Having meaningful connections in your life is such an important part of your wellbeing. Meaningful connections are generally defined as being significant relationships in your life which involve mutual respect, trust, interest, positive regard and making the other person feel valued. 

You can have meaningful connections with anyone involved in your life. These connections tend to happen with people you share common ground with and have a healthy solid foundation to build on to ensure the relationships last and have a positive impact on everyone involved.

Connections within your communities 

Over the years I’ve interacted with people in the chronic illness community, starting off online, and yes online safe spaces is somewhere that I’ve made meaningful connections without even meeting the people in person. 

My online friendships have been very meaningful to me and they had a positive impact on my wellbeing. They made me feel less alone and those few people that I developed true friendships with are still very important to me.

I later met other people who had similar experiences to me through social groups run by services like SCVS and Platfform who became my closest friends who made me feel better about myself.

We have the kind of connection where we have so much in common and can lift each other up, support each other and have adventures with and create meaningful memories that will stay with you even if the person you create them with doesn’t. 

I have also met fellow lgbtq+ people in my community who I have connected with and having that sense of community has made me feel less alone and I can talk to other queer individuals and ask their advice on lgbtq+ related stuff. 

Finding communities like this, whether it is in person or online has definitely made me more confident in being myself. It is the same with chronic illness and mental health groups, I feel like I can talk openly within these spaces which in turn helps me talk more openly in general spaces. 

Meaningful connections are not necessarily just with friends, family and people in specific supportive communities like I talked about above. Spending time within your local community can also help you develop meaningful connections with other locals. 

I go to a yoga class every week and although a lot of the people who attend are a lot older, I have become friendly with them and enjoy having a chat with them which is especially nice for people, myself or others, who have been isolated. I have also become friends with my yoga instructor over the years. 

I also hang out in local small coffee shops where I have become friendly with the owners and staff which is nice. Friendly community spaces are great places to spend time as you develop personal connections with the people around you, something that isn’t really possible in big cities and busy places. 

You may also develop a meaningful connection with a good therapist or a peer mentor that can support you through difficult periods in your life and having a good connection with them is key. You have to keep a professional distance and have boundaries in these kinds of relationships, but that doesn’t mean you can’t also have a strong, meaningful connection with them.

Meaningful relationships at different stages in your life 

It may be bittersweet, but the people you have meaningful connections with are not always in your life forever. For example, you may grow apart from your childhood friend, but that friend could have meant the world to you at that stage in your life, having a positive, healthy impact on you and that relationship may always stay with you. 

So many people can have positive impacts on your life and you might have a truly meaningful connection with them. From friends and partners to teachers and counsellors to community support groups, all these connections matter to you because they were essential at these stages in your life. 

However, life changes a lot when you’re young, our social circles change a lot and I believe some people come into your life at certain times for a reason and sometimes these people are in your life forever but sometimes they’re only in your life for a little while and it is bittersweet but their impact remains. 

You may not feel like you’ve had any meaningful connections yet but you’re still young! I was an adult when I first developed real friendships and most of my meaningful connections have come into my life later on. 

There is no time limit on developing true, meaningful connections and many come along when you least expect it by total coincidence. Meaningful connections come in all shapes and forms. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and meet new people but also don’t think you’re running out of time to develop important connections and relationships.

Now, I’m in my mid twenties and I’ve finally found my people. People I can relate to and trust, people I can create memories with. Some meaningful connections may not last forever but that’s okay, because they still have a positive impact on your life and will benefit you in the future. The more you grow, the easier it’ll be to find the right meaningful connections for you.