to even –
[00:38:53] KC: She was so proud of herself.
[00:38:55] MB: Because she was so happy.
[00:38:57] KC: She was so proud of herself. I told her, a compliment is the easiest way, because there’s an obvious follow-up question. If you say, “Oh, my God. I love your shoes.” They say, “Thank you.” You can say, “Where did you get them? Are they new? Are they still available?” You can start a whole conversation about that compliment.
[00:39:12] MB: You can. I also think of Regina George every time I compliment. I’m like, she ruined the one easy thing for anyone to do, because it shouldn’t be malicious. Maybe point five times out of 10, it is. It’s never really.
[00:39:29] KC: Don’t be a Regina George.
[00:39:30] MB: Go to the gym. I love their outfit. I’ll compliment their pants. One time out of 10, I’ll get this look like I literally told them their pants were trash. I’m just like, “What did I do?” Instantly, I was telling her that I also wanted to sleep with her boyfriend. I’m like, “I just thought your pants were.” All right. Or you give them a nice look. Oh, you smile at someone. That could be –
[00:39:52] KC: It’s aggressive. Smiling is too aggressive.
[00:39:56] MB: Oh, okay, I’m so sorry. I just thought you were nice. I don’t want to sleep with you, your husband. I don’t want any of your life. I just thought you have nice hair. We got to a weird place. I don’t know where we all got to, but where we’re at right now, we got to untrain that. I see it a lot in the female perspective, where sometimes they’ll just be that woman who just never had girlfriends, or lived in the wrong area and just doesn’t know how to make weak-tie friendships begin, that they’re just instantly – you just can’t penetrate that.
I feel for that, because not only does it keep them from getting that friendship started. It also constrains us that sometimes it can – It’s not always a positive thing, and it should always be a positive thing. Communicate with a human on any level, where it’s not insulting them, or hurting them. It should be perceived as a positive thing. Now, we’re not there.
[00:40:51] KC: I know, it was a quite a while ago, but I was in a public park. I think Alex had gone to use the restroom and I was waiting for him. This stranger came up to me and told me. It was very clear. It was a man. It was very clear, they were not hitting on me. He was like, “The color of your hair is so pretty. It so complements your skin tone.” I said, “Thank you so much.” He said, “I don’t know if it’s natural or not. If it’s not, tell your hairstylist, she’s doing a fantastic job.”
[00:41:15] MB: I love that.
[00:41:17] KC: I was just like, “Thank you so much.” Then he just walked away. That was the whole interaction. He wasn’t trying to be friends with me. He wasn’t hitting on me. He was just offering me a genuine compliment. I took that to heart, because it really changed my whole day. It gave me so much confidence that I thought to myself, “Okay, from now on, if I see someone in public, and I think whatever they’re doing kicks ass is awesome. Whatever. I will compliment them, even though I’m uncomfortable doing it, because I know what a difference it made for me to hear that.”
Now, I will come up. I mean, sometimes Alex is like, “Please, honey.” Sometimes I come up to people and [inaudible 00:41:52]. I’m like, “Your shoes are so cute. I just had to tell you that.” Or someone, who I think their hair color is great, or their makeup looks amazing that day, whatever it is, I compliment people. I’ve had so many. It’s usually women that I compliment. I’ve had so many women, their whole face suddenly changes. They brighten up, huge smile. You just know, they needed to hear that.
Maybe they were having a bad day, or maybe just nobody had complimented them in a while that wasn’t a skeezy guy. It changes the whole day for them. I know, it did for me. Especially if we’re out in public and I see a woman by herself and she looks a little uncomfortable, maybe she’s on her phone, I will definitely, if I have something genuine. I don’t try to make it up.
[00:42:37] MB: Right. If it’s a hot mess, I’m not going to be like, “I love your shoes.” Because you can also tell when it’s genuine. Even if the person has literally nothing to gain. If it’s not genuine, it will be perceived as –
[00:42:52] KC: Yeah, it has to be real. If you come up to someone – Someone had a really cool short haircut the other day, and I come up to them and I told them, “Your haircut looks so good on you. I’ve always wondered what I’d look like with short hair, but I don’t have the guts to cut my hair off. I wish I did, because it looks amazing on you. Maybe you just motivated me to cut my hair.” They were just so happy to hear that. Like, “Oh, my gosh. Thank you.”
