How You Connect with Others is a Personal Thing

effort in relationships

I got words. And I’ve found the value in getting personal with them.

Recently, I realized that if I add a little something more when I engage with my friends, it’ll matter. And the important thing lesson…I should.

We are so inundated with social networks and constantly overwhelmed in efforts to keep in touch, send that text, post about that birthday, congratulate someone on a new job and so much more, that we’re resorted to either using an emoji or clicking on a pre-packaged message.  We send our feelings as quick as possible and move on. It’s only natural in our efforts to keep up that we use short cuts. I’m as guilty as anyone, with my feeble attempt at personalization with a “congrats” or a “happy with the birthday”. Clever? Yes. Same amount of automation on my part? Yep.

But not too long ago, I decided to try something different. Now, it’s not something I can do all the time (only enough hours in a day) but when it matters, when I want to make an impact, when I want it to be felt…I decided to make a real effort in my words.

It wasn’t anything big. It was just a recount of my treasured history with an old friend who every send me calendars from Australia. Here it is if you’d like to read it. And you know what, it was “amazing a trois” (sorry, didn’t mean to make it dirty). First, my calendar-sending friend Trudy felt a new and deeper connection to me from across the world. Second, I received so many warm messages from friends and family, who felt emotional from my tale. And third, the act of putting in effort, really thinking about my word choices as they related to my friendship and sending it out into the world felt amazing. It felt like it was personal, because it was really about my experience with Trudy, while resonating and including so many others.


I’ve since had two other moments where the exact same thing happened. I wrote about my quickly crafted close relationship with a German couple and of the career bump in the road of two of my former radio classmates. It mattered to them, it matter to others, it mattered to me.

I’d encourage you to make that effort with those that matter in your life. It doesn’t have to be so public (though you’ll miss out on the amazing a trois) but it will matter to the most important to: you and those you directly care about. Now, we’re not all writers. I’m not a very good one myself, I just seem to be good at communicating emotional, memorable moments in ways that matter. For you it could be any number of things.

Some tactics I’d suggest:

  • A video from your phone
  • A thank you note
  • An audio message (WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and others have them included)
  • A photo with you holding a chalkboard message

Make sure it includes such things as:

  • Shared history
  • Why the person matters
  • How you really feel about them
  • How important they are in your life (past or present)

Connecting to another person in a way that resonates with them, will help build and maintain a stronger relationship for you. It’s not something you can force or do all the time, but effort is not to be taken lightly.

Don’t let your busyness take away your ability to connect with your friend and family.


One Comment

  1. Terrah Lolacher August 19, 2016 at 3:38 am - Reply

    Awesome advice, Russel! Loved your two posts about your friends and the new one about Sonia Sidhu and Kevin Lim. Well chosen and heartfelt words. You are so very thoughtful and well written.

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