…but doesn’t it happen naturally? We surround ourselves with relationships of all kinds, yet are we conscious of the way our interactions carve out these relationships? Maintaining relationships isn’t something we actively do; we just do it. Yet, if we took time to analyze the way we talk and act, we would realize that there’s so much more we could do to just be better people to other people.
In the next few articles, we are going to devote focus towards the relationships we have with others. How we ignite them, and how we continue them. To give an overview of this art form, we can break up the topic into a few segments.
1) Identifying People
This sounds harsh, but the first thing we have to do is to identify if these are people we truly want to devote time and energy to. Not everyone is going to gel with you and it’s important to get this out of the way quickly. In a business context, employers are likely to find this segment important –should I hire that guy, and how would I know for sure?
2) Setting the Tone
Relationships are different in nature –that’s a no-brainer. The next step in a relationship is to establish how that relationship is going to function. Of course, it happens naturally, but every now and then we may confuse our roles. Some bosses try to aim for a casual relationship when the business environment just doesn’t support it. Some friends think that their relationship demands an active role, when sometimes their friend just doesn’t resonate with their interference. Knowing what other people expect from a relationship is a useful thing to note.
3) Communicating Effectively
This should be easy –but it’s harder than it sounds. In many cases, we commit basic mistakes in communication. We talk with focus solely on ourselves; we fail to “get” where another is coming from; we talk about things that simply don’t interest another. These are things that just go over our head, but how did you feel the last time someone caught you in a boring, uninteresting conversation? Maintaining a relationship is also about making the relationship worth their time; communicating effectively just does that.
4) Developing the Relationship
Where do we go next? This segment of maintaining relationships focuses on uplifting others. Developing a relationship largely depends on the nature of that said relationship, be it personal or business-orientated. Personal relationships develop through attention, time, and common interests; whereas professional ones develop through… attention, time, and common interests. Regardless, the nuances in each relationship form will dictate how each relationship plays out.
As a general rule of thumb, business relationships lie in the realm of opportunities, where employers use opportunities to carve out an employee’s role, and employees strive to seek them out.
There’s more than meets the eye when it comes to relationships. Rather than leave relationships to the hands of the universe to maintain, perhaps it’s time start paying attention to their development. No one’s an island –and we should recognize others as more than passive players in our lives.