Welcome to the Charles Lea Center!

Enhancing Lives. Encouraging Dreams.

Simply said, the Charles Lea Center supports each person as they work to achieve their fullest potential. From newborns to seniors we provide services that enhance the quality of life for approximately 1,600 children and adults in Spartanburg County with intellectual disabilities and/or chronic medical conditions. Our goal is to help each person live more indepently, and of course that means different things for everyone so we have an array of services including, residential, day and work. In addtion we offer early intervention and case management services.  Our services are based on the principles of person centered thinking that looks at the strengths of each person and uses those skills to promote greater independence.
As a vital community resource for almost half a century, the Charles Lea Center provides innovative services coupled with the latest in technology that cannot be found elsewhere in South Carolina.
We hope you’ll take time to explore our website – we’ve got a lot happening!

The Art of Meeting (And Making) New Friends

The Art of Meeting (And Making) New Friends

Despite how connected our society is through technology, more and more people today struggle to build and sustain in-person relationships. During our day-to-day lives of working, coming home, sleeping, waking up and repeating the whole process over again, it can be challenging to actually meet new people… and then find the time to build friendships. 

In fact, there is a genuine skill to meeting new people and establishing relationships with them. And, you don’t even have to be a social butterfly to master it! Here are some tips on the art of meeting (and making) new friends.

Invite your neighbors over. 
One of the simplest ways to get to know people is to meet those right around you. Your neighbors are already in the same community as you, so get to know them better by inviting them over to your house for a cup of coffee or dinner.

Join a hobby club. 
No matter what you love to do, there is a club for that. Evaluate your interests and see if you can find a club or organization in your area with like-minded people. If you don’t have any hobbies, then find the most intriguing clubs and pick one to start with!

Go to a coffee shop. 
Coffee shops are full of different, fascinating people. If you want to meet new friends, go to a coffee shop and hang out there for a day. Read a book, work on a project and take the opportunity to say hello to someone next to you and get to know them.

Start with a compliment. 
Everyone loves feeling flattered, so an easy way to start a new conversation is with a compliment. Give out genuine, positive compliments to the people around you to serve as social lubricant and let the conversation flow.

Consider your body language. 
Body language is an important—yet often overlooked—part of communication. As you talk with other people, subtly evaluate your own body language. Keep your torso, chest and abdomen open as a way to show approachability, and avoid crossing your arms, checking your phone or hiding your hands.

Ask intriguing questions. 
Remember: people love talking about themselves. So, help build the relationship quickly by asking intriguing questions whenever possible. Personal questions show your interest in the other person, and can accelerate the intimacy in the relationship. Therefore, skip the small talk when you can and focus on deeper subjects that really matter.

Volunteer for a cause. 
If you want to meet new friends and make a difference for a cause you care about, why not do both at the same time? Volunteer with an organization in your community and get to know people who have similar interests as you. The more you serve, the more people you can meet and stronger friendships you build.

Take the leap.
Ultimately, the best way to meet new people and make new friends is to take the leap and put yourself out there. It can be scary to try and make friends—particularly for fear of rejection. But, without an initial effort, you will never meet new friends. Dig down deep to muster up the courage so you can get out of your comfort zone and build new relationships.

Despite being more connected than we have ever been before, people today still struggle with meeting others and building relationships. But, making friends isn’t something exclusive to social butterflies—it’s a skill you can learn and practice. Try out these tips so you can master the beautiful art of meeting and making new friends.