Amanda Cade

Worth It! (Things to try, read, watch, hear, and discuss)

First of all, on a semi-related note, this Friday is Aunts and Uncles Day. It’s a great chance to show some love to your extended family.

Speaking of showing love, this week I’d like to share a few things you really should know about the people who are important to you, and how that information can help you strengthen your relationships. Think about your friends and family, and ask yourself:

What do they like to talk about?

restaurant-people-lamps-vintageA while back, during lunch with some coworkers, we got to discussing family gatherings. It was an interesting conversation, because it turned out that almost everyone was frustrated by the things their family did, and didn’t, discuss, but for very different reasons. Here’s a summary:

Coworker A: My siblings are all single and childless, so all we talk about is work and relationship drama.

Coworker B: You should hang out with my family. All we talk about is everyone else’s kids, and I don’t have any.

Coworker C: We talk about the kids all the time, too, and sometimes I wish I could talk about anything else-work, friends, whatever. I love my kids, but there are other things in my life.

Coworker D: My entire family is obsessed with sports, and I’m not, so I spend a lot of time just nodding and smiling.

Coworker B: I adore my nieces and nephews, and I do love hearing about them, but I wish people were half as interested in hearing about my vacation.

Coworker A: Last week I tried three times to tell my brother about my son’s soccer game, and finally gave up.

Coworker D: I pay attention to the sports talk, because it’s important to my family, but I wish they’d return the favor sometimes.

I think Coworker D really hit the nail on the head: we want people to care about things that are important to us. All four of my colleagues were frustrated because they felt marginalized in conversations. This doesn’t happen because others are trying to be hurtful, but simply because we don’t usually stop and analyze the flow of a conversation.

People want to be listened to, and to feel that what matters to them matters to others (or at least that they matter to others). Make a mental list of the things that are important or interesting to your friends and loved ones (consider family, social life, professional life, hobbies, etc.), and think about what they tend to bring up in conversation and what gets them animated. If you aren’t sure, ask them questions and discover their interests. Then be aware in conversations, and be sure to inquire, focus, and engage.

What do they like to do?

Just like conversations, activities should be balanced. Do you know how your nearest and dearest would prefer to spend a Friday night? If not, find out. If so, ask yourself how often you do those things with them. In general, it’s best to find activities that are fun for everyone, but sometimes it’s important to step outside of your comfort and interest zone for the sake of someone else, especially if they often do the same for you.

shoppingI don’t like shopping, but when my sister Audrey occasionally asks me to tag along and give my opinion, I do so with a smile. Why? Because I love my sister, and she wants me to share in an activity she enjoys. It’s the same reason that Audrey has accompanied me to a couple of fantasy and science fiction conventions. And, because we both approach each other’s activities with a positive attitude, we’ve both had more fun than we might have expected.

A word of caution, though: Since that positive attitude is key, don’t put yourself in a situation where you’re going to be miserable, because that’s more likely to strain a relationship than improve it. Also, be careful not to accidentally pressure someone else into that kind of scenario. For example, your camping trip will be a lot more fun without me. Trust me on this.

What don’t they like to do?

grocery storeKnowing what your friends and family prefer to avoid in their day to day lives can give you lots of opportunities to be helpful and caring. My dislike of shopping is universal, and I used to absolutely dread going to the grocery store. When my sister Amy and I shared an apartment, she always took care of it, because she knew I couldn’t stand it. When Amy moved out, a friend of mine, remembering my aversion to this task, volunteered to do my shopping for me, since we lived relatively close. For him, it was a small thing. For me, it was huge.

When I moved into my house, my friend Carrie, who is an artist, picked out paint colors, curtains, rugs, and so on, because while I wanted the house to look right, I had neither the talent nor the inclination to really take on the project. When Audrey got engaged, I spent weeks researching, calling, and visiting wedding venues to narrow down literally dozens of options. She would have found the process torturous. I thought it was fun. My friend Jamie and I used to help each other clean our kitchens (same amount of work in the end, but better because we did it together).

Whether it’s a big or a little thing, helping someone with something they don’t want to do is a great way to show you care.

rainbow heart

What else do you think it’s important to know? What do you wish people understood about you? Let’s chat!