I think, those are the little things that – it doesn’t cost us anything to compliment another woman. It just lifts them up. It gives them a brighter day. That might not qualify as a weak-tie friendship, but it’s this short social interaction.
[00:43:29] MB: It’s the domino that started the dominoes of hopefully, everybody else doing it. Because I had a very similar story. It wasn’t a man. It was a woman who came up and complimented me at the gym. I’ve been working hard for months. She’s like, “I’ve been watching you for months,” and she complimented a part of my body. I could tell it was genuine. Then she just walked away. I was like, “Who is this angel who literally just made my year?”
I’m not kidding you, the next day, the person who I follow on social media who also works out, but she’s somebody who I’m aspiring to look like body-wise. I saw her. I was like, never in a million years if this woman beforehand the day before could you not had not come up to me, I would have never talked to her. I put myself out there, walked up to her, told her how much, what she does on social media and her working out makes a difference in my personal life and how much it inspires me, it made the girl cry, because she was just so moved by the fact that somebody who had nothing to gain –
I could have walked right past her and not said anything, but it made her day. I just feel like, it’s a domino effect. If you get complimented like that where it feels genuine, the other person has nothing to gain. It just is like, who are you, this angel out of nowhere? Then you feel so good that you want to not only feel that way, but you want someone else to feel that way. You can’t help, but want to make someone feel the way you just felt, because it is so unexpected and so not normal.
[00:45:04] KC: It’s just fully positive. It’s just fully positive. Doesn’t cost you a thing.
[00:45:08] MB: It’s so game changing. It changes everything. Those moments can sometimes change the course of someone’s –
[00:45:15] KC: You never know what someone’s going through. Something so small.
[00:45:18] MB: Those words could save someone. Oh, my gosh. They could be going there in a really dark place and you have no idea and you doing what you’re saying what you just said, saved them from a very dark place.
[00:45:29] KC: They could be really struggling with body dysmorphia. They could be struggling with self-image issues. They could be struggling just with something personal. For you to just take a little moment to compliment them, one of my favorite people to compliment is when I see a parent out with little ones, and they are obviously overwhelmed, but they are doing their stuff and they’re at the grocery store in a restaurant just trying to get through it.
[00:45:54] MB: Because you have four kids.
[00:45:56] KC: I have been there.
[00:45:58] MB: That were very close in age and you did it on your own. I get that. You’re like Hunger Games, flying in the air. You’re like District 11. Making all your game symbol. I feel you.
[00:46:11] KC: I’ve been in those war trenches with four little ones and I had to take them with me everywhere I went, because I was a single parent.
[00:46:17] MB: There’s no babysitter. There was no keeping half of the crew at home. You have to take all of them with you all the time.
[00:46:22] KC: Yeah. I couldn’t wait for my husband to get home from work, so that I could go grocery store. I had to go with all four kids. I had so many people make rude comments to me. Not that my kids were misbehaving, but about how many kids I had and how close in age they look.
[00:46:36] MB: Are you serious?
[00:46:37] KC: Oh, yeah. I had people ask me, “Well, you know what birth control is for right?” Or, “Are you having more?” It was so rude and so unnecessary. I mean, so I always go out of my way when I see a mom, or a dad in public, especially in restaurants. I know how hard it is to take kids to a restaurant.
[00:46:55] MB: Oh, want the restaurant. I don’t know. You hear them even calling, what’s the point? Yeah.
[00:47:01] KC: Yeah. Alex and I go out to eat a lot and sometimes we’re seated next to families with little ones and they’re loud. The parents are always like, “I’m so sorry.” I bet, you know what? Between us, we have seven kids. This is nothing. They’re doing great. You guys are doing great. They’re always so relieved to hear that, because they see a couple sit down, older a couple or whatever sit down and –
[00:47:22] MB: You travel a lot. Do you ever see parents with younger kids trying to make that work?
[00:47:28] KC: Yeah. Or in a hotel pool, trying to get their kids to stop splashing and having a great –
[00:47:33] MB: Whenever you have to have a shared space with strangers –
[00:47:36] KC: You’re so subconscious.
[00:47:38] MB: Very rarely do I see a parent so selfishly self-absorbed with whatever’s going on that they’re not also cringy and aware of what they’re doing to others. You almost care more about what the strangers are thinking and how to make their situation more comfortable than you care about your kid’s personal needs at that moment. Because you just think that everyone’s thinking the worst of you.
