How to Grow Your Social Capital

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Now a few weeks ago I talked about making friends. There is a detail that I wanted to expand on. This is a detail that comes into play for everybody, not just the people who are trying to find more friends but also helps you to make friends faster and ties into why you having integrity is so important. I have heard this be called relationship capital.

What is Social capital?

Relationships are a give and receive, type of transaction. Though you can take from a relationship that is where you can get yourself into trouble and this will be talked about later. Relationships as a premise are very much like the economic premise of capitalism. This is because you have to give value to a relationship to receive value. There is a running trend right now on how horrible people are. Then these folks wonder why they have no friends. IF you think everybody is horrible or that they are out to get you, then people will think you are refereeing to them and not want to hang with you.

This line of thinking also creates a self-fulfilling prophecy because you will be looking for anybody to “let you down” You will expect that to happen. The more you expect it the more it will happen, you will also dismiss the good that happens from people because of the scarcity of friends in your life.

Image by Adina Voicu from Pixabay

So like the abundant mindset if you are looking at the world in the abundant frame of mind then you will have lots of friends. While the scarcity mindset will leave you impoverished because you were afraid that everybody is out to get you.

Relationships are exactly like capitalism. You have to invest in others. That means you have to open yourself up for the risk of being taken advantage of. You will also find out that most people are not out to “get” you. They are just trying to make it from day to day just like you. Your relationship capital is also kept in and a type of bank, where there is a ledger that keeps all the deposits and withdraws of yours and other relationship capitals are kept, stored and traded.

Capital Denominations

  • Respect – You can almost view respect as the bonds of the relationship system. People can invest in your respect and if your integrity is high enough then you are more valuable. But the work to make sure your respect is worth it depends upon how you treat others. If you run around demanding that people give you respect people will not invest in that demand. They have to voluntarily invest in your bond known as respect.
  • Love – Often, love is one piece of capital we work the hardest to give away. Then wonder why people often don’t treat it right. That is, again love like other items of value has to be earned and if the person receiving the love hasn’t earned it they can’t respect it. The work to receive that love is the fertilizer for the crop to grow. Once that crop is harvested then it is worth that value. Did I lose you on that analogy? If so let me know in the comments below.
  • Friendship – This is a lot like our money. It comes in different denominations like Pennies could be viewed as the neighbor next door that you occasionally say hello to. Then it increases in values from there. From acquaintance to friends to a good friend to inner circle friend each of these can be equated to value.

Like a bank

Just like a bank, your relationships with other people have different accounts that hold all the different transactions. Each time you show love or care to a person you are putting relationship capital into their life. When you yell are cheat a person that capital is withdrawn. Also like a bank, you can be insanely rich or you can miserably poor. How you turn out is based entirely upon your actions. So again you have to own your own dirt on this. If you make excuses you will keep at the same level of even losing ground when it comes to your relationship capital.

Relationship Capital is Earned

How do you get capital for your relationships? This is like all capital in real life, you have to earn it. You can’t take it from anybody else. It is earned through nothing more than a hello and then taking the time to authentically listen to what they are saying. Taking the time to actively listen to another person is one of the best ways to earn relationship capital. Treating another person like they are human can give your account with them a huge boost.

Again you have to earn it. You can get someone to respect you without earning that respect. Getting a person to love you is impossible. You have to earn that love.

Image by Nattanan Kanchanaprat from Pixabay

Invest Your Social Capital

You also have to not only take but you have to give. You have to give your time and attention to other people for them to take the time to invest in you. I will be giving examples of this shortly, but this is where many people fall short, me included. So many times we don’t want to bother or intrude on other folks. So instead of taking the needed time to enrich our lives and get to know other folks we talk ourselves out of the life-enriching opportunities given to us. So I would like to help you with some starters in how you can take those steps into creating opportunities for relationship capital investing.

How do you invest in others?

There are many different ways to invest in other people’s lives. But all of these strategies work and can be stacked so that you can earn even more capital from people. To do that you have to start somewhere. These tips work even if you are in the same area. You can apply these strategies when you move to a new area which is always nerve-wracking. So start somewhere. The act of getting out of your comfort zone doesn’t kill you remember that is only your mind wanting you to stay safe by staying comfortable.

