To prevent or even control deterioration, you must take action to maintain it. It takes effort to prevent deterioration. If you leave a car alone, without changing the oil, the belts, the air filter, etc. it deteriorates. In time the engine will lock up and stop running. Great effort is taken to prevent deterioration of famous artifacts like the Declaration of Independence, the Star Spangled Banner, the Egyptian pyramids. Without efforts to prevent deterioration these artifacts would be in much worse shape or lost forever.
I learned this lesson the hard way with my first car. I didnt pay attention to changing the oil and it eventually locked up, threw a rod through a piston and destroyed the engine. It was a mess. With my dad’s help and two long weeks in our garage, we replaced the parts that I ruined. It would have been much easier and cheaper to regularly change the oil in my car.
Relationships are the same way. Relationships must be maintained or eventually they will fall apart. Sure, we all have relationships that can go months or years without contact. When we get back in touch again, it feels like we picked up where we left off. These relationships have all reached a threshold at some point because of the attention we gave it early on.
Relationships that have not yet reached that threshold must be maintained to prevent deterioration.
To maintain a relationship:
- Evaluate your relationships. Identify your most important relationships and determine how healthy they are.
- For the relationships that need attention check in with them. Take the initiative to check in. Do not wait on the other person. If the relationship is important to you, you take the action. If the relationship is important to the other person, they will eventually reciprocate.
- Expect to check in regularly. Checking in to your relationship will ensure the other person knows how much you care about the relationship. You know that your car is getting low on gas by checking the fuel gauge.
- Apply deterioration prevention to the relationship. A flower will wither and die if you don’t water it from time to time. When checking in with your relationship, add value to the conversation. Learn what is important to the other person. Ask about something you talked about last time. The focus is on the other person. They need to feel that you value the relationship which means that you provide more value than you take. We will talk more about this in a later post.
In most cases it doesnt take much time to maintain good relationships, but it does take the effort of regular attention to keep the relationship strong.
What relationships in your life have deteriorated and need some attention? What are some methods you have used to keep a relationship strong? Add a comment here.