Once a full blown blazing extrovert, I still carry fire and sass in my veins, making it almost impossible for my heart rate to beat like others. 

However, as time has passed, I cherish the intimacy of my own space, always in short shorts and loose t-shirts, immersing myself behind a computer with words, research, and contemplation of relationships.

This past year beneath this dichotomy I’ve been in the rebuilding stage— not just personally and physically, but also with relationships. I’ve allowed myself to start over, building and creating connections that mold my world. 

I don’t go too fast, and I use my gut instincts to determine how intimately I allow someone into my life. My process is slow, thoughtful, and intentional.

As I began creating new friendships, recently an age old lesson from my mom has totally changed the way I view these experiences.

A basket of eggs

How to Move from a Codependent Relationship to an Interdependent One

Did Your Mom Ever Tell You: “Don’t Put Too Many Eggs in One Basket?”

Transforming my reliance on a single individual to fulfill all my emotional needs, I discovered the importance of building a diverse network of supportive people around me to enhance my emotional well-being.

“Don’t Put Too Many Eggs in One Basket” was one of my mom’s signature lines for me growing up. What she meant was “Don’t invest too much in one person, relationship, or situation” in case it goes nowhere or goes sour.

I realize now she was trying to protect my heart. 

Like most kids and teenagers, I took some of my mom’s advice, but often it would go in one ear and out the other. But today, decades later, I realize this piece of advice is perhaps the most important.

Rebuilding Relationships with Purpose & Intention

In a profound shift, I've redefined the way I navigate through life. I've transitioned into a dynamic and broader community, purposefully seeking and embracing connections with new, diverse individuals.

I've transformed my approach, steering clear of overinvesting in a singular person, tie, or situation. Instead of entrusting my emotional assets solely to one connection, I've adopted the metaphorical dozen-egg carton philosophy.

Picture this: the base of the carton represents the trusted circle of friends and family, a sturdy foundation built on mutual trust, love, and respect. This core group, five or six strong, forms the backbone. These selected few serve as anchors, bringing varied perspectives, experiences, and energies into my world.

Now, here's the twist – the remaining six slots in my carton are carefully selected for a diverse range of individuals, for me spanning genders and ages from 15 to 75. These are the individuals who might not even be aware that they've been handpicked as each person adds a distinctive flavor to my existence.

In navigating the delicate dance of relationships, I've elevated my approach, infusing intentionality into the art of connection. It's not just about rebuilding; it's about crafting a genuine, unmatched bond.

A carton of decorated eggs

Five Strategies for Building Meaningful Connections

  • Nurture each relationship separately. First and foremost, I cultivate each relationship with precision, recognizing the unique assets that drew me to each individual. Some I confide in without reservations, others evoke laughter in ways that are unmatched, and a few create a sanctuary where I feel both secure and challenged. There are those rare gems who effortlessly embody all these qualities, and I dub them “jackpots.”
  • There is no judgment. I like them exactly as they are. I don’t want, or need to, try and change them. I love them exactly as they are. I have their back, and I hope they have mine. 

  • Set the perfect pace for each individual. Time is on our side, not against us. I try to develop each situation over time, allowing space for each of us to grow, yet still maintaining the connection. Smothering is not an option. 

  • They fill up my cup, and I try to return the favor. These people are an exchange of positive energy, a reciprocal filling of cups. Through active listening and genuine care, I wholeheartedly believe in them. 

  • Each connection is authentic. What you see is undeniably what you get. There has to be a gut feeling that I can trust this person, either with handling my heart, or engaging my intellect. There's an unspoken understanding, and if the connection isn't palpable, it simply doesn't exist. It’s either there, or it isn’t—  never forced.

But most importantly, if I must be truthful, remembering to never place my head or my heart in one individual. The scars from the lessons of heartbreak will forever be with me. Even a glimpse of the possibility of loss or hurt throws me right back in my shell.

Despite this reality, comes the knowledge we’ll go nowhere if we constantly stay protected. We can never again experience something great if we don’t let others in. 

 So here's to the sexiness of the allure, the authenticity, and the unspoken bonds that defy judgment and time—  a kick-ass testament to the incredible connections that define our unspoken opportunities.