Updated: Aug 26, 2019
Driving home from work today, my phone started ringing and the caller on the other end was one of my most favorite people in the world. My brother (shout out to you Keith!). I am always happy to take this call.
Hearing from him is always a breath of fresh air! And in usual fashion, our conversation starts with each of us asking the other “How are you?” and “How was your day?”. Not because we are just exchanging pleasantries, but we are genuinely (and always have been) interested in making sure the other person was ok.
Whenever the response has been anything other than ‘good’ – a line of questioning and intent listening always follows. As a result, we have managed to always offer sound advice which is what we seek from each other – whether it’s a recommendation for dinner or a perspective on a next step in life.
So I asked myself what is the best part of our relationship – it is the genuine interest and concern for each other. It is real – no pretense.
Taking the tools from this real, genuine relationship to other areas in my life – I offer the best ways I have found to cultivate and experience genuine relationships!
It is so often that we encounter people who are faux-terested. What is that? I notice that there are times that people are not fully engaged in conversation. It’s a faux expression of interest, a greeting that is merely a ‘hello’. They ask questions they don’t really care to hear the answer to. They customarily ask how you are feeling, but don’t tune in to hear what you say. Instead they assume the answer and move on to the next item on the list. When we take the time to listen – and actually ‘hear’ what the other person is saying, we show the person that we value them. When I ask how someone is doing, I really want to know how you are doing or feeling.
When I am spending time with a person – I actually make that person my priority. My phone is less important (only truly important emails or texts are returned – and only with the acknowledgement of telling them that I need a moment). Being present is also known as ‘mindfulness’ where the mind is fully attending to what’s happening. Mindfulness (or being present) means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts. When you spend time with someone, the ability to ‘be present’ is not only valuing the person but also the time you spend with them. Time is one of those things you can never get back. So live in the moment.