Relationships Need Regular Goodwill Deposits

Sheltering in place for over a month has been . . . weird, let’s say. A lot of people are now working exclusively from home. Travel is limited. Routine activities like grocery runs are potentially hazardous to health. COVID-19 stats in the news are frightening. After reflecting on all of this today, I realized that one thing is helping me cope: bidirectional relationships.

I’m reaching out to more people. Others are reaching out to me. Each of us listens to what the other has to say about our experiences navigating the pandemic. What lessons have we learned—good and bad? What information do I have that they may find helpful? And vice versa? What do we think about the state of the world—and what do we believe about the future? To be supportive and convey that I care about what they’re going through, I always end by asking if there’s anything I can do to help them.

These conversations usually energize me. This is partly because of the social interaction, but beyond that I also enjoy feeling that I helped someone and at the same time invested in the relationship.

A good friend recently shared this analogy: “Relationships are like bank accounts. If you make withdrawals but never make deposits, your account will become overdrawn, and eventually it will be closed.”  

Are you investing in your relationships—or draining them dry?