I’ve had a lot going on lately. We’ve been battling sickness, helping plan our church’s Easter production, work a full-time outside of the home, raising two children with my amazing husband, and the list could go on and on.
In my home we call this a “season of life” and everyone’s been there. A text from my sister-in-law asking me how I as doing, made me stop and realize that if I want to cultivate authentic relationships with people I must be intentional and make a plan. No one cares what you do to remember them, they just care that you remember them. You are never too busy to show someone you care.
“To the world, you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world.”
Write it down
Whether you are a paper and pen type of person, a digital organizer a little of both; you’ve got to write things down. The physical act of writing strengthens your memory. Sometimes I write things down simply because it will help me remember. Pages of notes and Post-Its are scattered on my desk and their only purpose was to help me remember. If you want to get together with someone, schedule it and write it down.
Set a reminder
One of my favorite iOS apps is Reminders. I have multiple reminders set up to go daily. Things like “Pray for Drama Department,” “Menu Plan,” etc. If someone asks me a question and I need to get back with them, I open up reminders and set an alert to go off when I know I will be able to get back with them.
If I feel to contact someone and see how they are doing, why not set a reminder on my phone? Usually, I’m in the middle of something when I think of them and can’t stop what I’m doing to make a phone call or send a text. I want to have authentic, meaningful relationships with people, so like I mentioned before I “write it down” by scheduling a reminder in my phone. Plus those reminders annoy me until I complete the task.
Put your phone down already! I can’t believe how many people still do not realize that quality time is not sitting on the couch with your friend and checking your Facebook. The world will not end if you are not up-to-date on Facebook and we don’t need a constant Snapchat update of your day. (Also a side note, your friend may not want to have your meeting uploaded on social media. I always ask before I post anything that involves other people outside of my immediate family.)
In my home, I make a point to always put my phone in a resting place. This is a place where I can hear it if it should ring, but home time is focused on my family. When I’m out with friends, I turn my phone on silent and put away so that I can focus on the conversation. Let’s be real, talking to someone who has their head down and looking at their phone is like talking to a brick wall… you’re getting nowhere.
Focus on what matters
In most instances, you are not the focus of the conversation. People feel most comfortable when talking about themselves. When investing in people and creating a bond of trust, people want to be appreciated. One way to show that is to ask open-ended questions of the other, give them time to answer and allow them to ask you about your life.
When I’m focused on strengthing my relationships, I always make a point to return every answer with a question. Most conversations start with, “How are you doing?” You simply answer on a positive note and say, “How about you?” Actually those three words “how about you” are really important to learning more.
My husband and I love to engage in speaker/listener conversations. We each take turns speaking and the other has to repeat, in their own words, what they heard us say. Then we get the opportunity to let the other know if they heard us correctly.