When you get someone like you coming up saying something like that, it’s like, oh, permission to be human now. Thank you. Because you get it. There are a lot of people who by choice, that’s totally okay. Have never had kids, or been around kids and choose not to and they just hate it. It’s annoying. I’m sorry.
[00:48:17] KC: Yeah. We rented a pool cabana the other weekend at the beach club. We invited the adult kids to come and spend the day with us at the pool cabana. The cabana next to us had little kids. They apologized over and over, because their kids were running around with popsicles, jumping in the pool and you pay. It’s not cheap to get a pool cabana for the day of the club. It’s pricey. They were like, “We’re so sorry. Are you guys are trying to relax and they’re so loud?”
I told the mom. I was like, these are happy noises. We never chastise happy noises. We got seven kids and three grandkids, happy noises our music to our ears. Don’t even worry about it. She was trying so hard. When kids are at a pool, and they just want to have so much fun, and you’re trying to shush them. It’s not reasonable. I remember that. It’s hard, because at the same time, the parent me, whatever you, when you were – They’ve also paid for that experience and that time. Their kids are just being kids. They’re going to look back at those moments and go, “Mom said shush 20,000 times today.”
They deserve to be kids, but it’s hard when it’s a shared space. Where is that line of hopefully, you’ve taught your kids throughout the course of just their life to just be generally respectful in those moments. My girls know, and even my four-year-old knows that she can’t just go run around and be crazy in other people’s personal space, just because through social cues, interaction and taking them out from time to time and out to dinner, they know they can’t jump up and down on the seats and stuff like that. If they were to and I’ve told them 20 times, they’re not, I would hope that the person next to me is like you, where they get it. Where they can hear that I’ve tried.
There’s always the mom, sometimes just was pretending they don’t see it, it’s like, they’re not even trying to be cool or others. Yeah, it’s hard. You want to be around people that get you, which is why we always tend to do the close-knit friendships. The weak-tie friendships are the ones that push us as human beings to be more socially understanding, and more socially well rounded, so that when we come up in these moments, and we’re exposed to things that we’re maybe not necessarily familiar with kids being crazy next to us, we’re not going to react in a way, where it’s super off-putting. We’ve been around all walks of life. Because maybe you’ve never had kids, but through volunteer work, you’ve met a woman with five kids, and she’s single. All of a sudden, you’re exposed to this new walk of life.
Well, you might have a new perspective on that life, if you’ve all of a sudden, you’re now sitting next to in a restaurant, another couple with a bunch of kids. You’re like, “Okay, I get it.” Because I talked to Jennifer and she gets – Now I get that. Just opening yourself up can expose you to different sides of life and make you just a more well-rounded, better person.
[00:51:10] MB: You get a much wider worldview, when you have a lot of these weak-tie friendships. I think, one of the greatest values of weak-tie friendships is if you’re going through something in your life that is somewhat temporary, maybe it’s an illness, maybe it’s a caregiving situation, maybe it’s something stressful like that, where you can start to feel everyone in your life is sick of hearing about it. Okay, we know you’re sick, or we know you’re dealing with this, but can we talk about something else?
[00:51:35] KC: Feel like you need somebody.
[00:51:37] MB: Can we please, just once, talk about, I don’t know, The Bachelor or something. That’s why support groups that are focused on that one thing, and you may never see those people outside of that environment, or outside of that online forum, or whatever it is that gets you through it, but a place where you can safely talk about what you’re going through with people who are also going through the same thing. You don’t need to have these lifelong friendships from this situation. Having someone who understands the struggle that you’re going through for that period of time, and can listen to it at length, is a great – lifts the burden on our close friends and family members.
[00:52:12] KC: Their first season in your life for a purpose. Also, they’re also doing the same thing, so it’s not a burden to them. It’s a safe space to do it in, because I mean, therapy is always good for all this. You should just save this all for the therapy. If you’re in a space where you’re all connecting based on death, or something like that, there are support groups for if you just lost a spouse –
[00:52:36] MB: If you lost someone.
[00:52:37] KC: If you just lost someone close to you, there are places where you can specifically go and speak your story and feel safe to do that whenever, or just when you’re in that dark place, talk about it, where it’s not going to feel such a burden to anyone else, but you still have a connection.
