Cultivating friendship

My friend Michelle and I set out to visit a deaf church tonight. 

Another friend, a fellow Rhema student, told me about this church a few weeks ago, but it was during the week of Winter Bible Seminar. 

We drove around for 30 minutes looking for the church and when we finally found it, no one was there!

After our wild goose chase, Michelle and I decided to get a pizza at Mazzio’s. 

It was the first time we’ve had a chance to really talk off the clock (we work together) and there was so much I didn’t know about her. 
One of my goals for 2016 is to make time for important relationships. 

How do you do that?

Intentionality. 

Go out to dinner, grab a coffee, go for a walk…

What you do doesn’t matter. Just spend time with people. 

Developing friendships–or any relationship for that matter–will not happen without time and intentionality. 

And here’s another key: don’t spend half the time on your phone! 

Pay attention. 

Nothing will shut down a good conversation like fiddling with your phone. 

The goal is not to be BFFs with everyone. But if you never hang out with others, close friendships will not happen. 

Open doors

I know we all want to have conversations about more than the weather, celebrity gossip, and sports.

Deeper.

More meaningful.

Heart matters.

All of these phrases are used to describe the genuine, intimate relationships we desire with our friends and family.

I have some bad news though….

Small talk about the “trivial” things of life leads to open doors into the lives of others.

I’m speaking from experience–and if that doesn’t convince you then I’ll appeal to your reasoning.

Small talk helps you gain trust with others.

Trust comes with time.

Trust comes in small moments (or conversations).

Because there’s nothing worse than sharing something with an untrustworthy person.

Trust is like the roller coaster ride where you shoot straight up into the air and then the ride stops at the tip-top. You don’t know when it going to drop…..and then it does!

Whoosh!

As you drop back down, your stomach comes up into your throat.

The experience splits in two at this point:

  1. You get off the ride feeling a bit dizzy, but you’re still standing.
  2. You get off the ride and immediately hurl everywhere.

(You’re smart enough to see which situation involves a trustworthy and untrustworthy person.)

And this is the best illustration I have about trust, which leads me back to conversations.

Don’t give up on small talk. It’s a crucial part of seeing who is trustworthy and who is not.

I look at small talk as the opportunity to spot open doors.

Get to know someone, build up trust via small talk, and they will open the door for you to talk with them about the things that matter.

Don’t forget your manners either.

Busting the door down means you might not get another invitation.

Why don’t you try knocking first?

 

 

Sometimes It’s Good to be Unplugged, Take II

If you read my last post, you know that I was given the opportunity to write for the Marion Times-Standard. Well, they asked me to write an editorial for the paper every week! The editor told me that he could not guarantee that my editorials would run in every edition–and it’s unpaid as of right now–but it’s a start! Also, I get to write about whatever I want, so that’s awesome as well. I sent in a picture and get this: The title of my column is the same as my blog. Isn’t that cool?

This post may sound familiar toward the end. It’s actually part of an older post combined with some fresh perspective. This is my first submission for the paper as a regular contributor. Please leave your comments below and suggest some things you would like to read about in the editorials.

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Building relationships is hard work. I am starting to understand why people find it easier to park their cars in the garage and never speak to their neighbors. For one thing, there are a lot of awkward pauses and silences when you first get to know someone. It’s like a bad job interview that never really ends.

Once you get past the general questions—Married? Single? Have kids? If so, how many?—all that is left to do is stare at each other and scope out appearances. Well, he or she is clean and has good style, so they must be decent human beings…right?

I realize this example seems a bit extreme, but I know that I am speaking the truth. However, I am still hopeful that all is not lost. Not everyone lives in Mayberry, but developing meaningful relationships is possible whether you live in Marion or New York City.

The truth is that most people do not listen. It’s time to put down cell phones, to close laptops, to turn off televisions. Why not look someone in the eyes when carrying on a conversation? Then that person might, just might, be convinced that you are actually listening to them.

Technology is awesome, but I’m afraid that it is also ruining relationships. It’s so, so easy to be a lazy communicator when texting can get the job done just the same. When you opt out of social events to play video games or surf the web. When you like someone’s status on Facebook, but never talk to them in person.

Does anyone else see a problem?

Sometimes it’s good to be unplugged. It causes you to pay attention, to really listen. Don’t get me wrong. I love technology just as much as the next person, but technology CANNOT replace common courtesy, conversation, and personal relationships.