 

 

34 thoughts on “Worth Trying: Things to Learn About the People in Your Life

  1. The Eclectic Contrarian says:

    Well, I hardly ever hear anything from my family… One told me once that I needed to get a Facebook account so we could chat and keep up…. 🤦‍♂️ I have a phone and text and all that…

    I guess they think I don’t care. But I have a son that has particular issues and every day is different. And I don’t get out as much as I’d like and unfortunately I’m not a very social kind of guy. It’s nothing personal, but this goes both ways you know…

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      I don’t have Facebook either. Just isn’t my thing. I think having a balance with the people who are regularly in your life is the important thing.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. The Eclectic Contrarian says:

        I agree. I feel like my grandmother was the glue of the family. And I just knew once she passed that the family would drift. Sure as anything, they’re drifting.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Amanda Cade says:

        My immediate family is super close, but most of our extended family drifted a long time ago. We also have some very good friends that are honorary family.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. The Eclectic Contrarian says:

        I’ve actually gotten closer to my people on the blog than my friends I’ve had in real life. Though they’re few.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Amanda Cade says:

        The fact that you engage with us shows you care. Same idea, different medium. I always appreciate your interest and support. 💖

        Liked by 1 person

      5. The Eclectic Contrarian says:

        Even that goes both ways. Thank you Amanda!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Thought provoking post, I thought of how I didn’t fit in my family (first reaction) then I remembered points in common and realized that it’s best to focus on that. Your article is very helpful, thank you Amanda ❤️, I like the rainbow heart illustration too.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      I think all relationships can benefit from reflecting on the the other person’s life and interests, as well as common ground. If everyone is cognizant, everyone wins.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Very perceptive, I agree.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. kagould17 says:

    I just want people to tell the truth about whatever. Some people just can not deal with feelings, so they make up a story that they have to keep feeding. These same people tend to not like to listen unless the story is about them. Good conversation involves talking and listening and I am always enthralled when this occurs. Happy Sunday Amanda. Allan

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      Honesty is critical for open communication. Happy Sunday to you, too.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Dont seem to talk to my family as much now. When we do it’s usually about the weather or football. We had been such an open family.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      Does your family live close by, or is distance a factor?

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I guess I’m the opposite. Everyone seems to be too busy in their lives to care about anyone but themselves. I give but never receive.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      It’s unfortunate how often relationships feel one-sided.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. masercot says:

    There’s something comforting about talking about the boring stuff in our friends’ lives…

    Liked by 3 people

  7. alexraphael says:

    Whether it’s a big or a little thing, helping someone with something they don’t want to do is a great way to show you care 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      It’s something I appreciate so much, especially when things are crazy.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. smilecalm says:

    wonderful encounter people
    who still actually talk to others
    in person 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      I love face to face communication.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. The Eclectic Contrarian says:

    I want to thank you for your support for me and the blog! Out of 150 something followers I struggle to find people to nominate and I feel like I don’t give everyone the credit they deserve. It’s another reason I hate awards … but thank you for your support and encouragement!

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Jina Bazzar says:

    I’m like that D person. I listen and nod along to a variety of topics that i may or not enjoy, but when I want to talk about something, I’m like A – i try a few times and eventually give up.Lately, I stopped trying to open conversations as well.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      It’s very frustrating to be in that position. I’m hoping to encourage everyone to be more aware of conventional balance so no one feels marginalized.

      Liked by 2 people

  11. Carol Anne says:

    well I do wish people knew I have an aversion to bugs, and thats why when we have bbq’s I hate to eat at them! My family think I am weird and that is super funny and tease me about it!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      Bugs are one of the many reasons I don’t go camping. I’m completely terrified of them.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Carol Anne says:

        I wouldn’t go camping if you paid me €1 million no way 😘

        Liked by 1 person

  12. theresaly520 says:

    Wonderful post! It will very much help me in my life!😄

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Hi Amanda, I liked your post. One of my favorite categories on my WP blog and Pinterest account is Conversation Starters. I was a tongue-tied quiet sort who didn’t speak much, until I got fed up and started reading about what makes a great conversationalist. I discovered that it’s not rocket science and anyone can learn basic skills, to ask interesting questions to learn something about the other person. Turns out to be fun also.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      Absolutely! It’s a skill that didn’t come naturally to me, either, but you’re right that it was easy to learn once I got started.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Shell Vera says:

    Great post!! I think you summed it up very well!

    Liked by 2 people

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