[00:52:54] MB: Right. I mean, I think everyone understands AA and NA and the need for those support group meetings, because you’re going through recovery. You go through recovery for a lot of things in your life, not just substance abuse. You go through recovery if you lose someone. You go through recovery if you have an ill child, or an ill family member that you’re caring for. You go through recovery for a lot of different things. Maybe you’ve just got divorced. That’s a grieving process. Maybe you had something major happen in your life.
It doesn’t even have to be such a downer. It could be maybe you’re shifting careers. There are support groups for women who are transitioning out of different careers and entrepreneurial stuff. There are so many groups that are specific for one part of your life.
[00:53:44] KC: Yeah. Something you can’t do alone, but it’s not really anyone else’s –
[00:53:48] MB: You don’t want to burden your best friend by talking about your divorce for the next six months. She is there for you. She also has her own life and interests and other things that you – And helps your brain. In my opinion, at least it helps my brain to compartmentalize my life a little bit, to be able to take something that I’m really struggling with, and sometimes put it in a box and talk about The Bachelor, or whatever. Something fluffy, because it gets me out of that constant monologue that’s happening in my brain on Tuesdays, when I’m at the support group from four to five, I’m going to pour all that out what I’m feeling about this one thing.
Then for the rest of the week, if people ask me about it, I’ll answer them, but I’m going to be able to talk about my work. I’m going to be able to talk about a show I’m watching. I want to be able to talk about whatever else interests you, so that you don’t feel that is the only thing in your life. Because that’s not healthy either.
[00:54:42] KC: No. I mean, you have to think of your life’s problems sometimes as rocks and the size of the rock matters. You can hold a little pebble, but you can’t hold a mountain size boulder for very long on your own. If you know that you have a boulder in front of you, like divorce or your spouse, or someone just got cancer, or something heavy that’s going to require you talking about it more than once, then you need to put that into an area where it’s going to help you and it’s going to help, because you can’t hold that boulder alone.
No one expects you to. Also, no one’s going to step and be like – It’s a lot. You need to be in an area, where you’ve – because here’s the thing is if you talk about it to the same person over and over and over again, and yet at the end of the conversation, you still feel it’s not out of your system, that’s your sign that you’re not talking to the right person.
[00:55:36] MB: Right. Yeah, totally.
[00:55:38] KC: You’re just a wheel and it’s not getting you anywhere.
[00:55:41] MB: When my kids were small, I was part of the group of mothers of preschoolers. That was an outlet for me to be able to talk about [inaudible 00:55:48]. For them to be able to say, yeah, I know it’s normal for them to color on the wall. It’s normal for your house to look like a bomb went off. You’re not the only one.
[00:55:55] KC: Oh, yeah. Because you told stories to other people and they look at you. I’ve told those stories of being thrown up, or crowns on the wall, and they’re just like, they A, have nothing to deliver to it, the conversation. B, are horrified that that’s even a possibility in this world. You’re like, “Well, this was not directed [inaudible 00:56:11] each tribe.” It doesn’t always have to be the tribe that you’ve had since kindergarten. It can just be people that are going in the same crazy wheel you are right now.
[00:56:19] MB: Yeah. I mean, when I was going through my divorce, that was in 2002, so chat rooms were really big at the time. I was in a divorce chat room where we gave each other advice and it was a place to vent. A lot of the women on the – even some of the men on there, gave me some amazing advice for legally, what – I had no idea. I’d never been through a divorce before. I’m not a lawyer. I was young. I didn’t know what I was doing. Make sure you do this. Make sure you document this. Make sure.
All of that helped me tremendously. It’s stuff that I would have had to hire and I couldn’t afford high-power attorney, but that’s the advice I was getting that people were sharing with me. There are so many valuable weak-tie relationships, whether they’re online or in person.
[00:57:01] KC: Yeah. I’m sure there’s some really close friendships in Facebook groups of people who have literally never met face to face, but they talk about the same thing all the time. You know what I mean? Just, maybe it’s because we live in this world that’s still virtual. You can have social, or weak-tie friendships with people you haven’t actually physically seen.
[00:57:20] MB: Absolutely.
[00:57:23] KC: I do social media and I have a girl who I help run her hair salon in Colorado. I’ve literally never met her face to face, but because I’ve helped her for the last almost year now. We’ve had a couple Zoom conversations and I run her life a little bit on the work world. She’s a a very weak-tie friendship that is almost circling under this weird friendship, but I’ve never met her in real life. I’ve never met her. I know what she looks like, but we’re just social weak-tie friends. It doesn’t have to be a real-life friendship. There’s probably a lot of people out there that have social weak-tie friendships that are just have to come out.
