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Making friends when you were a kid was easy.
You just asked: “Do you wanna play?”, and if they said yes, you made a new friend.

Making friends as an adult is hard.

When I first came to Canada I didn’t think I’ll stay for very long, so I didn’t really invest into building strong connections with the people I met. But when I decided to make Canada my home a few years later I realized that it is really hard to deeply connect with Canadians.

Everyone was so friendly and polite. They all asked “How is it going?”, but they didn’t really care about my answer. All they wanted to hear is “Fine, thanks and how are you?”.

Most of my conversations stayed at the surface level and that made me wonder:

Is it because I am German?

Are the rumours true? Am I really reserved, shy, emotionless, stoic, …? Is that the reason why I can’t seem to connect with people?

I thought again about how kids have it so easy:

All you have to do is find the people you like and because you’re hanging out with the same ones every day at school or college it’ easy to grow a deep relationship simply based on the number of hours you out in every week.

And if you’re lucky you’ll keep those friends for the rest of your life.

A lot of Canadians I met had their “cliques”, their tight circles of friends and they were almost impossible to penetrate and get in.

After living in Canada for several years I started imagining what would happen if I never found a close group of friends, the same way I had in Germany:

  • I already had a hard time staying in touch with my best friends from back home in Germany, so those relationships will just fade away over time.
  • I was in a committed relationship with my – now wife, but what if she becomes my only close friend? I’ll be putting a lot of pressure on our marriage because I don’t have anyone to share my relationship struggles with. Who knows how long we would be able to stay together like that?
  • I’ll probably spend way too much time sitting on the couch binge watching Netflix shows and endlessly scrolling through Facebook, sitting with the jealousy about everyone else’s perfect lives because I gave up on the idea of socializing.
  • All my negative thoughts will take over my life because there is no one to share my problems and challenges with.

Although I am living in a city with millions of other people, and thousands of Facebook friends, I will still feel disconnected and lonely.

"Loneliness is a serious of a health risk as smoking a pack of cigarettes a day"

~ Campaign to end Loneliness

And then something happened.

I attended a weekend retreat that changed my life forever because in 48 hours I made 34 new friends. And I am not talking about surface level friends, but a group of people that makes me feel supported and loved when sharing personal and even vulnerable stories.

This is when I realized the power of deep and meaningful conversations.

Since then my mission has become to create more opportunities and spaces for these conversations to happen. To empower people who feel disconnected with the tools to deeply connect with each other.

I can proudly share that since the creation of ASK DEEP QUESTIONS, less than a year ago almost 20,000 deep conversations have been started (based on about 400 decks sold with 48 questions in each deck), friendships have been sparked and some attendee may (or may not – the jury is still out on this one) have fallen in love at one of my events.

Most of all people keep telling me that this has been the first time in a while that they fell seen and heard – a true feeling of belonging for who they truly are.

"Every Conversation is an Invitation to Risk Revealing the Real You"

~ Keith Ferrazzi

My goal is to create a space where you feel brave enough to be vulnerable.

This is not what some people call a “safe space”, but a “brave” space. A safe space usually indicates that you won’t have to take risks and stay in your comfort zone, but connection happens the fastest when you have the courage to be vulnerable.

Being truly seen requires you to show up fully.

? PS: The best way to take new relationships to the next level and increase the chance of making new friends quickly for me has become hosting Deep Dinners. To learn more check out my Deep Dinner Playbook.

DEEP DINNER PLAYBOOK

I believe that strangers are just friends we haven’t met yet, so what better way to connect with strangers and friends by inviting them for an intimate dinner?

I put together my Deep Dinner Playbook to make your next dinner a memorable experience that your guests will rave about for months.

Jan Keck

Jan Keck

Jan’s mission is to help people feel less alone, so by creating experiences, workshops and programs he is fueling the movement for deeper human connection. His work has been featured on TEDx, CBC News, Breakfast TV, Cityline and HuffPost and he is currently building a community of facilitators that design the MAGICAL HUMAN MOMENTS online.

One Comment

  • Tricia says:

    Thanks for sharing yourself so openly Jan. It has helped many. Personally your words have given me strength in my struggles with making friends in a new area as an adult.