Staying on course with relationships in retirement can be a challenge. It takes constant adjustment to maintain a good solid relationship, just like paddling a kayak.
As a baby boomer retired or getting ready to retire one of the key non-financial issues you will encounter is dealing with relationships in retirement. Working relationships will change just due to the fact you won’t be interfacing and connecting with co-workers the same way you did while working. The same with vendors, salespeople, customers, etc. whom you worked with for years. It’s just a matter of out of sight, out of mind and relationships drift apart.
Now you start to look for new relationships on your next journey and your new adventures. As you determine your next journey, who are the people resources you will be seeking to help you out? The people with similar goals and ideas who have some experience in the areas you are exploring. How do you engage them and get their perspective?
How about your partner and your new relationship with them now that you are retired and perhaps they are also? Maybe for the first time in years you are both home 24/7 and spending more time together than ever before? How do you handle that? How do you meet each other’s expectations?
What about other family members such as siblings, children, grandchildren and more? How do you effectively connect with them and gain value by having a good solid relationship with them?
Do you feel bombarded with questions about relationships? Well you should because your relationships are going to change for both the better and the worse depending on the situation.
One of the key tools that will help you out is learning how to effectively listen when having a conversation. I know that sounds trivial but it is a powerful tool that will help you communicate.
Our default behavior is to listen for a break in the conversation so we can cut in and provide our perspective. We really aren’t focused on what the other person is saying because we have a better story, better bit of advice, better tidbit to place into the conversation. But guess what? Once we jump in when there is a break in the conversation, we don’t connect or empathize with the person. The focus isn’t on them but rather it is on us.
Listening to Understand
Rather than listening with the intent to jump in when there is a break in the conversation,try listening to understand. One of the key phrases you can use to help you connect is a very simple one. “Help me understand.” That simple phrase is so powerful in a conversation. Try it in your next conversation and see what happens. You will be amazed at the response. Some connection question variations are simple also:
“Help me understand how you’re trying to deal with that issue?”
“Help me understand how I might be able to help you?”
“Help me understand a little bit more about what you’re experiencing.”
“Help me understand how that’s affecting you?”
“Help me understand why that’s important to you?”
Good relationships take a lot of work and learning how to use some simple tools can help make the process of building good relationships easier.
Check out the podcast on Chemical Brain Freeze “The Adventures of Unstructured Time” Show #3 at Anchor.FM/216-THE-NET. You’ll be glad you did.
Check out AdventureJerky.com for some great resources, like the book on dealing with non-financial issues in retirement.
Thanks for coming along!