STOP Building Relationships
Updated: Oct 11, 2019
How many times have you heard the phrase “build relationships?”
Who have you heard this phrase from? Was it your professors, your employers, or maybe your parents? You’re constantly hearing this generic term and encouraged to “build relationships” especially in the workplace. I pose the question: do you even have a clue what the meaning of the phrase is? Everyone’s telling you to “build relationships,” but do you understand how to go about it?
I hate the phrase “build relationships” because it’s become so overused causing it to lose its meaning along the way. People associate building relationships with connecting with others for some self-regarding purpose whether it’s trying to get a job or recruiting someone else for a job. The idea of building relationships has little to do with actually building relationships. The idea has morphed into a means for using someone else to help get you a job or position that you want. It has less to do with getting to know your colleagues on a deeper level or finding commonalities with people through networking. Building relationships has become a self-fulfilling course of action that people think will get them ahead in their work.
I want you to think about your best friend or a close friend. How did you become friends? Where did you meet? What did you talk about? How did you get to know each other? If you don’t have a best friend (many people don’t), how do you get to know your family members? What questions do you ask them, and how do you show you care? In asking these questions, you’ll see where you were able to make connections with others, which contributed to ACTUALLY building a relationship. In order to ACTUALLY build a relationship, you need to show some interest and curiosity with the people you’re interacting with and ask them questions to show you care. You also figure the person out. You begin to understand how they work, what they care about, and what motivates them.
Let’s be real - there isn’t a standard golden process to building a relationship. It’s not like you can do X,Y and Z and be able to build a relationship. Relationships need to grow organically, and they grow when people put in the effort to get to know one another and notice the little things that make them happy - just like you would with your best friend. What makes the person you’re trying to build a relationship with happy? What do they get excited to talk about? Is it their kids or their travels? The important thing is how you react when you hear those little things. Don’t ignore them or pass them by. Make a mental note of them in your mind and ask about them in future conversations. You want to show you care about them and their well-being.
Relationships aren’t built overnight. How long did it take you to become close with your best friend? Good, solid relationships take some time to build because you have to get to know the people you’re interacting with, and honestly, that takes time. Start by taking initiative in getting to know someone and taking the time to notice the day-to-day details in their life, and you’re guaranteed to be on the right track to building the relationship.