About 8 weeks ago I tested positive for Covid-19 (which is partly why you haven’t heard from me for a while).
While my initial illness wasn’t bad at all, I am now on day 59 of an on-going headache.
Apparently, headaches are a fairly common after-effect of the virus. But doctors still don’t know why it happens or how to treat it, so Iwas basically given pain killers and wished good luck.
Most days the pain is perfectly manageable and I can live my life more or less normally. But some days I spend most of my time laying down.
And on those days something happened. Something that doesn’t usually happen for me.
I got bored.
And I realized that I was missing something.
I was missing specialized friendships.
I came up with the concept of specialized friendships many years ago.
And while it is something most of us do to a certain extent– most people aren’t aware when they do it. But if we do start to use itconsciously, it can greatly improve our lives.
Specialized friendships are friendships that primarily serves one purpose.
It can be a friend you only do one activity with – such as exercising or partying.
It can be someone you turn to for advice – but rarely for anything else.
It can be someone you talk to only when one of you needs support, but usually not when things are fine.
And so on.
And while this might sound superficial and maybe even exploitative, there is nothing wrong with these friendships. At least not as long as no one involved feels taken advantage of.
Personally, I realized that I was missing a type of specialized friendship I had lots of when I was younger.
Before I made the effort to build my social confidence and communication skills I had less than a handful of friends that I would spend time with in real life. But I had lots of online friendships based on almost nothing but fun and lighthearted little text interactions.
And fun, lighthearted interactions via text and images were exactly what I needed on those bad headache days. Both to keep my spirits up and to lessen my boredom.
Luckily for me, creating these kinds of specialized online friendships is a fairly straight-forward process.
All you have to do is use the pinging technique, and make sure your pings are of the fun and lighthearted type.
So, I spent a few days pinging a handful of new people everyday. And before long I started to receive daily messages with memes, jokes, funny stories, and similar things.
Not all of them stuck, of course. In fact, the majority of the people I pinged I’ve not heard from again. But about a handful of them engaged, kept engaging, and started messaging me somewhat regularly on their own initiative.
But it’s not just pinging I want to encourage you to do.
I want to encourage you to take stock of what kind of specialized friendships might make your life – or at least parts of it - better.
An easy way to do this is to think of your everyday life, and what you’d like for it to have more of.
Emotional, mental, or motivational support?
Fun and playfulness?
Intellectual discussions and debates?
Or maybe you just want someone to celebrate good news with. Or someone to vent to when you’re frustrated. Or someone to exchange dinner recipes with. Or someone to talk to about a specific topic or interest.
Whatever it is, odds are that there’s someone out there who would love to have someone to do the same with.
And more than that, odds are that you already know them. Even if you don’t know them well.
Out of the handful of people I’m still texting with, about half are people I see every now and then. The rest are people I haven’t seen in years. And even one person that I only met once a long time ago.
When you know what kind of specialized friendship you want to create, all you have to do is go through your lists (Facebook, phone numbers, whatever) and reach out to those you think might fit the bill.
Then follow the recipe from this article to cultivate the friendship – and make sure to focus your conversations on the things that will create the type of specialized friendship you’re looking for.
And, as always, if you want to create more full and well-rounded friendships, you’ll learn how to do that in my online course How to make friends and create better social circles.
Hi, I'm TJ Guttormsen.
Since 2009 I’ve coached clients ranging from Olympic gold medalists and billionaires, to people who simply want more out life.
I’ve done over 100 national media appearances, published books, and created online courses that have earned several “Highest Rated” titles from their 11 000+ members.
Today I coach clients from all over the world, and teach seminars for business and events from my home in Las Vegas.
Come join me in my Facebook group, follow my Instagram, or subscribe to my YouTube channel for fresh content on a regular basis.