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4 Ways To Connect In A Disconnected World

You takin’ to me?

Seriously! Who are you talking to?

In our hectic, dog-eat-dog, workaday world, where so much rests on productivity, meeting deadlines, and getting things done, we cannot forget that the people we deal with everyday are people. Frequently people walk into my office, or I see them at my daughter’s school, or around town and behave as if people are means to an end.

No, “Hi.” No, “Good Morning.”

Nothing.

They launch into business – usually something they want someone else to know or do. A flippant and dismissive air of , I don’t care about you, I only care about my agenda is all too clear.

It comes across as rude. And you don’t want to be rude.

Before you think I’m just ranting, all this rudeness is actually hurting you spiritually, professionally and relationally. Each day you are given a gift: People! Your relationships with people and what you can accomplish together is an opportunity for your growth and success. Folks know when we’re being used or when you’re speaking to us to advantage yourself and your agenda. We don’t care for it, generally, even though we like you. We’re willing to deal with it for a little while, but not forever.

Instead of seeing friends, coworkers, and neighbors as a means to an end, how about committing to these 4 strategies to connect with others.

1. Ask, “How are you?” when you greet people. 99% of people will say, “I’m fine.” That’s okay. By simply asking, you’ve affirmed a basic truth of our creation; we are made in God’s image. Humans have inherent worth. Would it be so bad if all of us went to bed tonight and knew at least one person inquired about our lives? You don’t have to be interested in the details of other people’s lives, but other people’s lives have details that matter to God. If you’re a Christian, this simple question (in a world where it’s no longer asked) may be the slight opening you and God need to open some powerful conversations.

2. Put Away Your Phone. Families, businesses, and nations have been productive and healthy without cell phones for centuries. Your e-mail, twitter feed, or facebook page can wait. If you’re not concerned about your spouse going into labor imminently, the buzzing phone in your pocket can wait! It really can. We all have cell phones nowadays, whipping yours out and checking your e-mail doesn’t make you look important, it makes you look pompous! And quite frankly, it can be hurtful

3. Take Off Your Sunglasses. Good grief, we’re not standing at the North Pole. The sunlight isn’t going to burn your retinas. You’re not Paris Hilton! What are you hiding from? When you’re talking to someone, look them in the eyes – even if you’re outside. When we look people in the eyes we tell them that they matter, that what they’re saying is important and they are worth our time. Hiding behind sunglasses makes people wonder what you’re looking at and what, other than me, is occupying your attention right now.

4. Touch Someone. You’d be amazed at how many people live from day-to-day without anyone touching them – no handshakes, no hugs, no pats on the shoulder or back. This is unacceptable. Years ago I had a professor show me a video of Mother Theresa. He said, “Don’t listen to the audio, just watch what she does with her hands.”  That video changed me. One of the things which amazed people about Jesus was that He physically touched people — even untouchable people. Obvious, this should be done appropriately.

I have a simple rule: Every person needs a look, a touch, and a word.

What do you do, and what can you teach us about connecting with others? Share in the comments section below.

  • Good stuff! I heard someone this morning say that most of us are addicted to “Busy.”

  • First off, hello Sean! See I do get it!

    I think you make a very good point here. I’ve also noticed these same occurances all too often and in order to be the change I wish to see in my world have made it a point to…

    1) Use peoples names whenever I can.

    2) Try to not be in such a hurry that I can’t take a minute and chit-chat with people if they seem to be looking to engage me

    3) Be genuinely interested in others and do them the courtesy of actually listening to them.

    Thanks for posting your thoughts Sean, the art of relationship between people is definitely something we all need to do much better at!

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  • Deanna Love

    Sean, how are you? Just want to say that I am blessed to be part of a church family where everyone hugs everyone and stops to ask about one another — I mean REALLY ask. Most of us are older — maybe we have learned to take time for these things; maybe we are not in such a hurry any more. We all have cell phones, but not the fancy “extras.” Visitors remark about the warmth of this congregation. As I said, I am blessed. And I am blessed to know you and your precious family.

  • Randy Couchman

    Good and practical pointers, Sean. Thanks. I have several places where I hang to connect with people in both ongoing relationships and new ones. I’d add one point to your list: Remember! You can see the sparkle in someone’s eye when you ask them about a topic, concern or issue they shared with you the last time you talked with them. Remembering a guy told me he had some marriage struggles going on, I periodically ask him how things are going at home. He lights up and willingly shares the latest on it. Remembering is work, and must be genuine, but man how it builds connection and relationship with folk. Remembering, we say to the person that they and their life are on our minds and important to us longer than just for a brief moment. peace, rc

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