One of the quickest ways to build a relationship with another person is to make them feel valuable. It is the way to start a new friendship or to strengthen an existing one. Whenever we treat people as special, they begin to view us as special to them. Here are a few of the ways I have experienced people showing how much they value me over the past few weeks.
1. Open Ended Meetings. Recently I have been a part of two different meetings. One of them was open-ended, and we talked for an extended length of time. The other person started our meeting by telling me they had to be someplace else in an hour. My feelings toward both were dramatically different based only on the time frame they had given me. Nothing makes someone feel more special than blocking out large sections of time.
2. Put the Phone Away. Again, I was recently meeting with someone, and in the middle of a story I was saying they picked up their phone and started typing. I stopped talking, and they said, “Keep going, I hear you.” Is it okay to say that I felt devalued? It was as if my words were just background noise to another conversation in which that person wanted to be involved.
3. Encourage Something They Enjoy. I know of a guy who continually gives away coupons. If he knows you like a steakhouse or a particular fast-food restaurant he will give you a coupon for that place when he finds one. When you know that someone has a hobby or activity they enjoy, it is always a blessing to encourage it in some way. A gift, a coupon, a gift card or something like that demonstrates that you like me beyond a handshake.
4. Ask Genuine Questions and Listen to the Response. A guy I know grabbed me and asked, “How are you doing?” I gave my typical “Fine” response. He then said, “No, how are you really doing? Is everything okay at home and work?” In a way, I can’t quite explain it broke down a wall in my mind. I stopped and began to share something that was going on in my soul. What is even more special is that he quietly listened to my answer. He asked probing questions and offered to pray for me.
5. Smile. This is so simple and yet I must remind myself to do it repeatedly. When I go to talk to someone, and their face turns to a serious or angry demeanor, then I know how that person feels about me. I like talking to people who seem genuinely happy to have a conversation. I am always filled with joy when you smile as I start talking.
Recently I have noticed these five things that people do that make me feel special. When someone does these, I recognize how my life has value to them beyond a casual acquaintance. As I have noticed each one of these the biggest question for me, “How do I make people feel by my presence?” One of my hopes as a Christian is that people are blessed by having me in their life.