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DR. KESTNER: There’s more to life than social networks

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How many “friends” do you have?

Are you counting virtual Facebook friends that you have cyber-relationships with or real live people that you actually have contact with in the physical world?

If you have been following this column in the Thursday edition of The Murfreesboro Post, you will know that each week I focus on a single, simple habit or idea the can enhance your personal life.  

Today, the topic is expanding your circle of real life friends.

If you happen to be someone that is rich with friends and finds no need to add more to your list, count yourself fortunate.  

Friendship is one of the greatest blessings on earth.

Some people want or need more friends than others. There are also those solitary folks that are content to have a very small selection of people that they interact with on a personal level.

Some people have a small circle of acquaintances but would prefer having more friends in their lives.  

If this is you, this article may be especially relevant.

Many people find it difficult to make new friends.  

For various reasons, they are not ones to initiate conversations, and don't feel comfortable reaching out to others to make friends.

There are many aspects of friendship that could be discussed here.  

To keep this column simple, I have narrowed it down to the most essential element: Become aware of any habits that might be inhibiting friendships and replace those habits with ones that generate and sustain friendships.

If you often find that you feel inhibited in circumstances involving strangers you are not alone. Many people find themselves in the same situation.  

They want to engage the other person in a friendly conversation but are unsure what to say to someone they don’t know.

Learning new skills such as how to interact with complete strangers and make more friends can be accomplished with a little help from experts.

There are dozens of websites, blogs and books that I could recommend.

One of the very best books written on this subject that has been a help for millions of others facing the same challenge was written decades ago.  

It is called How to Win Friends and Influence People.

This amazing volume that was written by Dale Carnegie so many years ago still gets four and a half stars from readers on Amazon.

How can a book so dated still be relevant today?  If you read it, you will find that the down-to-earth advice offered by Carnegie is based on timeless attributes of human nature.

To this day, there are still Carnegie training courses available for people that wish to expand their circle of friends and business relations.

My recommendation for the habit of the week is that will help you find more friends and enhance your relationships with friends, associates and family alike, is to buy this book and read a little each day.

Next week in this column you will find some helpful suggestions about avoiding negative moods during the holidays.

Until then, stay happy, stay healthy!
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Dr. Kestner
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Health, Living Well, Mark Kestner, Social Networking, Voices
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Members Opinions:
November 18, 2011 at 7:49am
I agree with Dr Kestner. Social networking is a trap. Too much info. some real some false not a place where you can hang out the "do not disturb" sign without risking offending someone.The recent requirement by a local newspaper that in order to make on-line comment one must join FaceBook? - forget it. I unfriended the on-line edition.
November 18, 2011 at 8:40am
I am a Mass Communication student and we speak intensively on the subject matter of virtual realities being created. It is true that many individuals, not just teenagers, surround their life with a virtual representation of their real life. It is overwhelming how much we can be connected with facebook, twiter, linked in, pintrest, four square, and I am sure there are several other one’s that I am not even aware about. Of course being so entangled in social networks have their pros and cons. I feel like I treat social networks as a way to keep in touch with friends verses meeting them online. It makes sense to take advantage of the simplicity of on-line communication. However, nothing beats getting out of the house away from the computer and going out to dinner, bowling, or to a sporting event together with a few friends. That’s actually how you meet more new friends, add them on some type of social network and you’ll be amazed by how many friends you have in common. We try so hard sometimes to represent ourselves clearly on line, but you can’t really trust something you read about someone on-line. Pictures however are a whole different story. Maintaining a clean FB profile and on-line presence in general is key to keeping a good reputation in the real world as well. Many people often forget that the two aren’t far from each other.
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