Have you ever had time elapse between a relationship with either a friend or a colleague, and then when you re-connect, it’s as if you picked up exactly where you left off? If so, I would say you both had the privilege of sharing an extraordinary relationship.
Extraordinary relationships are built and enhanced through ordinary, yet meaningful, actions. These numerous small acts of kindness, respect and understanding are displayed both consciously and unconsciously. If you want to raise the bar on your relationships, here are three habits to take them to the next level:
Give consistently, receive occasionally. Those who build great relationships don’t think about what they want; instead, they start by thinking about what they can give. They approach building relationships as if it’s all about the other person and not about them—and in the process—they build relationships with others who follow the same approach. In time, they make authentic connections and become genuine friends.
Listen with the intent of understanding, not replying. Research shows that only about 10 percent of us listen effectively—often distracted by technology or our own thoughts. Resist the temptation of considering how to jump in to tell your own story, offer advice, or even make a judgment. Instead, choose to engage in actively listening to the other person’s words and body language—because when you do, relationships prosper and levels of trust grow deeper.
Step in without being asked. It’s both common and easy to help when asked; but very few people offer help before they’ve been asked—even though most of the time that is when a little help will make the greatest impact. Those who build extraordinary relationships pay close attention so they can tell when others are struggling. This demonstration of an empathetic and caring heart enables others to truly appreciate the heartfelt support and assistance, and will also more often times accept the help being offered.
Over the recent Memorial Day weekend, a dear friend whom I’ve known for many years—yet only in the last year have re-connected with—chose to make the trip out to Colorado from Wisconsin. Not only was it an incredible gesture, but we had an amazing time together! We toured the undeniable breathtaking beauty of Red Rock together (home of Red Rocks Amphitheatre), danced and belted out famous tunes sung live in concert by Taylor Swift, and even dined at some of the most exquisite eateries—like downtown Denver’s Ocean Prime. We took in a fun and non-competitive round of Top Golf (as the golfing experts we are…NOT!), squeezed in a little time to indulge in retail therapy at the fabulous FlatIron Crossing shopping center and mall, but most importantly, simply enjoyed each other’s company and meaningful conversation. The relationship I have with my friend, Lisa, is certainly extraordinary and one that I will treasure forever. Make today the day you choose to foster an extraordinary relationship you hold dear.