Some of the most valuable assets in your life are your friends and family.
Encouragement with your friends and family is just as important as encouragement at work. As we get older, this one seems to slip away from us. Think back to your time in high school or college. Encouragement for your friends and family and the value of those relationships were likely very high. As you enter the job market, start a family and you or your friends move away, it becomes more difficult.
Here are some tips to ensure that you stay connected with those closest to you and how you can continue to encourage them.
The first rule is that you’ve got to reach out to the person. You’ve got to make the connection. It’s funny how we have more access to each other than we have ever had before, but it seems more difficult than ever to reach out in a meaningful way. In the hunt for likes, comments, and subs, we’ve missed out on some authenticity.
Listen without judgment
I know that this one can be really hard because we have a tendency to be more blunt and judgemental with those that we are really close to. A way to encourage others is to quiet the voice in your head that wants to jump in and tell the person what obviously is wrong in the situation. It may not even be the other person’s fault, but still, hold back judgment.
Learn their love language
For those not familiar, Gary Chapman released a book years ago called the 5 Love Languages. He goes on to explain how everyone has at least one language that they love and one that doesn’t mean anything to them. They are words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch. Do you know someone who loves to hug it out? It’s pretty clear that they appreciate physical touch.
Understanding a person’s love language makes the encouragement go a lot further when it’s delivered in a way that matches the person.
Don’t try to take over
Have you ever been in a situation where you had something taken over from you or you took something over from someone else? You most often see this in teaching moments where the teacher/mentor/parent gets frustrated to the point that they take over whatever they were trying to teach the other person.
Don’t try to take over someone’s situation. My wife calls it “fixing”. You don’t have to fix every problem that a person brings to you. If they aren’t asking for help, it’s likely that the person just wants to talk it out with someone. Don’t break their trust by trying to fix their problems for them.
Be specific and change how you offer help
Have you noticed that when you ask someone a question like “How can I help?” or “Let me know what I can do.” that you don’t typically get a request back? Ask the question in a different way. “Would it be helpful if I……?”, or “I would like to do….” Asking in this way frames it up better for the person to accept your help and assistance.
Don’t forget to reach out and check in with your friends and family. Be an encouragement for them by connecting with them in a way that they love, avoiding judgment, or trying to fix the problem. Offer specific help when needed and be that encouragement that those close to you need.
Make a better tomorrow.