Saturday, May 16, 2015

Joining Dots

One of the things I love about keeping a blog is that when I meet up with people who read it we are able to chat about something that matters to us both almost straight away. Even if they have skimmed most of what I write, there just has to be a post or two that has resonated and we can end up chatting about that thing. We don't have to have everything in common, just something in common. Writing daily means I am thinking largely in the open. The blog isn't a journal, but people who know me will obviously be able to read between the lines and join the dots. This is why I would love it if lots of the people I care about also kept blogs. It would allow me to feel part of what is going on in their lives.

Everyone is really busy though. Many of us make fantastic friendships at school and university. Relatively speaking, those are actually very small chunks of our lives. Yet those connections seem to last. A few of my school friends recently started a Whatsapp group. We have had great fun descending to the same humour we had at that age. Whatsapp isn't a public blog. It isn't even as public as Facebook. It is a closed group that allows you to speak openly in the way you would if you were having a face to face interaction. Groups that are much bigger than how many people could sit at table don't really work. Then it feels like you are in a big room. It doesn't have the same level of comfort.

You can't replace spending time in the same place. But that isn't always possible. Distance makes relationships difficult. If someone is present, just seeing them can trigger communication that may not happen otherwise. At the very least, being around means they are in your thoughts. Business people know this. Good client service involves looking for opportunities to add regular value. So that when a client is in a situation where you could help, you come to mind. If you don't get involved in the little things, you stop getting thought of when it comes to the big things.

Even though we have the great friendships from school, university or even previous jobs, life moves on. You can end up not having those people being a part of your life. We are busy. So some people like having a few friendships that they focus their efforts on remaining involved in the little things. Some relationships are strong and can pick up where they left off, even if there are years between points of contact.

Strong relationships are those where you can be most honest. Honesty isn't a Q&A where you just tell people what is on your mind. Honesty is an investment of time. It is partly the little things. It may just be throwing darts together. It may be a Snapchat picture of a pet that made you smile. It may be a phone call. It may be Whatsapp banter. Honesty is the stuff that allows the picture to be created by going between the lines and joining the dots.

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