Reach Out to Those Casual Friends You Miss
Leadership Tip of the week #122
adapted from HBR
On an average day, we interact between 11 and 16 times with casual acquaintances — Meeting new people at work or catching up with acquaintances casually for a coffee.
Now that we live in an era of social distancing, these once-common interactions have disappeared, and we no longer have physical reminders that we are part of a wider social network. Reaching out to show someone that you’re thinking of them will make you both feel a bit closer during this challenging time.
- First, think of the right way to reach out — is it a text, a phone call, an email, a Facebook message? What will put the least amount of pressure on the recipient?
- If you don’t get a response, don’t take it personally. Think about this interaction as similar to smiling at a colleague in the hallway: Sometimes you might stop and chat, and sometimes you might not.
- Instead of expecting a reply, enjoy the knowledge that your message is likely to deliver a little hit of happiness for the recipient.
- Set an expectation for a short and simple conversation — it will help avoid the feeling that socializing is another item on your to-do list.
- And if you do end up talking, share something about yourself — maybe a photo of your pet or child doing something funny — to help build positive rapport.
It may feel awkward at first, but reaching out to an acquaintance will create a spark of joy for both of you while you’re out of each other’s sight.
Let’s all reach out to one extra person a day for the next week?
This tip is adapted from “Why You Miss Those Casual Friends So Much,” by Gillian Sandstrom and Ashley Whillans