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returning a relational favor

For some, the statement that relationships are a key to fulfillment in life seems completely unnecessary to say.

“Well, yeah . . . ” many would think.

For others, reading an assertion like this immediately feels like a burden and a reminder they didn’t want.

Not everyone feels the same about relationships and what it takes to cultivate them.

In fact, while some may get energized at the idea of making relationships better, others feel their energy sapped just thinking about it.

Perhaps this blog post will be more useful to the latter group, of which I am a part.

Relationship building, maintenance, cultivation; it all can feel heavy for some.

If you feel yourself coming to life with the image of sipping tea alone in bed as opposed to showing up at a rousing party, you may also easily identify with a behavior pattern that admittedly feels less admirable—frequent passivity in relationships.

I’m talking about letting others do the work in relationships while we enjoy its fruits. I know, I don’t like to acknowledge it either, but I am a chief offender.

I have made all the rationalizations, like telling myself that I’m not always like this (which is true), that “everyone has a different personality,” and that my strength is in listening to others.

But I have to tell you that these self-vindications haven’t improved my relationships.

What has made them better is returning a simple favor to those in my life who find relationship gardening their favorite hobby—initiation. 

I’m still a beginner in this area, but I have been making a point to initiate connection with those who usually do it for me (and with others like myself).

Initiation can be, and often is, the simplest of actions—a text to ask how someone’s day is going, a short phone call (yes, phone calls can actually be short!) because you saw something that reminded you of the person, or a compliment when walking by a familiar face—all the things we get to enjoy so often from others.

We know how good it feels to not have to do the work.

Why not return the favor?

One initiation achieved this week could be a 100% improvement from last week. That’s not a bad way to start a new month.

Written by Refuge Center Master’s Level Intern Daryn Thompson