[00:57:59] MB: I think that’s very healthy. In 2021, honestly, loneliness is a choice that you’re making, because there are so many opportunities for social interaction online. If you live somewhere really rural, or volunteer opportunities, we have an amazing community garden here, that’s city run, that you can go and volunteer at. That’s something where you’re working alongside other people, so you’re going to have conversations.
[00:58:24] KC: It’s very easy to find ways to connect with the people in the world around you. If you are choosing not to, you’re very much choosing not to at this –
[00:58:32] MB: Absolutely.
[00:58:33] KC: It’s okay. You don’t have to be like – That’s just you needing to have a moment with yourself to realize that, “Okay, I am the reason I don’t have any weak-tie friendships, because I’m pushing the opportunities to see those away.” Maybe you only have one, but it’s only the same guy that makes your coffee every morning. It’s a good start. It’s like, that’s just because you get coffee every morning, you make that choice to get the coffee. Just like you’re making the choice to not go out and do other things.
[00:59:00] MB: That’s an opportunity. If you’re very uncomfortable with the interaction, that’s an opportunity for you to be able to make small talk with someone that you see every day. It’s a safe space. Ask them how their day is going. Ask them. Yeah, are they in school? Is this the only job? Ask them questions that aren’t intrusive.
[00:59:19] KC: You’ll be surprised at how open people are, I think.
[00:59:22] MB: From an introvert’s perspective and you can probably agree, when you’re first starting out, you’ll be surprised at how much of a badass you feel afterwards. You’re like, “I just asked a stranger I don’t know, four questions. I’m going to do five.” It’s almost that push to be like, “Oh, I lived to tell the tale.” It was scary and I lived through it and I now know Michael just a little bit more.
It’s cool to feel you can do that, because it’s almost like getting on the high-dive and jumping off for the first time. You straight up think, you’re going to die. Then when you do it, you’re like, “I could probably do that again. I can probably talk to that person over there, or tell that person.” Because you know when you like someone’s shoes, but you’re making the choice to tell that person or not. I can probably tell that person today I like their shoes, you know what I mean? It’s almost once you do it, it’s a little flex to do it again.
Start wherever you feel you have a good place to start with. If you see that person every day, you can ask basic questions, because you’re not going to just turn around and find someone behind you and just start talking maybe.
[01:00:29] KC: No. Find somewhere you feel safe and comfortable that you go to on a regular basis, whether that be at your job, or the same coffee shop, or at the library, the pharmacy, someone you see on a regular basis, the same person. Start up a little conversation just by asking them a question about themselves, or something. That will give you the competence you need for the next step, which is maybe looking into something like a volunteer opportunity.
Or if you have an interest, I’m sure there’s clubs online and in your area for that specific interest. Just tell yourself, you’re going to go one time. You’re going to go one time, and you’re going to talk to at least one person. It doesn’t need to be a long conversation, you don’t need to tell them your whole life story. Just have one interaction. If you can get through that, then then you can go back if you got something out of it.
[01:01:12] MB: If you get a negative response, remind yourself, it’s not everybody, because sometimes people are like, “I’m going to talk to that person today,” and that person was the wrong person to talk to. Then you just think, the world’s like that. No, you got to treat it like a big diagnosis in your body. You’re going to go to one specialist, you’re going to go to four. Try it again, see how it goes. Because I promise you, the next person might actually be really nice. I have talked to people who are just absolutely terrible people. I’m like, “Okay.” You have to remind yourself, the world isn’t like that. Some people just are like that, and that’s okay. You just gotta keep trying. Just try a little bit, especially if they’re on the clock, they’re not going to be rude to you. Talk to the Starbucks dude, because straight up, they will not be rude to you. They will not get written up, because you were weird and asked how their kid’s college, whatever. You know what I mean?
Start with the people who are who are legally forced to be nice to you. That’s a good place to start. It’s not even about that connection. It’s about practicing the conversation at that point for the real actual person, because they’re getting paid to be nice to you.
[01:02:25] KC: Exactly.
[01:02:26] MB: That’s a good point.
