Thursday, August 11, 2016

Fostering Relationships

As humans, we are genetically wired to want relationships with others. In today’s world, we are so connected to each other that we have become disconnected. It’s easy to check in on people through Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and forget to actually check in with the person. I’ve caught myself seeing my friends relationships flourish and diminish through Facebook and commenting to my husband that I hope they are ok, but never texting or calling to see how they’re doing. Then, in my times of distress, I sit and wonder why no one has checked in on me. 
Where have all my friends gone?!
If I’m being honest: probably nowhere. We’re all just busy. Even though we care about each other, it’s hard to physically show that.
 So, how do we fix this? How do we foster relationships in this high-tech, long distanced world?
 I’d start with being intentional. There’s a quote somewhere that says, “It’s not abouthaving time, but about making time.” I get it. Schedules fill up and it’s difficult to just grab dinner with a friend. However, in the same way we schedule hair and doctor’s appointments, start scheduling dinner with friends. I call my best friend at least once a month and schedule a brunch date. There is nothing wrong with having to schedule a friend. It may feel artificial at the beginning, but honestly, scheduling someone simply means you care, you want them in your life, and you are making time for them.
 I think we should also start being honest with our friends. It’s time to get past this surface level small talk that everything is always “fine.” Take a second to truly ask how someone is doing and, in return, take a second to be honest about what’s going on with you. Here’s the secret about real friends: They want to know. They care about you and your life. AND – here’s the kicker – often, they want to help you. Trust me when I say, it’s much easier to get through difficult situations with a support system surrounding you. Sharing this vulnerability with each other will not only increase feelings of self-worth and caring, but also build deeper longer-lasting relationships.
 Think about those you care about. I challenge you to begin being intentional and honest with them. Notice how your relationships begin to shift.
 Last thought: How do you plan on fostering relationships? Comment below and let us know!
 Written by: Sarah Henry, M.A.

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