Student Debbie chats to psychotherapeutic counsellor Ntale about making meaningful connections at university to protect your mental health.
How to make and maintain meaningful connections
Debbie and Ntale talk about how to make and maintain meaningful connections. Ntale emphasises the importance of thinking about some of the questions you want to ask yourself when meeting new people and making connections. He makes the distinction of, rather than thinking or feeling like you need to please everyone, ask yourself, 'Does this place fit me? Does it feel like what I'm doing in these places fits my vision of who I want to be?'
I feel lonely when I’m around people I don’t connect with. Is this normal?
Ntale talks about how normal it is to feel lonely when you're around other people - in today's society there's so much you have to do and be - and how loneliness is the feeling of being stuck and not knowing how to get out of that place and connect with other people. Ntale's advice is to figure out what's making you feel stuck in order to address that feeling of being lonely.
How do I look after my wellbeing if I get tired meeting new people?
Ntale talks about the ways in which you can let people know that you have needs and they're important, just as important as what they want and need. He touches on how the different ways of saying no in order to protect your mental health can be used, for example if you're feeling a little tired or can't make an engagement because you need to rest, it's okay to tell your friend you feel this way.
I struggle with balancing old friends with new uni friends, what can I do?
Ntale talks about how sometimes we tend to compartmentalise our friends, and how there's a severing of things and parts of ourselves. 'The person I am with one person might not be the same as the person I am with someone else.' Sometimes it's an intentional realisation to try and not compartmentalise some friendships and how bringing old and new people together can be enlightening.
What advice would you give to your younger self about making meaningful connections?
Ntale opens up about the advice he would give to his younger self about making meaningful connections. He talks about how just being yourself is the most important thing to keep in mind when making new connections. He emphasises the importance of being with people and recognising where they are coming from, and allowing yourself to be yourself with those people. All of those connections will be meaningful in some way or another.