People can’t be happy in a vacuum. We are social creatures. Even the most anti-social among us needs some human contact. How can you make that contact happen in a meaningful way? How can you connect with other people beyond some superficial meaningless chatter?
According to Keith Ferrazzi in his book, Who’s got your back, there are four mindsets necessary to build lifelong relationships.
1. Generosity. This is your promise to help others succeed. If have a skill that can help someone you know, why not give them a hand? when you help others, you are building social capital, which is a currency that cannot be bought. Since our lives are not ledger books, you can’t do favors with repayment in mind, but it is reasonable to assume that the people ou help will want to help you some day.
An often overlooked generosity strategy is to give away 90% of everything. I’m not suggesting you give away 90% of your wealth or possessions. I’m suggesting you give away 90% of your personal product. Plan to give away 9 times more than your receive. This will not only keep your from being disappointed, but it will also leave you feeling very fulfilled.
2. Vulnerability. It is important to let down your guard and let the world see your humanity. It’s almost impossible to truly connect with someone who’s shields are always up: the guy who seems to be invulnerable and unapproachable. The people you spend time with know your flaw anyway. If you pretend they don’t exist, you are only fooling yourself. I have a lot of problem with this one. Letting down my guard is incredibly difficult, in almost every circumstance. It is far easier to be strong than to let myself be vulnerable.
3. Candor. Total honesty is vital to establishing–and maintaining– lifelong relationships. Even the white lies can destroy your connections. If you can lie about the little things, you are planting doubts on everything else you do and say. Who can trust you then? Lying is inappropriate in almost all conceivable cases. I was raised that a man’s word is his bond. Almost everything you have can be taken away from you, but not your honor. That can only be destroyed by you. Without it, what do you really have?
4. Accountability. You need to follow through on your promises. Be Mr. Reliable(or Mrs!). If you say you will do something, do it! Nothing builds resentment faster than disappointing the people who are counting on you. If you can’t meet a commitment, let the soon-to-be-let-down know as early as possible, so other plans can be made. If you have a hard time keeping promises, then make fewer of them.
If you embrace these principles, you will be well on your way to building–and keeping–strong, satisfying relationships that benefit everyone.
How do you build your relationships?