In my business it is always about relationships and I have come to realize that I’m not particularly good with relationships (both personal and business to be candid). I don’t follow up so much or keep in front of people. I have no idea how to wine and dine clients effectively and made them my bosom buddies. I don’t text my kids every day (we talk about once a week); I talk to my dad about once every 2-3 weeks when he initiates. For work, I’m the type that comes in friendly and approachable, gets the job done and leaves. Wham, bam, thank you! I don’t take them out for drinks, plays, business events – I’m shitty at that stuff and it’s getting worse as I get older because my tolerance for large events is fading.
I think it goes back to my childhood. My parents divorced when I was 6 years old and my compulsive mother went back to school, did an internship and flitted around with a new job every couple of years. This led to me living in 5 different cities in 10 years and 9 schools in the same time period. Friends became disposable because I was constantly moving. What’s nice today is that I connected with my dearest high school friends on Facebook, but I don’t go see them or travel with them – it’s mainly an online thing. My mom didn’t set a good example because she didn’t have many friends – who could with all that moving around. Once she retired, she struggled with making friends because she had no clue what goes into a friendship. A typical example is when she told me about a nice lady who she invited to a movie and they had a great time, but the woman never called her to invite her to something. My mom said, “I’m not going to call her, it’s her turn.” I said, “Why? Maybe she doesn’t have any ideas of things to do or maybe something is going on in her life or she’s shy. Why deprive yourself of a friend because of some arbitrary rule you created?” That stopped her in her tracks.
Right now, my days and free time are generally spent 80% of the time or more with the Hunter. Over the next couple of weekends, he will be in the woods every weekend which is freeing up some time for me. This gives me some space to explore my thoughts on relationships and see how I can solidify some of the great ones I have and perhaps develop some others.
As I was reading back through this post and some others that I wrote (I tend to binge write), I realized that I can solve both my relationship crisis (for a dramatic turn of phrase) and friendship issue by joining more things. My best adult friendships have come from joining things that I enjoy – damn, I met the Hunter in a hiking club for crying out loud. I met my BFF at a women’s networking event and other good friends through Toastmasters (nothing like a personal speech to get to know someone). OK, I need to join perhaps a book club or another Toastmasters club closer to home. I just have to remind myself NOT TO VOLUNTEER for any leadership roles –- I don’t have time for that.