Welcome to part four of The Sanity Plan Principles series. The fourth principle is:
Why do we need to “Forge Close Relationships?”
I bet you could instantly think of several reasons why you need close relationships. Relationships are a key component of our humanity. We live and thrive in an interconnected world.
But just knowing a ton of people is not enough. When you take a relationship deeper than just a casual acquaintance you can get so much more out of it.
Close relationships offer a sense of community. We become aware of the fact that we are not alone in this journey. We become tuned in to the needs of others outside of our immediate circles.
When you work to develop these relational bonds, you have someone to fall back on when you really need it the most. I’ve noticed that people are more likely to help one another when a connection has been established.
How do we “Forge Close Relationships?”
Note my use of the action word “forge.” I carefully chose this word because I want to emphasize the fact that it is our job to take action to create deeper relationships. They do not always happen naturally or without effort.
There are lots of ways to strengthen your relationships.
You can do this by sharing more intimately with the person. Instead of talking about a subject at the surface, dig a little deeper, express how you think or feel about the subject.
You can do this by sharing how you feel about the person directly. Do you tell them that you love them? Are you physically affectionate? And I am not just speaking about romantic relationships, although this applies in that case as well.
Can you deepen the relationship by helping the other person? An offer to help with your time or expertise can be a great relationship builder. This can be especially when it comes to business networking.
Beware of the Social Media Trap
It is really easy to fall into the trap of corresponding with family, friends, and work acquaintances primarily via social media. Even the use of digital communications such as text or email can be a barrier to closeness and understanding.
Have you ever gotten a message from someone that just came out wrong? No matter how you looked at it or tried to consider their point of view, it just came across as rude or distant.
This is because digital communications are missing some of the fundamental aspects of human interaction: facial expressions, body language, affect, tone, etc.
I know that I need close relationships in my life. When I begin to keep too many of my thoughts and emotions to myself, I default to feeling very alone.
I am extremely fortunate to have found a husband who I can share intimately with. This relationship is the backbone of my life. I also use emotional language with my children, parents, and siblings.
Outside of family, I’ve had a lot harder of a time developing friendships. I moved a lot throughout my life and haven’t had particularly longstanding friendships due to that. I like to have only a few really good friends at a time because I put a lot of energy into my relationships.
With my existing friends, I try to call them regularly (see social media above) and I like to get together with them as much as we can. I also know that I prefer to meet one on one with a friend, or even as two couples. Any more than that tends to overwhelm me.
I’ve made a bunch of new friends recently. I picked a couple of local women in a similar life stage to mine (with young kids) and really worked to get close with them. I am persistent in making plans to do play dates, balancing between being the host and the hosted (I like to be as fair as possible in sharing the burden). And when we do get together, I am honest and real, which often solicits a similar level of sharing in return. And as a result, I’ve been feeling a lot more connected to other people in my life.
Do you feel close to your family and friends right now? Are there any relationships that you would like to improve?
Next principle: Be Solution Oriented
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