Digging Deeper: Relationships
Do you find yourself wasting time on social media, scrolling through posts or snaps to see what is going on with those you are “connected” with?
With our always-on and networked world, it can often feel as though we are making connections constantly. Through email, text messages or social media posts, we often believe we are communicating effectively. Sitting on the couch, lost in an endless stream of Facebook and Instagram, I realized that I was not really connecting with these people at all. It was superficial at best and nonexistent at worst. For many of the people on my friends list, I was not building a relationship. I was only seeing what is on the surface, the most attractive and interesting parts of who they are.
This made me realize an important truth: there is more to this life than what is found on the surface and often it is when we dig in and go a little deeper that we can truly grow and develop ourselves. As I put down my phone, I knew I needed to start digging deeper in my relationships. I realize that it would be very difficult to connect with all of the people I know and interact with like this, but I could find 1 or 2 new people to invest my time into. I also recognize that I would not want to just pick anyone for this, but to look for a like-minded individuals who desire to grow and learn as well. While this may take some time, it is a very important part of the process.
So once we know what we are looking for, it’s time to figure out what digging deeper in relationships looks like.
For me, it involves three characteristics:
The purpose of digging deeper is to connect with others in such a way to both pour ourselves into them and to learn more about them. It’s not a self-serving goal, but one focused on how I can be a better friend and leader by developing deeper relationships. The result will almost always reveal more about me than I expected, but that is not my main focus.
It’s a desire to be real and not just share the best parts of me. I want to go beyond the shallowness of our social media lives and get to know the whole person that I am connecting to. With the right person you have the opportunity to open up and share more, leading you into a deeper relationship.
To learn about the other person, I must be prepared to listen. I remove distractions such as my cell phone or other conversations, focusing on listening to the person I am connecting with. Then I can ask the questions that go beyond surface level discussions to get to source of who they are.