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7 Ways to Form Deep, Meaningful Friendships

Friends

“To have a friend and be a friend is what makes life worthwhile.” ~Unknown

I am fascinated by friendships.

Not the acquaintances you see occasionally or the Facebook friends who wouldn’t recognize you on the street.

I’m talking about your real people. The people who know and love the deepest parts of you. Their soul sees yours.

They’re the kind of people you can talk to about how hard it’s been to meditate lately or what’s really going on in your marriage. They’re the kind of people you call for a ride when you get a flat tire and they’re the ones who affirm and support all the “weird” things about you that make other people uncomfortable.

They’re your inner circle people. The heart of your life.

I’m so fascinated by deep, meaningful friendships like these because for most of my life, I’ve had none, or only a very small few.

I always had friends, good friends, who I spent a lot of time with. We celebrated birthdays, analyzed boyfriend behavior, and discussed the pros and cons of the haircut of the season.

But did I regularly look these friends in the eye and think to myself: Yep, you are a sister (or brother) to my soul?

No. I didn’t.

Admit when your friendships don’t nourish your soul.

It’s not that I didn’t love them. I loved (and still love) them deeply.

It’s not that I didn’t feel supported and cared for by them. I knew those things were true, beyond a shadow of a doubt.

And it’s not that I thought I was better than them. I don’t. Acknowledging that you’re different or that you want different things doesn’t make you a snob. It just makes you different.

According to my belief system, on the deepest of levels we’re all the same and all connected. But we also live in a human world, where personality, lifestyle choices, and values determine the way we live and relate to others.

So I don’t think we should beat ourselves up for acknowledging that some relationships bring fluidity and symmetry to our hearts more easily and quickly than others.

Once I faced the fact that I had very few of these profound soul friendships, the obvious next question was: Okay, so where do I find them?

The general refrain in my head was something like:

“Yeah, universe, I get that we’re all connected. We’re all one. Uh huh. But over here, in my corner of Planet Earth, I’m not feelin’ quite so connected these days. Where are my people?”

A booming voice from the sky did not appear. But this old saying popped into mind:

When you pray, move your feet.

So I moved my feet. I turned my Soul Friend Radar to full tilt.

I prowled the corners of the interwebs and relentlessly picked the brains of former colleagues and college friends, all in an attempt to find my siblings of the soul.

I was determined to find the friends who I could talk openly with about my spiritual beliefs and how they informed every decision I made.

And I wanted these same spiritually-minded friends to adore my sometimes-12-year-old sense of humor, my introversion, and my devotion to Grey’s Anatomy (even though this last one makes no sense to most of them).

Spiritual and down to earth. Introspective and prone to kitchen dancing.

Sounds like the duality of a perfect friendship to me, which is why I give thanks every day that I’ve now found these kinds of friends. It wasn’t that hard, actually (more on that soon).

These friends have helped me become so much more joyous, fulfilled, and all kinds of giggly.

And it didn’t take weeks or months for me to know if they were the soul friends I’d been hoping for. I could tell almost immediately.

How I knew my soul knew yours.

Stories I’d never told anyone easily fell off my lips. Sadness I thought I’d healed appeared as a crack in my voice. Our laughter together seemed like a sound I’d been hearing for centuries.

As much as our culture waxes on and on about romantic love, some praise needs to be sent over to the soul brothers and sisters who hold us up through it all.

The love that comes from your own, custom-made community of kinfolk is vital. Nothing is more nourishing.

And because I wish that for you, too, here are 7 things I did to find my spiritual soul sisters and brothers. Go forth and make friends!

1. Consider the possibility that you may already have friends who feel the same as you.

Choose a few of your nearest and dearest and tell them what spirituality means to you and why it’s a big deal in your life. They may surprise you with enthusiasm, genuine curiosity, or a super-passionate spiritual story of their own.

2. Be proactive in meeting likeminded people.

Have you always wanted to go to a sweat lodge? Or do you get giddy at the thought of learning how to make your own incense? Do you daydream about being Byron Katie’s next door neighbor?

