They say that on our deathbed, no one wishes they worked more.
It's our relationships with others that give our lives meaning.
But relationships take work! Just like keeping your car, home, or body in good conditions, relationships take maintenance.
The Importance Of Relationships
Can you remember your feelings when an acquaintance became a good friend?
Or when a team member reached out to give you extra support?
Or when a neighbour did something thoughtful for you?
Interpersonal relationships give us a sense of connection. And by connecting with others, we better understand who we are ourselves.
Close relationships contribute to an overall sense of well being and can help us:
Feel appreciated and seen
Understand different perspectives
Advance in our careers
Feel a greater sense of purpose
True or False: All relationships deteriorate over time.
Why Relationships Fade
Many relationships (friendships in particular) can drift apart as we grow older, often when we:
Move to different cities
Get more invested in our careers
Just feel "too busy"
But if close relationships are important to you, you need to prioritize them and put in effort.
Tactics To Keep Your Relationships Strong
Relationships are dynamic. People get closer with regular interaction and drift apart when other things in life drag your attention away.
To maintain close relationships over time:
Woody Allen said "80% of life is showing up" - the same can be said of relationships. Did an old friend invite you to see their new show or for a coffee? Accept the invitation! People remember who shows up for them.
Technology has made it easier than ever to check in with each other. And while birthdays, holidays, and special occasions are great reasons to reach out, the truth is you don't need a special reason to talk. When someone crosses your mind, send a quick message or give them a call. Don't overthink it.
Keep OTR in mind
Relationships prosper on openness (0), trust (T), and respect (R). Being overly private creates a sense of distance, while mutual trust is the bedrock of meaningful relationships. Close relationships require that you share honestly.
When you do make time to see or call the people in your life, give them your full attention. This means actively listening to them and putting aside distractions like your phone. It's a simple but powerful way to impact the way people feel about you.
Time is the true test of relationships. But with a little effort, you can stay connected to the people who matter to you.
Take a minute to think about how often you connect with your pals from childhood, old jobs, or an old neighborhood. How would you feel to totally lose touch with them?
Pick one person you care about who you haven't connected with in a while.
Send them a text, email, or pick up the phone and give them a call.
What are you waiting for?
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