Six ways a mate can change your life


At Rapt! We believe teamwork is dream work. We all occasionally need a shoulder to lean on, and success and happiness mean more when they are shared. Life isn’t a solo sport. To make the most of it you need to be surrounded by a solid group of mates. But that’s easier said than done.

From our first days at school through to life in the workplace, we’re always navigating our way through social scenes looking for our tribe. So what makes a mate? Is it just someone that you’ve known for a while, or something much more?

To answer this, we got in touch with the Breakin’ Borders dance crew – a group of mates doing what they love. You might have seen their break dancing video – this time we will be breaking down their words of advice. Take a peep at their tips below and be inspired to connect with your buds on an even deeper level. Here’s what Breakin’ Borders had to say about mateship:

1. Find hobbies and things you like to do

Everybody has a hobby that they like to fill their spare time with, whether it be crafty, sporty, or techy; it’s nearly guaranteed that there’s a community of people out there that enjoy doing the same thing as you. Nothing can bring people closer together than a shared goal. Finding like-minded people who enjoy the same things is a fast track to friendship.

You’ll find your passion for the hobby only grows too – a win-win! Exposing yourself to new ideas and new techniques from your mates can give you a new outlook, and a bit of friendly competition never hurt anyone. Roger Federer didn’t get this good by playing tennis against a wall.

So get down to your local club and sign up; if your hobby doesn’t have a team, start one! Take us for example; we’re a group of young guys from Sydney’s West that turned our individual passion for break dancing into a tight-knit crew that now spans across the globe.

2. Make sure you surround yourself with people that you can talk to and don’t be afraid to open up first

When we’re going through a hard time, there’s comfort in having someone that understands how you feel. Breakin’ Borders shows how important it is to surround yourself with good mates that aren’t afraid to open up and talk deep every now and then. If you’re the one who is struggling, don’t be afraid to start a conversation.

Easier said than done, right? It might be tough but someone has to bite the bullet and be the first to speak. If you can find the strength to share your challenges, it will make it much, much easier for your mates to talk too.

Once you establish that trust, it might open the floodgates for more!

If you’re unsure on how to achieve this… First step is to be in a comfortable environment to chat. It’s hard to open up in a large group, so it’s usually best to do this one on one or with a small crew of close friends. Secondly, having something to focus on makes tough conversations less intense. The activity could be anything from shooting hoops, going for a bike ride or even just throwing a ball back and forth. You name it! Conversations just flow so much better when you’re on the go or doing something with your hands. 

So in a nutshell. Surround yourself with mates that allow you to be vulnerable and to be your true self. Everyone goes through the same stuff, so don’t be afraid to be the first to open up. That’s what true friends are here for.

3. Be patient, but also give energy to those you connect with

Friends don’t grow on trees but they do need to be nurtured like one, no need for the pruning and watering however simply giving your time and energy to one another should be enough. Firm friendships and friendship circles like ours at Breakin’ Borders are built around time spent with each other. So be generous but at the same time be patient, everyone runs at a different pace and an understanding of each other is key to getting on the same level.

Friendships can’t be forced and generally they have to happen fluidly. They also require a bit of effort. This doesn’t have to mean anything grandiose, occasionally tagging each other in memes or reacting to their Instagram story still counts as effort. As long as you show someone that you are thinking about them, that can be enough. So be patient, understand that people are busy, and cherish the moments that you do have together. You may find it scary to reach out initially, but know that most people are just as eager to make friends as you are.

4. Don’t waste time on people that drain your energy

Is it always you making the effort? Are you always the one sharing your LCM bars with no reciprocation in sight? Are you the one always tagging your mates just to receive zero replies? Friendship is a two-way street and whilst it is great to have a lot of friends you have to decide whether or not they have your best interests at heart.

Having a few close friends that have your back is better than having a lot of distant ones that only think of themselves. If you come to realise that your friends are draining your energy for one reason or another – take a step back and ask yourself “is it worth it?”. This may help to distinguish who your real mates are and let the others know you won’t be taken for granted.

5. Listen to what each of you has to say

A crew is not just dancing together. If your family had to compete against your friends in a ‘who knows me better’ quiz, who would win? For many people, it would be their friends. What you really want to find is people that are in the middle of the friends vs family venn diagram – friends that are like family. Breakin’ Borders is more than a dance crew – some of us have lost family so we need to be there for each other like brothers.

You want a support network like ours that is there for the good times and the bad. These types of friends aren’t afraid to tell you the truth. That you have zaatar stuck in your teeth. That your beard fade needs refreshing. That your post-quarantine mullet looks ‘a little whack, mate!’

A close friend, just like your family, won’t be afraid to call you out when you #%&* up and say something out of line. If you’ve ever had a friend pull you up on something, that’s a sign that they’re a friend to keep. It’s a sign that they might even know you better than you know yourself.

Lastly, friends that are like family are there to inspire you. They help you to dream big and chase your goals. The more they achieve the more you will want to match them. When you’re together, you become better.

6. Find people that listen and make sure you listen back

When someone asks ‘how’s it going?’, it’s not often you get the chance to answer that question truthfully. You can’t exactly spill your guts to the Woolies cashier. That’s where good friends step in.

Having mates that you can freely vent your feelings to is important. Throughout your life it’ll be your friends that you confide in the most. It’s essential to find people that are able to truly listen. Even if they aren’t able to give a solution – it’s still good to have someone validate your feelings from time to time. One more thing to remember, is that friendship is a two way street and you should be prepared to listen back.

Well there you go, some little insights into what makes a mate courtesy of the Breakin’ Borders dance crew. Take these tips on board and you’ll be king of the yard in no time. But really, someone smart once said ‘you’re an average of the five people you spend the most time with’. Which is why it’s so important to find the right ones.

Breakin’ Borders are a break dancing crew with members from all around the world. Find their projects on Facebook and Instagram below.

Breakin’ Borders are a break dancing crew with members from all around the world. Find our projects on Facebook and Instagram below. Check out their Instagram here 

This article was part of our Brotherhood series. Check out Sam from the Central Sydney Wolves on Why ‘sports ball’ can change your life.

Still keen for more? We asked Aladdin from ‘Brothers in Need’ what motivates him to go above and beyond for others, here.