It creeps up on you. Your monthly meet-ups become weekly phone calls that eventually dwindle down to occasional likes and birthday messages on each other’s Facebook walls. Just like that, the relationships that were once so essential to your existence become yet another phone notification.
The greatest irony of this era that is deemed as the “most connected” is the fact that we easily lose sight of the need to really connect; to reach out to another person, to hear their voice, see their face, give them a hug. It’s exactly what many of us face today, especially those of us who were multiple hats. How do you go beyond social likes to actually stay connected with and show up for the people who matter to you? Here are some ideas:
- Create time for the people who matter: If you’re blessed to see another day, you generally have 24 hours to work with. Depending on what you seek to achieve, that timeframe might or might not be sufficient. In order to prioritise the people in our lives, we have to create time to spend and be with them. One way to do this is to schedule it. Haven’t seen your girlfriends in a while? Plan a lunch date together over the weekend. Live in a different city or country from your parents? Establish a weekly call date. Ultimately, what gets penciled in, is what stays at the forefront of our minds.
- Remember important events: Thanks to technology, it’s easy to keep track of people’s birthdays and to a degree, sharing a “happy birthday” message on our friends’ social media timelines has become the norm. Take it a step further to make your family member, friend or partner feel extra special – give them a phone call, send them an greeting card or e-card, or write them a letter telling them how much they mean to you. By remembering other important events in their life – the day they recovered fully from a serious ailment, their wedding anniversary, when you first met – you let them know how much you care.
- Focus on the little things: You don’t always have to go big to make a grand statement. The little things matter too. Pay attention, listen, and then factor what they like into the things you do for them. Does your best friend like butterflies? Keep an eye out for a butterfly print fabric the next time you go to the market. Is your work colleague an avid reader of Glitz Magazine? Lend your copy to her sometime. Is your boyfriend crazy about cars? Share an article on the latest car technologies. Does your son enjoy sports? Cheer him on while he’s at football practice. Whatever you decide, show up and be fully present.
How do you show up for the important people in your life? We’d love to know!
Jemila Abdulai is an award-winning blogger, development and media specialist, and the founder of Circumspecte.com; a digital platform dedicated to informing, spurring interaction, and inspiring Africans.