“The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.” – Carl Jung.
I looked up many definitions for the word ‘relationship’ regarding human beings, and the one common thread was ‘connection’. There were three main connections defined; through blood, through marriage or an emotional connection between people. But are these the only connections we have in a relationship? When first born, babies start to form relationships with their parents immediately. As they grow, they form relationships with other family members and people in the community. This seems to be a very natural part of being a human. So, why would this be such an important skill to develop further? Some would argue that this skill is vital for us to thrive in the various communities that we all live in. Many employers are looking for people who are skilled in this area.
Ever since I was a teenager, I’ve always had a job when I wanted one. I worked delivering newspapers, helping the milkman, working in a pharmacy making deliveries on my bike and cleaning up in a butcher’s shop. As I grew older, I started to work in restaurants where I developed my love of food and working with people. I believe that I have been able to get these jobs by building relationships with a wide range of different people.
Another benefit of being able to form relationships with others could be that we may be able to collaborate more effectively. It may also help us to simply enjoy being around others.
This week, choose one of the following to try together with the family. Feel free to adjust one of them to make it more suitable for your family.
- Ask someone what they are really passionate about and listen to what they have to say without interrupting them.
- Phone a friend or relative and discuss a fond memory you have about them.
- Go for a walk down the street. Every time you pass someone, make eye contact and give them a smile.
- Do something extra by helping at home without being asked.
- Organise a picnic and invite other families along.
- Write a card to someone and tell them something that you really like about them.
- Tell someone that you love them and give them a really big hug.
- Next time you are at school or work, talk to someone who you don’t normally talk to.
- Organise a board game or card game afternoon with some friends.
- Go for a walk or bike ride with a friend or family member.
For me, forming relationships with other human beings is what I really love to do. For most of my working life, I have worked with people. I love working with others and I like to be of service to them, helping in any way that I can. My wife, Sandi, knows that I like to spend time with others. Before we had children, when we were out with friends or at a party, she would tell me she was ready to leave. We both had an unspoken mutual understanding that this was about a one-hour warning. As usual, the hour passed with me talking to anyone who would listen. I was always surprised when she came up and told me she was ready. Where did that last hour go? Things changed when we had our daughter, Daisy. The unspoken ‘one-hour warning’ completely disappeared. Sandi wouldn’t tell me that she was ready to leave, it was replaced with “Let’s go!” Either Daisy was crying or hungry (or both), or we had to get home to Daisy if she was there with grandparents. I’m not really sure if this story is all about forming relationships, but sometimes a story helps us to connect and form relationships together.
“When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion.” Dale Carnegie.