“Do what you can to show you care about other people, and you will make our world a better place.” – Rosalynn Carter
When I think about my purpose, relationships are the top of the list. Material objects fade. I want to concentrate my time and energy on the family, friends and strangers that touch my life.
Here’s a few ways I stay connected and build those relationships.
1. Reach out
A classmate of mine passed away a few years ago. I remember it clearly because he lived alone and his body was discovered several days after he died. I don’t want that to be my obituary.
I know that is up to me though. Each day, I have reminders on my phone to reach out to specific friends. When I first started doing this I felt like I was cheating, as if there was a secret guidebook stating I needed to remember without assistance or it didn’t count.
Now I believe reaching out is the priority and if there is a way I can make that easier it just means I can reach out to more people.
Are you a texter? Send a quick text. Prefer phone calls? Set aside time to do some chatting. Like writing letters? Stock up on greeting cards on the dollar store.
2. Track information
Not only do I set reminders but I track information. Did my friend mention her grandson’s birthday? Put it on my calendar. Does my nephew have a favorite chocolate? Add it to his contact information. I also do my best to track the last time I sent a card or shared a photo.
3. Make “quality” time
There is not enough time in the day to reach out to every single person so when I do spend time with someone I try to make it count. For example, my niece is always eager to hang out. I could have her over once a week at least but it would be boring trips to my house and I would be tired from work and unmotivated to really interact. We would probably just watch a movie and go to bed. So instead, I wait and make sleepovers an event. We go for a walk, make dinner together and play a game. I’m prepared and have energy. And hopefully, she will treasure it.
4. Choose to
In order to build relationships, you must make a choice that it is important. If your priority is your career, than that is what you are going to build. Take a minute to inventory your time. Where ddi you spend it this week? Who did you spend time with? How did you log your hours? Be intentional about the way you invest your time.
Anytime you are with someone, listen to them. Set aside distractions. Put away the cell phone. Listen to their words. Mimic their movements. Repeat back what they say. All of the active listening techniques. Dont build relationships just because. Build relationships because people are creative and fascinating. You’ll be blessed.