No worries. This post is not about calculating math. It’s about ways to add values to your relationships.
It all started when the other day, my dear friend challenged me to look at relationships as a math equation. On an one-on-one level, do I add to or subtract from a relationship? (Hope I add to). Hence, 1 + 1 = > 2.
A fair and sound question and here are three simple ways to add values to any relationships:
1. Be Mindful. It’s in our human nature that we spend most our time thinking about ourselves. However, to be in a mutually nurturing relationship, it really helps to pay attention to the person you care about. Deep connections usually form when your partner/friend/family member feels listened to and understood. What are his/her likes and dislikes? How are things going for him/her lately?
Here is the test. Recall the last three conversations you had with that person. What percentage of time you talked about yourself vs. what percentage of time you truly listened to the other person? Did you learn anything new about him/her? If the ratio is off, you probably talk too much. It never ceases to amaze me that people can talk up a storm but rarely listen. When we don’t listen, we miss the opportunity to learn and connect.
2. Be Thoughtful. Do you go out of your way to help a friend? The little things do make a big difference. My dear friend who is very handy often goes out of his way to help me and others with any repairs he is capable of doing. No joke, he almost always leaves the place or appliance in a better condition than it was first found.
Saying “thank you” or “I appreciate you” is not overrated. One of my good friends has a knack for writing the sweetest thank-you card. A person who picks out a card, sits down, takes out a pen and writes a couple meaningful sentences really sends out a message to me that she cares.
3. Be Equitable. Do you take more than you give in a relationship? Granted, not all relationships are 50/50 but when one constantly takes more than gives, it usually leaves the partner/friend/family member feeling resentful and discontent.
I know it’s not warm and fuzzy to look at your relationship like you look at your bank account. At the same time, it’s rather an useful analogy. it makes one examine the balance sheet of his/her relationship. Have you made emotional deposits lately to offset the withdrawals? Emotional deposits can be kind words and/or kind deeds. Withdrawals, well, you guess it, it’s the opposite of kindness or lack of.
Okay, it’s your turn, what are some ways you add to your relationships?