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I know, I know, perhaps this is as obvious as it gets – but I’m going to say it anyway:  Relationships Matter!

My family in our adopted hometown of Arezzo, Italy.

My family in our adopted hometown of Arezzo, Italy.

I could post all the photos I want of my happy smiling family on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pin-em-up, Snappity-chat-chat, or wherever!  .. But that’s no true indicator of the level of our relationships.

Am I really listening?

Am I really listening?

How much do I genuinely listen to my husband when he is grappling with an issue?  Am I sincerely considering him?  Or am I going over in my head the items I need to get later at the grocery store?  Am I spending quality time with my daughter when she wants to have a tea party on the living room floor?  Or am I merely going through the motions as quickly as I can – looking longingly as the clock moves closer to her bedtime?

Tea party time for Lulu...

Tea party time for Lulu…

Family. Friends. Or Business; it’s the same.  Forging relationships takes effort.

Take time to listen.  Be curious.   Ask about someone’s day at the check-out counter.  Give a friend or a colleague (who is not on a New Year’s diet) an unexpected basket of sweets or flowers.

Don’t wait for others to make the first move.  Go ahead.  You won’t get instant results every time, but I bet you’ll be surprised at the amount of positive reaction and interaction you will receive if you keep your expectations low and keep at it.

A friend of mine in Paris told me that when she asked how long it would take for her to secure a rare and coveted French government subsidized apartment,  the answer was, “Two to twenty years, depends on the line of applicants in front of you.”  The notion was that she should just fill out the forms and wait.

exterior-3rd

But, instead, my friend decided she would forge a relationship with the random bureaucrat assigned to her.   During her interview she asked the employee her name, found out they had a few things in common and took it from there.   My friend found a reason to “drop by” the office,  bringing a coffee, dropping off a book, asking about the lady’s day – to forge a relationship.

Instead of two-to-twenty years, it took her about four months.

So, c’mon! Try something like this as an experiment.  Don’t view it as exploiting or taking advantage of another person.  Genuinely try to care.  I’ll bet you probably will find something interesting.

Looking forward to a year of stronger relationships!

Looking forward to a year of stronger relationships!

Like any worth-while undertaking, even ‘caring’ takes practice.

What do you think?  How might I help?

 Til next time!

Gina

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