"You can get anything you want if you just convince enough people."
Unlike a 150 years ago when you could carve your life out of the wilderness, today everything you want is owned by someone else notes the author of the above quote Roger Dawson in his book, Secrets of Power Negotiating. He recommends spending some time figuring out how to persuade them to share. Undoubtedly you have developed relationship-building skills. But are you actually getting the financial, emotional, and spiritual support that you need from these relationships? Perhaps it is time to take a second look.
To live intentionally you will have to decide the kind of relationship you want to have with others. Will a particular person remain essentially a stranger or become an acquaintance, a business associate, a friend, or your spouse? As you know, you will have to invest more time and resources, especially emotional ones, the farther up this scale you go.
Social media has significantly clouded this issue. Is the quality of the relationship you have with each of your Facebook "friends" or Twitter followers the same? Can a genuine relationship be created with someone you know only online?
Here are the questions to ask when determining the kind of relationship, if any, you want to have with someone. Some can be answered earlier than others.
- Can you treat this person respectfully? Do you find yourself making fun of someone? Behind his back? If you do not respect him why bother staying connected and potentially hurting him later on?
- Can you build trust with this person? What kind of business association can you have with someone you do not trust? You may realize a short-term gain, but sooner or later the investment you made in creating the relationship will have to be written off. Will it really be worth the effort?
- Will this person help and/or support you in meeting your goals? Some people claim to want to help you while they are actually undermining your progress. Be guided by someone’s actions far more than his words.
- Will this person help you see if you are heading in the wrong direction? Heard the expression the road to hell is paved with good intentions? If you are going to have more than an acquaintanceship with someone his definition of kindness will have to include tough love.
- Will this person be respectful even when telling you things that may be difficult for you to hear? Criticism can be difficult to accept under the best of circumstances. It needs to be conveyed politely and empathically.
- Do your strengths and weaknesses complement each other? Perhaps most important with a spouse, you can avoid the strife that engages competitive instincts inherent in having similar talents and faults. Likewise in business, partners with diverse aptitudes make a stronger team.
- Does this person share your values? While it is not necessary that every friend or business associate share all of your values, being at cross-purposes on certain ones may make more than an acquaintanceship difficult if not impossible.
It may sound cold, even calculating, to assess people in this way. But the reality is that you have a finite amount of time. Spending this precious resource on those you cannot help and who cannot or will not help you is useless. Better to establish a basis for a relationship from the outset, intentionally setting the stage for mutually supportive, productive interaction.
Question – How do you decide with whom and what kind of relationship you will have with someone?
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