The Benefits of Being Inclusive

Jordan Mendiola

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Growing up, I was a very antisocial kid. I never raised my hand in class and only cared about performing well in sports and playing video games.

After long years of life, I’ve developed into an extremely social extrovert who wants to get the most out of every day I have on Earth.

In the past few months, my girlfriend and I have introduced one another to friends, family, and other people we care about. Our plans have consisted of me with her friends, her with my friends, and a mixture of the two.

Some say, “the more the merrier”, and in our situation it’s true.

Why Do People Say, “The More The Merrier?”

One-on-ones are more intimate and the attention is fully on one another.

A small group of three or four is manageable and you can have a variety of different interactions in one sitting.

Outings of four or more feel like a party — a large social gathering. Since we aren’t in the Pandemic anymore, it’s the perfect time to rekindle those relationships we cherished at one point in time.

The more people you have at an event, the more likely you are to meet a few individuals you’d like to add to your network.

As a social media manager and a people person, I’m always open to making new friends and acquaintances.

What if You’re a Shy Person Who Likes to Keep Things Small?

Prior to joining the Army, I had friends, but I wasn’t open to talking to anyone. It took lots of putting myself out there and asking questions.

If you want to create meaningful relationships, you have to put in the effort. Show interest in the people you interact with.

They won’t necessarily remember what you said, but they will remember how you made them feel (paraphrased Maya Angelou for ya).

Starting conversations about topics you’re knowledgeable about definitely helps. I know nothing about playing Minecraft for example, so I don’t lead with that.

Instead, I try to find common ground by asking some of the following questions:

  • So how do you know one another?
  • Where are you from?
  • Do you have any fun or exciting plans coming up?
  • What do you like doing in your free time?
  • Are there any interesting shows or movies you’ve watched recently?

These questions stay away from the topic of work. Personally, I don’t like asking people what they do for work because most people do, and it isn’t always the most enthusiastic topic people like sharing.

How Do You Become More Inclusive?

It starts with one person, that’s you. Then you need to find someone who’s open and willing to make plans — that’s two.

Once you have two, you can then invite a 3rd or fourth person to an outing. You can begin with something easy like dinner, or you could light a spark for something more exciting like mini-golf, an arcade, or shopping at a store.

I’m gonna be blunt. If your plans suck, or you don’t really sell them on going, then people are probably gonna flake. However, if you find something interesting that people are willing to take part in, you’ll get more yes’s.

I’m not someone who seeks validation from spending more time with others, but I do enjoy inviting people who may not have a big circle into mine — hence inclusivity.

Never judge someone on their past or current situation. Be judgment-free and give everyone a fair shot. Life is full of ups and downs, there’s no need to write someone off just because of one thing.

Final Thought

We’re human beings. We’re social creatures who crave connection and happiness. Once we step out of our shells and meet new people, life gets a whole lot more exciting.

Many of us work, go to school, and have responsibilities. We need to experience new things that inspire us and fill us with joy.

Why not share new experiences with the ones you love spending time with? Being open to making new friends or acquaintances is something we can all do.

Let’s all make an effort to try and be more inclusive and the world will be filled with more love than hate, loneliness, or depression.

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Creative entrepreneur, U.S. Army Engineer, and dedicated runner. Committed to sharing ideas that lead to more fulfillment in all areas of life. Email: mendiola1829@gmail.com

Chicago, IL
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