My family enjoyed dinner and then a relaxed conversation about our summer book. Let me back up a bit. Every summer for years now, my “kids”, (now 22 and 24), Patti and I, read a book together. Last summer it was Mark Batterson’s, Circle Maker. This year, it was John Maxwell’s The Five Levels of Leadership. Both are great books and I highly recommend.
When we were talking about Level Two – Relationships… we talked about the fact that so many of the basics of relationships are simple. And if that’s true, why are these basics so often overlooked?
We made a list of the Top 10 “Simple” basics. Here’s what we came up with.
- Always say thank you
- Smile often
- Use people’s names
- Listen well
- Practice generosity
- Forgive quickly
- Don’t judge or criticize
- Compliment often
- Encourage sincerely
- Help others
These are all doable by nearly anyone. So, why are these basics so often missed? Here are a few of our thoughts.
- Sometimes it’s as simple as a lazy or bad habit.
- Anyone can be distracted by unusually high levels of stress or worry. This can result in overlooking what seems like common sense behavior.
- This is less common, but some people were simply never taught the basics.
- At times, anyone can behave in a self-centered way. This produces the opposite of good people skills.
- Insecurity can get the best of nearly anyone.
- As odd as it may seem, some folks just don’t care.
- Significant levels of sustained pressure can cause even highly relational people to forsake the basics and what might otherwise come naturally.
Our conversation identified many of the basic skills in relationships that we are doing well, and some areas where we need improvement. Perhaps these simple lists will be helpful to you too.