ENERGIZE YOURSELF WHILE HELPING OTHERS! Also, while getting a refill of that connection that you’ve been longing for.
Are you feeling like an island? Has it been way too long since you’ve spent time with certain friends? Are there people that you’ve wanted to get together with, but haven’t been able to make time for? Or, are there people who haven’t been able to make time for you? These overlooked connection strategies can help you if so. They are:
- LEND A HELPING HAND –
A few months ago, my friend Matt called and asked me if I could help him with one of his house projects. I asked my wife if she could spare me leaving for a while and she was more than happy to let me go be of assistance.
That afternoon, Matt and I worked hard together in the yard, laughing and talking and catching up in each other’s lives. The funny thing is that he and I had been trying to get together for a long time but had both been too busy. Now, who would have guessed that we would be using our busyness to our advantage?
There were a number of ways in which this benefited me. For one, it gave me respect in my wife’s eye’s, who got to see my helpfulness in action. Also, it gave me respect in my friend’s eyes, who was reassured of my loyalty for him. Moreover, it gave me respect in my own eyes. It made me feel good about myself. Best of all though, I got to hang out with a good buddy for a nice portion of time.
Since then, I have learned to see it as an opportunity whenever a friend asks for help. If you’re looking to connect with people, look for ways to meet their needs. Are you good with taxes? Help your buddy out who doesn’t quite understand them. Are you good with cars? Change that air filter for your cousin who has never done it himself. Small things like this go a long way in building a sense of friendship.
ASK FOR A HELPING HAND –
Now, I admit, this may seem like a counterintuitive approach to strengthening connections, but please be open-minded. I’ve actually realized that few things work better to strengthen a bond than when we ask somebody else for help. In fact, this may be even more effective than giving our help to others.
Why? Consider that many people don’t like to be on the receiving end of help. They would far rather be givers than takers. They may even feel a sense of shame when they allow themselves to inconvenience anyone else. And yet, these are the same people who would gladly inconvenience themselves to help another person in need. So, if we ask for their help, we are likely to get it.
This is partially because most people look for personal justification for anything that they give their time to. They have an easy time saying no to recreational events, but they have a hard time saying no to a friend in need.
When you ask your friend for help, you aren’t inviting him to a barbecue. You’re calling on his built-in instinct to assist his fellow man, which is a hard impulse for him deny. In so doing, you receive the help you need, and he receives an opportunity to do something altruistic. You actually help him meet one of his needs by letting him meet one of yours. Isn’t this a good transaction?
Of course, this strategy could easily be abused, so we want to be sure that we never take others’ kindness and generosity for granted. However, we also don’t want to underutilize their generosity and kindness – choosing never to call on them or accept their assistance in any way. That would be just as erroneous. And, believe it or not, it is the far more common mistake that we make.