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The Importance of Common Ground in Friendships

By Andrew Burgon / phoenix@projectfellowship.com
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November 25, 2013

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Sharing Things in Common like Interests, Hobbies, Passions and Lifestyle Can Significantly Impact Your Friendship With Others.

Having something in common with someone else can play a crucial part in forming a friendship and drawing that person closer to you. It acts like a piece of land that a friendship can be built on. It opens a doorway into the lives of other people and sometimes does so in an unexpected way. For example, someone you thought was disinterested in you has recently started scuba diving and knowing you like to scuba dive invites you to join him for a dive.

While it’s no secret that sharing common interests can be a boon to a friendship it’s a lot more important than I originally thought. In many cases, it may well determine how much time you get to spend with someone. If your friend has a strong interest in motorcycle riding through the mountains and dating women and you are married and regularly attend a board games event what’s the likelihood of the two of you meeting up on the weekend and becoming friends?

The greatest moments in bonding that I have ever witnessed is between people who have the same passions. I remember two of my friends early in their friendship talking passionately about sports one night and it was like watching a house on fire. I almost expected them to hold hands and skip out of the squash courts. LOL. So try to meet up with people who share your interests and hobbies.

Establish Common Ground in a Conversation

When conversing with people you like make a mental note of the things you have in common with them. If they touch on a subject that you are also interested in make it known to them. By the second time I’ve met someone I’m interested in I make sure we have talked about our interests and hobbies. If your friend is into mountain bike riding and you are, too, indicate you would be interested in joining him sometime. Taking it up another notch make plans there and then.

If you are befriending a lot of people write down things you have in common with them in your treasure book and arrange to do that activity together sometime in the near future.

You can take this up another level, too. You can thoughtfully and deliberately reveal certain things about yourself in the hope of finding common ground with another person.

Opening a Common Ground Doorway into Another Person’s Life

You can deliberately open a doorway into someone’s life by either regularly attending an event they go to or adopting outright an interest of theirs. I seldom go hiking but I would welcome the opportunity to do so especially if it means I can spend time with a friend not to mention the added bonus of meeting new people on the hike and getting a little exercise.

Naturally, be sensitive to the people you are trying to befriend. I will only do this if the initial feedback of the person I’m befriending is fairly good and I think he or she won’t mind. You can approach this in a subtle way. Show interest in an event your friend mentioned. Say something like, “That sounds interesting. I must make an effort to go there soon.” If he welcomes you to come to the next event with him that’s a good sign. If he doesn’t, go anyway perhaps with a friend or two and when you see him strike up a conversation and invite him to join you if he’s not already sitting with friends.

Does anyone have anything else to say about common ground? Thanks.
 
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