Image by ErikaWittlieb from Pixabay

Introduce yourself

The hardest part is getting out to see other people. Yet often we don’t even take the first step. So walk up to someone, reach out your hand and say, “Hello, I am ______” then listen to what the other person has to say. Then do something that may look odd but it does help, write their name down. Every relationship starts with a “Hey, how ya doing?” Even if they say they are too busy to chat then don’t take it personally. They don’t know you enough to be personal.

Join a Church

Yeah, I think a church is actually a good thing for you to participate in. Not only are people who attend church found to be happier, they also have a tighter network of people who they know and trust. This makes sense because you are seeing these people every week, sometimes multiple times a week. Seeing these people on a regular basis helps people to get to know you and learn more about you.

Now I have heard people say I don’t want to go to a church because there are too many hypocrites around. All I have to say to that is when you point a finger there are 3 more pointed back at you. In other words, you say that they are hypocrites is saying you are better than them and you don’t need any help. That is the very same thing I thought too but I have come to realize that a church full of imperfect people is just what I am needing.

Church also helps you come to love yourself better which is what you need to be able to love your neighbors. So, go out find a church. It doesn’t have to be Baptist or catholic. Maybe you find it is a non-denominational church or maybe the Church of Latter-Day Saints is what your soul is looking for. You will know you found the right church. You will feel it deep down inside.

Join a Civic Organization

You really want to do this if you are wanting to get out in front of a lot of different people. There are many different types of fraternal organizations like the Shriners and Free Masons or perhaps the Elks Lodge is more your style. There are also civic groups like The Lions Club or rotary club and then there is the Chamber of Commerce. All of these allow you to be introduced to many people who are in the area. They also give you the opportunity to get in front of even more people as you continue to work with that organization.

Rotary International Logo

Find a hobby group

You can also meet people who have the same interest when you find others who have the same hobby as you. I use to be in a model airplane group and there is so much learning and relationship capital being exchanged in these groups it is unreal. This is because people want to share what they know. I mean hello why do you think this blog was started? I wanted to help men to find their calling and understand that happiness is attainable. They don’t have to give up their soul nor their dreams.

So People want to share and you have a different and unique approach to a problem they have. You providing value to another person allows for them to gain value in who you are. This is how you grow richer in your relationship. So get a hobby group you will have something in common and that is a good starting block to have.

Image by Chris “CJ” Johnson from Pixabay

Go to the fair

Is your town having a parade? Everybody in the area of Dumas looks forward to Doggie Days. There is a Dove Festival in Hamilton, Texas. Do you know what happens at these celebrations? A large group of people come together and have a good time. This is a prime time to get out and get to know people. You will always come away with a new acquaintance which is, step one of a new friendship.

Show interest

When you are talking to someone new turn your phone off, or at least set it to silent. Then pay attention to only that person. Someone tries to pull you away politely let them know you will get to them in a short moment. When you are at the beginning of a new relationship show that person that they are important. If you are constantly checking your phone you are telling them you really don’t care about them. So show them that you care about them and take the time to get to know them.

Ask questions and then shut up. Listen to what they have to say. If you feel the need to interject then do so by asking another question. People often find people to be great conversationalist when you can get them to talk about themselves. So get to know that person by showing interest.

Make time for others

This is another way you can help other folks. You show them they are important and you value their time. If they ask for a moment of your time giving it the moment you can.

Don’t get overdrawn

Now as in banking you can also overdraw on our accounts. This is where we get distrust. If people see you as a negative person or they simply have no respect for you this is often because you have overdrawn on your relationship account with that person. Often this is when people fall out of friendships. That is where something was done that caused another person to distrust you. This happens the other way also where if a person violates your trust or loses integrity in you. You don’t have as much capital in their account. So you can withdraw from others by asking for favors but if you keep taking from the relationship without giving back the relationship will become overdrawn and it will crumble.

don't let your social capital become empty
Image by Dennis Larsen from Pixabay

So invest in your friends and much like investing in stocks those investments over time and effort grow and become more valuable than when they were at the beginning. The more you invest in other people the richer your life and your connections become. People actually seek you out for your advice and insight. They want to get to know you even more. So go find someone to talk to today and see where that relationship goes.

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About Bryan Goodwin

I like being able to help people find their "why" and achieve the personal freedom they desire. Besides writing for Relaxed Male I also am a life coach. By helping men find the leader that is found in each and every one of us. I do this by encouraging men to get outdoors and find the balance they are missing. Realize that they need to be in contact with the outside as often as they can. It is not only good for them but for their families and relationships.

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