Returning to One-On-One Connections
Are you tired of being invited to everyone’s soup? You know, the social soup, where everyone gets together as a group for everything and no one does a one on one anymore? [click to tweet] Maybe they do this in order to leverage time; thinking they will make more money covering more territory. Is it true? Or is it at the expense of having a relationship with substance and purpose?
I remember way back when I was in Real Estate. We had a very tight community. We were ‘family’ and did a lot together. We had yearly customer appreciation dinners, we did Easter egg hunts, we went to dinner and the theater together as well as attending awards ceremonies, intensive training programs and even Anthony Robbins Weekends. We had fun, we created memories and I am grateful for it all. But when is enough enough?
There came a time when I felt a lack of intimacy with my colleagues. We were always together as a group. I loved them, I wanted to be with them, but something was missing for me. One of the tipping points occurred when we would all go to lunch for each other’s birthdays. It’s a wonderful celebration and a fun time. However, I would leave these luncheons feeling empty. Did we share anything meaningful? Did the birthday person feel connected?
That’s when I decided to do something different. I decided to ask each person out for an intimate birthday lunch. Just the two of us. I was pleasantly surprised at how well received this idea was. They genuinely appreciated that someone would prefer to have a quiet and purposeful conversation with them opposed to a somewhat superficial yet fun group dynamic. Confidentially, they weren’t the only ones who appreciated that time. I felt more attentive to them and able to make the day just about them. We talked about what they wanted to talk about and looked each other in the eye instead of being distracted by everything around us. It was a great decision to honor this person and to create a new tradition and different kind of memory.
Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy a group meal once in a while. But I do like to make sure those in my life get just me and I get just them. And if we can’t get together, we can do a video call.
Fast forward to current times. I work independently from home. For a long time, while becoming a coach, I constantly found myself in group dynamics, from networking to clubs and meet up groups to major events and parties. One day I realized that I wasn’t enjoying them as much as I ‘should’ have. I felt more obligated than interested. Yet, people get offended when you don’t attend their events or accept their invitations.
How does one handle this situation? Well, it starts out with a conversation with them as well as myself. I had to do some introspective work to make sure I was honoring the part of me that needed space. I became clear that I didn’t want that busy lifestyle anymore. Then as invitations came up, I had to share with them that it’s not them, it’s the new me. The me that would rather have an intimate conversation with them than attending a chaotic event with a lot of distraction from what I call meaningful.
It turns out, it’s becoming the new way to do business. The philosophy of building friendships is leaving the ‘numbers game’ in the dust. People love doing business with a friend they trust and no one wants to be sold anymore. So not only does it feel better for some of us, but it seems to be the way to building a more fruitful business.
It’s been a long road making this transition. Coming from a heavy ‘sales’ background as well as a very extroverted upbringing, I was the initiator of MANY get-togethers over the years. I had to really dig deep and stay true to what was right for me TODAY and not who I’ve always been or who people have known me to be. There is so much opposition when you break the norm – Do it anyway. There is resistance to change – Change anyway. There will be attempts to make you feel guilty – Stay strong and feel proud that you are breaking the mold, being true to yourself and being loving towards others in a way they don’t even know yet. You don’t have to be a part of their soup, just make them the main course and see how much better you both feel on many levels.
Fran Asaro is a Life and Business Coach, specializing in online business building. Her Virtual Project Partner Program provides individual online leadership support for entrepreneurs