Create a Relationship That Matters Long Before It Matters

Category: Fraternity

Michelle Douglas

Delta Theta, Florida

Relationships often create opportunity where there is none. I’ve been writing down one thing I learned every day for more than 10 years and at the heart of many memorable and sometimes life-altering lessons is a relationship or the absence of one. It’s important to note that you have no way of knowing right now which relationships in your life might matter most later. Not all of your relationships will reveal themselves to be beneficial, but any of them has the potential to become one of your greatest assets in life.

Our days are made up of interactions, conversations, and connections that take place with others humans – and sometimes even with things. No matter who you are and where you are, these lessons are applicable to how you engage with the people all around you.

1. Surround yourself with people who are willing to lift as they climb.
These people are taking night classes, music lessons, or starting a business on the side while giving 100% to their full-time job. This is the type of person who is always working to improve themselves or others for the future, while still giving everything they have to the present. You want to work, live, and surround yourself with people who have this kind of drive and care for others. It’s contagious.

2. Live and act so that people feel compelled by you, never coerced by you.

3. Ask about what is good or best.
Think about how often we ask one another, “How are you? What’s new?” and the recipient of this question says something like, “Not much,” or, “Just busy with work.” What if instead of asking, “What is new?” we asked, “What is good for you right now?” or, “What in your life is at its best right now?” By changing a simple greeting and question we can learn more about each other and it will likely and more immediately become a deeper conversation.

4. Nurture your network.
Even with the luxury of technology, staying in touch with friends or former colleagues in other locations can be difficult. Maintaining a relationship when you see each other in person more regularly is still often easier. But it’s vital that you strengthen and nurture your network, no matter where you are. It’s never too late or been too long, and the worst thing that could happen is that someone won’t respond, or they’ll say they are too busy to connect.

This is true of every relationship—don’t hesitate to reach out. Maintain your friendships and connections even after you leave a job or move to a different city. Make it a point to check on your long-distance friends every other week and share an update with your former work colleagues once a quarter. It’s good for your professional life and the success of your work, but it’s also good for your friendships and the quality of your life.

5. Create a relationship that matters long before it matters.
It’s important that you create a relationship that matters with someone long before it matters whether or not you have a relationship with that person. It can be so simple. Remember to say hello to the security guard every morning. Be friendly to your IT teammate all the time, not just when you are submitting a repair ticket. Smile and speak to the neighbor you see in the elevator every day. Initiate and invest in the possibilities of relationships all around you, just because, and not because you’ll gain from it. In the end, you most likely still will.