Type whatever search terms tickle your fancy into Meetup.com, select your city, and voila! You’ll have a long list of gatherings to choose from, and they’ll be full of like-minded people who are also looking to make new connections.

3. Run a Google search for conferences, retreats, or workshops with a spirituality theme.

Sign up for one. Like, now.

4. Ask your existing friends, family, or co-workers you trust for some referrals.

Try something like:

“Hey, not sure if we’ve ever talked about this in detail before, but I’m reeeally into [insert a specific area of spirituality that floats your boat--could be meditation, yoga, chanting, Eckhart Tolle’s books] and I’d like to connect with some local people who share my passion. Any names coming to mind? Would you feel comfortable introducing us?”

5. When you find one soul brother or sister, tell them:

I need more people like you! How about we plan a fun dinner/bowling night/karaoke party and invite a bunch of awesome people you know?

6. Start a book club that focuses on spirituality/personal development books.

Stick flyers up at your favorite yoga studios and coffee shops. You can also try posting an ad in the classified listings of your local paper, on a site like Craigslist and also on social media.

7. If you get jazzed up by affirmations and mantras, try these on for size:

  • Deeply fulfilling friendships are on their way.
  • Love comes in many forms. I am open to them all.
  • Thank you for the friends that are coming. I know already: they’re the best!

And remember that saying: When you pray, move your feet.

Your friends are on their way.

Photo by Vinoth Chandar

Avatar of Annika Martins

About Annika Martins

Annika Martins is a spiritual curator, which is kinda like being a museum curator. Except instead of curating paintings, she curates spiritual practices, like art, meditation, and dance. She’s bringing together her favorite spiritual seekers for a revolutionary spiritual conference and she wants to see you there! See the Sacred. Your way. It’s all going down at AnnikaMartins.com.

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  • J

    Amazing article – thanks for sharing :)

  • CAD

    I think I might just be a soul sister of yours! Great article

  • ekanost

    Oh my goodness. I needed this today. The things you have written hit very close to home–I feel like I could have written parts of it myself! Thank you for sharing your experiences and wisdom. I have found it very important/helpful for my happiness and inner peace to limit my social experiences to more meaningful interactions with like-minded people. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  • http://www.annikamartins.com/ Annika Martins

    woot! If you’re on Facebook/Twitter, would love to connect there, too. :)

  • http://www.annikamartins.com/ Annika Martins

    Warms my heart to read this. I’m grateful for the resonance. :)

  • http://www.annikamartins.com/ Annika Martins

    Thanks!

  • Meesh

    Love this <3 I'm moving to a larger city soon (Vancouver) and I look forward to meeting more people like me. I know I'll discover many new friendships that will help me grow!

  • E

    Thanks for these great recommendations. I’ve been thinking so much about this lately and trying to reevaluate my relationship with “friendship,” assess my motives, and determine what kind of friend I’ve been and how I can improve. It was a timely piece today and I’m glad I stumbled upon it! Thanks so much for writing.

  • http://www.thegirlwhoknows.com/ Stephanie Watanabe

    Ahhh I love this post Annika! I couldn’t agree more – we need more celebratory love for all the soul sisters + brothers out there. I feel so grateful that I finally have a tribe of like-minded, soulful, yet silly people to call my friends. And I’m even more blessed to count you as one of them. xo

  • Andrea

    love this so much and it was something I really needed to hear today. Also, love your website Annika! You’re my favorite, much love to you girl!

  • fred hill

    thank you for this inspiring article. this truly helps,((this has been an issue with me since EEEEEVER)) and I’ll try your advice because what i been trying doesn’t apparently work. It’s at least somewhere to start from. I’d consider being a friend–or soul friend–however that works

  • http://www.cloriskylie.com/ Cloris Kylie

    Great ideas, Annika! Thank you for the article!