[01:02:29] KC: If you don’t know even where to start on a conversation, I find at a coffee shop, or a restaurant, I always ask the server what their favorite thing is on the menu. They tend to not answer with a one-word answer. They tend to tell me what their favorite thing is, why it’s their favorite thing, what’s also the most popular thing on the menu. They usually give a little bit of background, which will lead you to the next question you can ask them.
[01:02:52] MB: The unlucky one that gets the, “I’m new. I have absolutely no idea.” I’m like, “Okay. If you were me, what would you get?” Here I am, trying harder than I thought I was going to try right now. Yeah, that’s a good point. Just any basic starter conversation, just to practice the feel of having a connection with someone who you may have not already been forced to have a connection with. Is a co-worker a weak-tie connection? Weak-tie friendship?
[01:03:22] KC: Yeah. If you don’t see your co-workers outside of work, I would call those weak-tie friendships. Those are people that you do have a great opportunity to get to know better. Even if you work remotely. I mean, my whole team –
[01:03:32] MB: That’s probably the best place to practice those things, because you’re all standing there and hanging out and having to be there. You might as well practice social skills there.
[01:03:40] KC: Right. If you’re on a Zoom, and someone’s cat is in the background, ask them about it. It’s an easy conversation starter. People love to talk about their kids and their pets. If you see pictures on their desk, ask them about it.
[01:03:53] MB: On a Zoom conversation yesterday, where the woman I’d never met her in my life, she had – the Tangle, the lantern scene in the background. Instantly, two seconds. I was like, “I love your background.” I could not tell her, but I feel I knew her based on her background. I could tell by her body, her body, how her body was, she instantly calmed a little bit and felt a little better. Because I was like, I complimented her background, but I was like, “Wow.” Just go with what you know and start there.
[01:04:23] KC: Yeah, and pay attention to what’s around. I mean, I try to make a point of paying attention to the people I’m interacting with. The people will show you a little bit of themselves, if you pay attention. A lot of people, where –
[01:04:34] MB: Yeah. There’s signs and cues that you pick up on.
[01:04:37] KC: They’ll have a pin on, that tells you something they’re interested in, or they’ll have a really cool iPhone cover, or the Mickey face on their Apple Watch. I don’t know. People do like to show off their personality a little bit.
[01:04:51] MB: Rarely find someone who’s very monotone and there’s just no way to figure out who or what that person has going on. There’s always something. It may not even be something you’re into. If you can find a way to pin it, like you did, where you’re like, “Oh, I’ve always wanted to have short hair, but I’ve never really had the guts to do it.” You probably will never have that short hair, but there’s a part of you that connects to that and is like oh, my other me would definitely do that. Find a way to make it genuine, even if you’re not about what they’re about, because it’s –
[01:05:24] KC: Yeah, exactly. Even if it’s not something that I’m into at all I’m interested, I’m still interested –
[01:05:29] MB: They’re totally understanding that that is awesome.
[01:05:32] KC: I’m interested in people in general and human nature. I will compliment people in their tattoos. I don’t have any tattoos. My son is a tattoo artist, though, so I know a little bit. I will comment on people’s tattoos and ask them the meaning behind it if they’re comfortable sharing it, or that’s really cool. Where do you have that done? If people have unusual facial piercings, or stuff, or they wear their makeup –
[01:05:53] MB: Something they’re setting, signaling into the universe that says something about them.
[01:05:56] KC: That makes them unique. They do crazy –
[01:05:58] MB: Non-verbal communication starter.
[01:06:01] KC: I see people out sometimes with crazy eye makeup. You knew it took them forever. I can’t do my own makeup for crap, as you guys can obviously see, if you’re watching this on YouTube. I always go, “Oh, my gosh. Your makeup, that’s amazing.”
[01:06:14] MB: I keep forgetting, this is going to be seen by people. It’s all right.
[01:06:20] KC: I always tell them, like I can’t do makeup. I didn’t grow up knowing how to do it. We didn’t have YouTube when I was a kid. I was like, “That looks amazing. That shit must have taken you a long time. How did you learn how to do that?” A lot of times, the things that you compliment people on are also things that they feel people might be judging them for, whether that is a tattoo, eyebrow piercing, crazy eye makeup.
