Connecting with others is an important part of our physical and mental well-being. When we take small steps to open up and connect with those around us, we can add meaning to our lives and feel supported in reaching our goals.

We asked our Thrive Stars to share with us the small strategies that help them stay connected to the people in their lives. Which of these tips will you try?

Schedule check-ins with your friends

“My best friend moved to a town four hours away just over a year ago, and though we try to connect every day, she works night shifts and I work day shifts, so the time difference in our schedules makes it very difficult to balance sometimes. Some of the Microsteps like planning time to connect has been very important for us. We’ve been making that time to devote specifically for time to have a conversation. I make time specifically on our shared days off to call, and catch up. This has been imperative because we’re on such different schedules as she’s sleeping while I’m working and vice versa.”

—Amanda Rogers, Walmart #1016,  NS, Canada

Send around a funny meme

“With it being graduation season right now, I recently called many of my friends from high school as we now have children graduating from high school and college.  It was fun to reminisce. I like posting a meme to begin conversations. I also send music videos (the 80’s were amazing!) and tell my friends what the song means to me and ask them what song speaks to them.  It is so fun to see how people’s mood for that day affects what they post. II also send silly texts at random times, sending a picture of the tree outside my office or a movie quote. It is a fun and easy way to stay connected. 

—Jeanna Hale, Store 1731, Geneva NY

Start a “special mailbox” tradition

“My older sister Jeanette and I have a tradition called our ‘special mailbox.’ She has a Michigan mailbox near her garage, and on the days that I work, I stop by after my shift and leave a treat in the mailbox for her, and she leaves a treat for me. We also both leave a ‘Love You’ note on a notepad. She lives about 15 miles from the Walmart I work at, and I take the longer route home for our special tradition.”

—Brenda Glover, Walmart #4399, Cassopolis, MI

Call your kids when you’re on a walk

“I try to stay in contact with my daughters on a daily basis. My daughters are 26 and 24 and we are very close. Although they both now live twenty minutes away, we still make sure to text every day. While I am on walks, I also like to give them a phone call. This not only gives me a chance to get some exercise, but it also makes me motivated to walk more. I love talking or texting with my girls. They are the world to me. “ 

—Tammy Duncan, Walmart #5708, Alberta, Canada

Plan a movie day with a friend

“As an introverted extrovert I am OK being out and about, but I prefer being home. The Thrive Challenge encouraged me to set plans with a close friend who hates texting, and I hate talking on the phone. We’re planning a movie day right now. She loves my son so he’ll come along. I’m pretty busy right now, so this Challenge reminded me that I’m trying to engage more and go out. It is helping me to take the small steps that make me get out of my shell.”

—Kathleen Wallace, Walmart #3738, Cheswick, PA

Reach out to show your appreciation

“One tip I have for connecting with people in my life is to always communicate and show appreciation. There are times I cannot see people face to face, but I always make it a point to reach out, communicate, show my appreciation, and remind them that to me, they are amazing. I just strive to have a positive impact on a person’s day.” 

—Kayla Rollans, Walmart Home Office, Bentonville, AR

Plan a day to volunteer at your kid’s school

“Connect with your child and plan a day off to volunteer at your child’s school, or drive your child on the next planned field trip. And always let your employer know in advance days that you need off to be with your child. Someday our kids will grow up and you will wish you had taken that one day a year to make memories.” 

—Rachel Smith, Walmart #1843, McMinnville, OR 

Encourage your friends to stay positive 

​​”I go out for coffee with my friends and we talk about positive things that are going on in our lives. I also have this special friend who encourages me to keep up with the good work I’m doing with the Thrive Challenge. She’s like a mentor in my life right now. Having someone who keeps us encouraged to continue positive habits in our lives is so important.’

—Maryann Janzen, Walmart #1078, Alberta, Canada 

Try seeing things from other peoples’ perspectives

“My tip is  based on my relationship with a younger relative of mine. She and I went through difficult life experiences for different reasons, and our long distance communication was not open or loving. After several anger-filled exchanges, I stepped back and saw things from her perspective. I apologized, and she and I brought some uncomfortable life experiences and feelings to the surface that enabled us to start healing our connection and re-establish some trust. I now feel lighter and hopeful about our future.”

—Clare Creegan, Walmart #5823, Dallas, TX

Ask meaningful questions

“I always ask friends and my kids how they are feeling today, and I ask what they’ve experienced lately that affected them in a positive way. One question I ask when I haven’t communicated in a while is, ‘Are there any new changes or additions that have occurred in your life that you’ve celebrated or want to celebrate?’”

—Larasha Gray, Walmart #8221, New Orleans, LA

Schedule video chats with long distance friends

“I’ve connected with old friends back home in Nigeria recently. I had video chat with a few friends and showed them how things were made and done here in America. I showed them how I walk my dogs, and my workouts in the gym. It was a very good experience sharing with them the way of life here. I like to make calls and send texts to old friends, and they are delighted to catch up.” 

—Oladipo Olayemi, Walmart Customer, Janesville, WI 

Pick one day a week to reach out

“I choose one day a week just to reach out to family and friends. I usually go to a park and call or text to let them know I’m thinking of them and to see if they need anything. I also call or text immediately when someone comes to mind, even if it’s not my chosen day.”

—Naomi Scott, Walmart Customer, Occoquan VA

Keep eye contact during conversations

“An unexpected place where I found a special connection was at the beauty salon. After a greeting with a woman I met, we struck up a conversation and I connected with her story without even knowing each other. During the talk, I looked her in the eye and tried to put myself in her place and connect with her emotions. We should not minimize the emotions of our friends or people who approach us. We must listen carefully and make adequate physical contact if necessary, and always look others in the eye when they talk. We can be the light when there is darkness.”

—Ana Marleny Mercedes Gonzalez, Store, #2346, Toa Baja, PR