How To Proactively Respect and Keep The People You Value


Ready for 2011?

I'll confess – I sure am meself!  2010 has been a truly blessed year for me in so many ways; family-wise (I have the most awesome husband and kids imaginable), friend-wise (I'm humbled by the presence of my soul-friends in my life), business-wise and much much more.

Of course, gaining all those goodies above did require some massive opportunities for grey hair in the most inopportune spots!

But through all of those trials and tribulations, I did glean some tremendously huge nuggets of gold regarding how to respect and keep the people you love and value.  And you know me – if I've learned it, I want to share it.  So here goes!

NOTE!1.)  Acknowledge when your friends go out of their way to help.

Magnificently robust ancient life form that I am, I generally prefer to use email for communications instead of the phone.

And when I see my friends are missing important issues about which I can provide illumination, I'll generally take an hour or so to compose my thoughts and send them off. 

And in most cases (except, alas, the most important one), my friends generally respond with thanks.  Or debate. 

Or something.

But when 4-5 emails go by with zero comment, to me….that's a clue that shrieks, your input is kinda sorta worthless to me. 

Which I know is not the case, but hell, that's how it comes across.  I'm sure there's no ill intention but logic says, hey, if your friend can't be bothered to even say, thanks, just once, it's pretty obvious you're just wasting your time.

And no, you should *not* be needy and insist on responses to all your emails…but you *should* also be wise enough to recognize what zero responses mean.

TAKEAWAY: If someone loves you enough to try and help you out, acknowledge it.  If you don't bother, eventually that someone will say, why should I keep giving? You can even review your inbox to see just what was missed.

It takes very little to show you value the people you love, you know.  But it's ever so important to do so.

NOTE!2.)  Do NOT apply assumptions based upon one person to another.

Everyone has their own level of friendships. 

  • There's the people you love.
  • The people you tolerate.
  • The people you desire.
  • The people you wish would become one with a raging inferno.

But if the person you love decides to do something for you that met with grave disaster when done by another individual….do NOT automatically corral them both into the same group.

First off, it's highly unfair, and second off, said individual will become most hurt when he or she realizes you view them on the same level as the disaster-maker.

Awhile back, I made this mistake myself when I was up to my earlobes in life and such, and compared someone I loved to someone who really was totally out of their league in a negative direction. 

I didn't realize that until it was brought to my attention which then horrified me, because the mere thought of losing that first individual is something I couldn't even consider back then.  

TAKEAWAY: When someone trusts you whole-heartedly, they have zero defenses against you.  So be extra careful with how you choose to treat them.

NOTE!3.)  Be proactive!

Did you hear about the blizzard on 2010, the one that dumped approximately 2 feet of snow?

Did you know that my family and I had to drive the next day (when most of the state was still buried) 687 miles or so to attend a funeral of a family relative?

What would your reaction have been?

Heck, if I heard my friend was doing that, I'd have first gently inquired in a high-pitched scream that B-movie stars would adore, "Are you a bleeping idjut to drive in these conditions????", and then I would have wished them well, and then I would have followed up to make sure they got to their destination safely.

Would you have done the same?

Or would you have simply thought the above…but make zero effort to communicate it?

If so, *stop*.  There's enough apathy in this world already – if the people you love are going through tough times indeed, take a few minutes to look out for them

It can make a world of difference.

The worst thing about not being there for your friends is that when good things *do* happen, they will be very leery of sharing them with you.

While in NC, I did witness my kids doing something so awesomely spectacular, I was seized by a desire to let a dear friend know about it.  But then I realized something else very important….

And it's this.

When you share aspects of yourself or your family, that's giving the recipient a most precious gift indeed.  

You should never feel like you have to *beg* to share things.

I was going to send an email but right beforehand, with my fingers deftly poised over the computer keys, I realized:

If I did, I wouldn't get a response.  Same thing with a text.

Painful though this understanding was, it then led to:

Quite frankly, I'm worth more than that.

I opted not to share.

Good news is this morning, I woke up to a very caring email from another friend and was able to tell *him* in detail what my kids did – that felt great!

TAKEAWAY: When your friends are going thru tough times, ask yourself the following question.

"If that was me, what would I want *my* friends to do?"

  • It might be, you should run over and give a hug.
  • It might be, you should stop on by and deliver a home cooked meal.
  • It might be, you should proactively call and say, "Hey!  Are you okay?  Just making sure!"

Or it might be something else entirely.

Whatever it is, doing it proactively….will make a warm, fantastic impression on your friends.

* * * * * * *

In closing, it takes zero effort to maintain an acquaintanceship.

It takes a bit of effort to maintain a casual friendship.

But it takes a heartfelt effort to ensure your soul-friends or close friends etc. know how much you love and value them.

And that's one effort that returns big huge heaps of unimaginable goodness….indeed.

What's your take?  I'd love to hear it below.

Grow strong,

Barbara Ling

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