Great Savings 51 – Building Better Relationships


Treat people with respect. You'll never know when it might matter.

Speck doesn’t care what you say. He’ll love you anyway. Maybe we should all be try to be more like Speck.

As you go through your day how do you treat the people you meet? Are you attentive? Do you listen to what they say? Does it depend on the person? Is it easier to treat some people better than others? Do you feel superior to most people? Do you hear their suggestions? Do you take their criticism? Do you lash out indiscriminately? It’s a fair question to ask what any of this has to do with saving money or building wealth, but it turns out that how we treat others makes a huge difference in our quality of life. Don’t believe it? Then you’d best read on…


Think for a moment: How did you land your last job? Did you answer an ad on Craigslist or did someone you know tell you about an opening at the company they work for? It’s a good question for it points out that the connections we have with others are often the difference when it comes to getting a hand up. Now, it’s true some people can claim all the credit for landing that new job of theirs, but for most people it’s who they know that counts more than how many applications they can mass produce.


Where can I get a job?

You never know who might know someone else that could help you. That’s why it pays to cultivate relationships with all the people you meet.


If something as critical for our pocketbook as our job is dependent on who we know, then isn’t it important to nurture and cultivate all relationships for the simple reason they may someday lead to more choices and better opportunities? The truth is our relationships go a long way in the pursuit of achieving personal financial success—not to mention greater happiness.


This is tip number 51 in our series on saving.Need a loan for your small business? A good relationship with your personal banker is bound to help. Need a good financial adviser  Wouldn’t you rather find out who to see from a close friend rather than a random search off the internet? Want a reliable car? Want a trustworthy repairman? Want to know where to find the best deals as you go to shop? Clearly, for most any decision that is financially related it is far better to know someone who can point us in the right direction. Though the wealth we generate from that help may be hard to quantify, there’s little doubt of the life-altering cumulative impact.



6 Steps For Cultivating Relationships


Having established the critical nature of relationships to financial success how do we do a better job of cultivating them? Start with these steps:


(1) Treat people the way you want to be treated. It should almost go without saying that the best way to cultivate a relationship is to treat the people you interact with the same way you’d want others to treat you. Show a little respect. Be polite. Build people up, don’t tear them down with criticism and ridicule. Remember: There’s a goal here to cultivate the relationship because you never know who might ultimately be helpful if you are looking for some kind of assistance. Of course, the side benefit is any relationship that is stronger can offer an improvement to your quality of life. It’s great to have friends who care deeply about you.


(2) Don’t assume you’re better than the person you’re talking to. It’s true some people are smarter or look better or just fare better in social situations, but no one wants to be talked down to. If you have a hard time respecting the person you’re talking to ask yourself what makes you feel so superior? Then ask if the reason you feel that way is really valid and what gave you the right to judge it? You may be smarter, prettier, and savvier or not, but either way it doesn’t make you a better person and it certainly doesn’t imply you’re any wiser, or that someday they won’t be in a position to help you.


(3) Do a better job of listening. Most people just want to be heard. Unfortunately, were not all fluent in the language and can’t all come up with a snappy response in the moment. When others speak, don’t interrupt. Try listening and give the person talking a chance to get their whole thought out. They’ll appreciate your effort.


What kind of race would it be if you were the only one entered?

A runner can go far on his or her own, but it takes a community to hold a race.

(4) Don’t rely on one form of communication. Some communicate best face to face. Others write great letters or email. Some people love talking on the phone. Some people are virtual wizards at staying connected through social media. And some do well no matter the form, but for most of us it’s not that simple or easy. No matter how you connect best with others, it’s important to realize it may not be a mutual thing. For example, you might do well connecting with email but for those uncomfortable or frustrated by technology your email might be ignored or overlooked. They’d rather hear it on the phone or in person. Discover how the people you know communicate best so you can build on your relationships accordingly.


(5) Seek more real connection. Social media and Facebook are terrific for keeping a connection going and often a poor substitution for the real thing. Don’t hide behind your smart phone or computer when the people you want relationships with are in the same room. Learn to separate your real and online worlds. Turn the phone off when you meet others face to face or sit down for a meal together.


Relationships are a big part of personal financial success.

Relationships are like the links in a chain. They bind us together and we learn to rely on them when we’re pulled this way and that by life.

(6) Avoid the temptation to gang up. Get more than two people in the same room and it’s easy to gang up to make someone feel like they are on the outside looking in. The trouble is we never really know who might help us down the road. Life is uncertain and our paths tend to zig and zag unpredictably. Why rub someone’s nose the wrong way just because we can? Why not nurture and protect anyone and everyone we meet? Is spreading a little more love this way really such a bad thing even if others never end up in a position to help us?


No relationship can flourish if all the effort to keep it going is made by just one party, but don’t let that be an excuse for not making the effort in the first place. Try thinking of your relationships as an important asset you hold, almost like cash in the bank. They are something you can draw on whenever you get in a bind, or just need a little company or some sound advice.


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