  • Albinoni

    This is a great post, but I’m wondering what you do when the tribe of friends, who were you soul friends, decides to banish you. I had a group of like minded friends who I loved dearly and thought they loved me. But there was a blow up mainly between two of us. I’ve tried several times in several ways to apologize, but one friend has had no contact with me at all. The group continues as is but without me. I still love these people and have had few friendships like this, but my heart and soul is so hurt, that I wonder if these types of connects are really worth it.

  • Patricia Neild

    Annika, this is something I have battled with for almost ayear now and despite the fact I love my friends dearly I realise some are hard work whilst others bring joy and encouragement, laughter in silly times and hugs or kind words in down times.
    Thank you and blessings

  • http://erikaawakening.com/ Erika Awakening

    Just today I was thinking about the question – how can I connect more deeply with people in ways that feel meaningful to me? I’ve found that sometimes when we’ve done a lot of personal evolution, it’s time for a revamping of how we approach our social life. And I’m definitely due for that revamping. Thanks for these helpful and fun suggestions about how we might reach out to new people and create some enjoyable connections. Cheers :)

  • Cass

    I too have been very hurt by close friends, when moving to a new city, I was ostracised by them. I suppose by leaving I too hurt them deeply. I came to understand that like so many relationships, friendships come and go and have a lifetime all their own. But when one group of friends goes all you can do is offer your apology for hurts caused and then go and find new friends. I have found my old friends have slowly come back to me (5 years later) but I now have a group of wonderful new friends as well. Dealing with the heartbreak is the hardest part and I am working on that.

  • growthguided

    I kinda wish we were soul brothers and sisters Annika =)

  • Hilary Hahn

    Beautiful! I have been searching for like-minded friends to add to the small group of friends that I already have. Awesome! Moving my feet:)

  • http://www.annikamartins.com/ Annika Martins

    Thaaank you! Wow, the love from the Tiny Buddha community is flowing good and strong. I love you all!

  • http://www.annikamartins.com/ Annika Martins

    It is a blessing (and privilege) for me, too. You so aweeesome. :) xo

  • http://www.annikamartins.com/ Annika Martins

    Moving the feet = YES! I love the sound of that. If you’re on social media, let’s connect and tell me how it’s going. :)

  • http://www.annikamartins.com/ Annika Martins

    Absolutely. As we grow, sometimes the people we used to be so perfectly aligned with, aren’t quite so in-sync with us anymore. That’s condescension, just honest reflection. I hope you’ll find a way to evolve those relationships and build new ones, too. Love.

  • http://www.annikamartins.com/ Annika Martins

    *hugs* I love what Cass said below. I think all we can do is offer our sincerity – sounds like you’ve done that. How other people respond is up to them. I think there’s something to be said for grieving friendships in much the same way we’d grieve a breakup with a lover. Allowing yourself time to be sad about it and then trying to connect with new people might work for you. Pick an item from the list and try it out. I used them all – and they worked!

  • http://www.annikamartins.com/ Annika Martins

    xo

  • http://www.annikamartins.com/ Annika Martins

    You are so welcome, Cloris. :)

  • http://www.annikamartins.com/ Annika Martins

    Yayyy, Vancouver! One of my favorite cities. Wishing you a smooth move and lots of beautiful new connections. :)

  • http://www.annikamartins.com/ Annika Martins

    Blessings to you, Patricia. xo

  • http://www.annikamartins.com/ Annika Martins

    :) Find me on FaceBook, or Twitter.

  • Barry John

    I think when we start down a spiritual path, it is very personal at first, and we might somewhat isolate ourselves as we sort it out, feel more comfortable with it. Then I think we do want to share, want to find like minded souls, and I believe it falls together if we are following our truth; we will find the tribe with the right spiritual vibe :) but yes you do have to get out there, test the waters – I would also add that when we do meet someone and feel a connection, that we act on it, and test the waters on the individual basis – these are folks you just like to be around, you trade info on spiritual beliefs without judgment, with the ability to say that something specific that resonates with them doesn’t resonate with you and its all good. Thanx Annika, you contribute to coalescing a spiritual community. I like what you do.

  • Mike Lowry

    I do #5 all the time. I love hearing it from new people so I know others feel good when the hear from someone who is being sincere.