“Relationships! We all got ‘em. We all want ‘em. What do we do with ‘em?”
That is a line from “Fruitcakes,” a song by my favorite musician, Jimmy Buffett (yes, I am a Parrothead)! He’s right…we all have them. Family, friends, acquaintances, co-workers, the mailman, your hairdresser…you get the picture. But, what do we do with them? It is important to foster relationships, especially in today’s social distance climate.
Here are three ways we can enhance our relationships in the new virtual, socially-distanced world.
- Use Technology. Zoom, FaceTime, Skype, Google Hang Out – there are multiple virtual meeting platforms at our disposal. Professionally, I have used Skype and Zoom for virtual meetings, sales presentations, and even happy hours! Personally, I have caught up with family and friends quite a bit through the same platforms. This is a great way to stay in touch face-to-face, or screen-to-screen as it may be. Multiple users can log on from anywhere in the world and you can talk as if you are all in the same room. One caveat, it has been my experience that there is definitely a law of diminishing returns in play. Too many people on one call can get confusing and unorganized quickly!
- Celebrate. Everyone likes a celebration. So many birthdays, graduations, milestones, and accomplishments go unrecognized these days. That is unfortunate as you never get those chances back. Again, technology can come in to play here. How about a virtual birthday party? We did a virtual party for a friend in which we dropped off a gift at her front door with instructions to log onto Zoom. We then rang the doorbell and went back to the car for the surprise. I’ve also witnessed parades of cars with banners, beeping their way through a neighborhood to celebrate a retirement. However you choose to do it, celebrating sparks joy in everyone and will absolutely strengthen relationships as well as create incredible memories, especially now when we need it most!
- Make connections. Sounds simple, but look around next time you are out and notice how we take each other for granted. My wife pointed this out to me. I started a conversation with the cashier at our supermarket. I asked how work was going?. Was she busy? Concerned about the current climate? Family concerned that she was out working? On the way back to the car, my wife mentioned that I made the cashier’s day. I asked how. She responded, “You showed concern for her. She was just doing her job, but nobody else in line even looked up from their phone.” I didn’t even think about it, but this is something I do everywhere I go. Now that my astute wife pointed it out, I will make sure it continues. You never know when you can make somebody’s day. This creates relationships with anyone you interact with.
Much of what I’ve shared here may seem obvious, but we often forget to connect with each other and celebrate the little things. Let’s use whatever we have at our disposal – virtual meetings, socially-distant celebrations, and kind words – to build those relationships that are so critical in the new and very different world we live in.
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