In order to be a successful person, you absolutely must make the time to nourish the relationships that give you the most energy, provide you with the most insight, and are the best for you, whenever you can. These friendlies are usually folks you know intimately, like family, your best friends, or a co-worker you’ve worked with for a long time.
You need to know how you can feed your friendlies, and how your friendlies can feed you.
How do you do it? Here are 3 ways to feed your friendlies.
Ask Open-Ended Questions – and listen to the response
Learning to know more about your friendlies starts by asking a few open-ended questions. An open- ended question is a question that cannot be answered with a simple yes or no. They are open- ended because they offer people the opportunity to tell a story. You never know when you’ll get an opportunity to get to know someone more, so always have a few open-ended questions ready to ask.
Below are a few sample open-ended questions:
Tell me more about (insert whatever someone just mentioned that you have a genuine interest in). How did that make you feel?
Share your greatest joy in life.
What does that mean to you?
Tell me about the best vacation you’ve ever taken. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Celebrate with them
One of my favorite ways to feed my friendlies is to celebrate with them, either in public on social media when I see their public announcement, or in private, with a text message or other private message.
This does two things:
It makes them feel great to have another person in their corner, cheering them on.
It makes me feel great, knowing my friends are doing great things.
As often as I can, I try to be specific in my celebration, by leaving a meaningful comment or message, not just “Great job!”
If it’s a REALLY big thing to celebrate, I’ll share it on my social or I’ll give them a call.
Listen, really listen, to your friendlies
Sometimes, bad stuff happens to our friends. A loved one dies. A pet crosses over the rainbow bridge. Divorce. Job loss. You name it.
When bad stuff happens, I find the best way to feed my friendlies is by listening, really listening, to what’s going on in their life, how it impacts them, and saying two simple but powerful words: “I’m sorry.” And then I listen some more.
I’m grateful I have many friends who do this for me as well, and instead of trying to solve my problem – which often can’t be done – they just listen to me talk, or just listen to me breathe.
And though it doesn’t fix anything, it makes me feel a little better.