Formula for bonding
July 7, 2022

By Scott Thurber

I’ve made an observation about developing deeper bonds with people that I want to try to remember.

Like most, I have my long term close friends. And I often develop friendships with new acquaintances I meet in various work and social settings. But developing deeper relationships with these new acquaintances takes a long time.
Except with this cross country bike trip. I’ve developed deeper bonds— and faster—with some of my new colleagues in just the past six weeks of riding.
 
What’s different about this trip? I’ve observed three elements: shared values, a challenging shared goal, and shared pain/hardship.
 
Having shared values and goals is pretty obvious to deep relationships. It’s harder for me to develop close bonds with people where I don’t share similar priorities. And I want to share a desire to achieve meaningful goals.
 
The third element (shared pain/hardship) is the new insight for me. I’ve seen firsthand that when people endure hardship together they develop stronger bonds. And when the hardship is significant, coupled with a accomplishing a shared goal and based on shared values and priorities, the bond is even stronger.
 
Some of the shared hardships I’ve gone through with fellow Fuller Center cross country riders include communal living, early wake-ups and challenging riding conditions (rain, headwinds, roads under construction, etc).
 
As a result, there are roughly half a dozen people who I didn’t know a mere six weeks ago who I wouldn’t hesitate to invite to stay at my house, and share resources with and help them in any way I can if needed. I know they would do likewise.
 
If you’re looking to grow deeper relationships, or build a more cohesive team, consider adding a shared hardship experience to the values and goals that you likely already share.
 

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