[01:06:39] MB: We all want to [inaudible 01:06:39] selves, but we just feel people are judging us. When we get complimented when we’ve been a little bold, or our truest self, and maybe don’t. There are people who just don’t care. I mean, and there’s those people. I always compliment them. The most eccentric, most comfortable with themselves people are the people that I gravitate to first, because they carry that energy.
[01:07:05] KC: Yeah. They might be thinking that you’re looking at them, because you’re judging them. If someone has a crazy hair color, or something really unusual, and I’m looking at them, they’re probably thinking, “Oh, she’s probably thinking something bad about my hair color. It’s too much.” We’re always worried of the worst when really – we always assume.
[01:07:22] MB: Thinking it’s the coolest.
[01:07:24] KC: We always assume people are just thinking, worrying about us. I mean, that could totally brighten their day, so it’s worth it. Well, I think this is a really great topic and I know myself at least, I’m going to move forward with that in mind to reach out for those little social interactions and say hello, be off my phone a little bit more, start conversations with people. I hope we encouraged a lot of people today.
[01:07:47] MB: Yeah. If anything, get the idea of because I’ve heard – I’ve read every article, I feel like, when I was a teenager about how your close-knit friendships and your girlfriends, that core. We glorify it in TV shows and movies about your close girlfriends. Weak-tie friendships are totally important and need to be normalized a bit more and talked about a bit more, because then, it just causes people to just be more accepting of – We all just want to move towards that idea of just accepting everyone and everyone feeling like they can be their truest selves. It’s all we’ve built is really what’s going to be –
[01:08:26] KC: I think, last episode, I think we talked about how sometimes you outgrow your friendships, because the same friendships you’ve had since middle school, or high school, or college, you might not have that much in common with those people anymore. If you don’t form these weak-tie friendships, how can they grow into something more meaningful?
[01:08:42] MB: Exactly. That’s where the opportunity –
[01:08:43] KC: You can’t find the people you really connect with in your stage of life if you don’t put yourself out there. I mean, my [inaudible 01:08:49] the most right now, I met five years ago, randomly waiting in line at Disneyland. She is, to imagine life without her is no air. She was literally – I literally met her five years ago, because I put myself out there and said something to a stranger and I didn’t care. It took so much for me to talk to her. That changed my life. Because it changed my life, I now changed how I interact with everybody, because it literally changed my life.
[01:09:21] MB: I think we sometimes forget that all friendships start as weak-tie friendships. Your best friends in the world start –
[01:09:29] KC: Instantly is like, “We’re best friends.” No, you have to start somewhere.
[01:09:33] MB: They usually start, because you were seated next to someone in class.
[01:09:35] KC: Maybe you don’t have any close girlfriends, and you’re missing a part of life, by the way, that’s really cool. Or you just don’t have a close friend. You gotta start somewhere and it’s going to start with a weak-tie friendship. You got to make a friend, I guess.
[01:09:47] MB: Those people that you meet in a weak-tie friendship will introduce you to other people that you will also form friendships with. That’s how you find your tribe. That’s how you find your people. I really encourage everybody to get out there, get yourself out in the world and interact with people. You have to be proactive.
[01:10:05] KC: Look for non-verbal social cues of what you can say. Compliments always go a long way.
[01:10:11] MB: Give yourself permission to start conversations with people. It’s something that doesn’t come naturally to most people anymore, because we are also internal now, but you have to be proactive about it. Because the older we get, the more that social interaction is important. I know all the health studies say that having a lack of social interaction as you age is bad for your cognitive ability. Loneliness and depression in old age is really a big deal. It’s more important than ever that we form these weak-tie friendships, so that we have the basis to form deeper friendships. That’s everyone’s homework assignment for this week, so we have to have conversations as you go.
[01:10:50] KC: Go be friendly.
[01:10:52] MB: Yes.
[01:10:54] KC: As always, we want to remind you guys and you can continue the discussion on our Facebook discussion group. Please, remember to rate and review, subscribe to this podcast. We appreciate all the support that we get. We are 13 episodes in, so we’re still relatively newbies. We do appreciate every single one of you guys that is listening and watching. We will see you next week.
[01:11:17] MB: Bye.
[01:11:18] KC: Bye.
[01:11:22] ANNOUNCER: Thanks so much for listening to this week’s episode. Don’t forget to bookmark our site, shesafullonmonet.com. Subscribe to our newsletter. You can also find us on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube. If you’re enjoying this podcast, it helps us a lot if you can follow, rate and review. See you all next week.