Today’s prompt for NaBloPoMo is about any skills or knowledge I have that others don’t, which I could share with a How-To post.
I have a resume…I have a LinkedIn profile. People can read them if they want to know about knowledge and skills. I have one ability though, that I wasn’t aware of until someone said it to me.
When a boyfriend travelled to meet my family for the first time, we learned more about each other than we had ever imagined. To begin with, there were not only one, but a couple of people to pick us up at the airport. In the following day, we headed to the beach; there we met another bunch of family members including first cousins and old friends of mine. We had lunch together and already planned the evening program. When we got back to the hotel, he asked me: “when are we going to be just the two of us?”. My natural answer: “when we are back to Amsterdam.”
One year later he told me something interesting; that after living one year with me, he had seen more people visiting our house than he had in his entire life. He hadn’t ever met someone with so many friends – and such a big family.
Nine years and lots of friends later, and my now-husband appreciates to be with my family and friends, who became his own too.
Making and nurturing connections with people, that is what he calls my ability. I wouldn’t claim that others don’t have it but me. I can only talk about myself and affirm that my heart has always space to connect with one more.
How to create long-lasting connections?
1. Self-knowledge.The best way to get to know others is to know yourself first. It helps choosing friends and relationships with people that share interests, and you stand a better chance to build a lasting connection. Many friendships and relationships go sour because people try to change the other half into what fits them.
2. Be yourself. People are interested in who you are, and not in your rehearsed external version of yourself. Behave with authenticity so people know what they can expect from you and will appreciate it.
3. Don’t be self-centred. Be yourself doesn’t imply that it is all about you. Be interested in the other person and in what they have to say as well. It is your chance to get to know them.
4. Be respectful. The only way to build trust and mutual respect is by treating others as you ‘like’ to be treated and they ‘need’ to be treated.
5. Be there . There are good and tough moments in life; people will appreciate when you are there in both occasions not only to listen, but sometimes even to take action when they are in despair.
6. Forgive. We all make mistakes. Unless it is something intentional and harmful, it doesn’t hurt to listen to what people have to say. We may give a second chance to ourselves and to those who we care about.
7. Give time and attention. A relationship is like a plant. It needs regular attention and care; it needs nurturing to grow and flourish. If you don’t get the same, it’s better to check if you are with the right people.
8. Listen to the compliments and the criticism. You need to say and be able to accept the truth being it good or bad. If a friend is not the one who gets you out of trouble, who else? As hard as it is, listen. Return the favor.
9. Like people. You need to like having people around you. It is ok if you don’t, but then set your boundaries and don’t try to connect with many people. Connections require reciprocity. If you are there, you need to put time and effort in it.
10. Show your affection. People need to know you like them. You don’t need to say it – I am not very good in that either – but you can show that with your actions. Little gestures speak thousand words.
I made this photo when traveling with my niece and her daughter, while spending vacations with me. The love in their eyes makes my heart melt. That is what you get when you deeply connect with people.
Voilà! This was my HOW-TO list.