I read something incredibly interesting the other day… research has shown that people who are in happy relationships or who have lots of friends live longer than those folk who are alone.
Duh! One tends to think that is obvious because they are probably happier and more fulfilled than those poor lonely souls who have nobody to talk to.
Originally they thought that individuals were responding to interesting topics or that it was the more stimulating conversations that possibly sparked off something in a person that made them live longer.
But ultimately it seems that WHAT is said does not really matter. It is more about HOW the other person responds to what is being said.
It all boils down to that human touch of caring, really listening and responding appropriately.
There are 3 different ways of responding to a statement that somebody has made.
If Jack says “It’s so nice outside tonight!” What he really means is something like – I enjoy being here with you.
If Judy replies “Yes, it’s lovely isn’t it!” She actually means she enjoys being with Jack too! This subconsciously makes Jack (and Judy) feel all warm and fuzzy and loved.
But if Judy says “Rubbish! The mozzies are biting me – I’m going inside!” this sends the message that she does not enjoy sitting outside with Jack and would rather be inside. This does not make Jack feel all that great.
Or worse, Judy could just ignore Jack totally and walk inside – leaving Jack feeling subconsciously sad and unloved.
Obviously the first response is going to nurture and deepen your relationship.
All too often we see somebody we know and, as we pass by, we say “Hey! How are you?” but then keep walking and don’t stop to hear their answer. This inadvertently sends the message that we don’t actually care how that person is.
Try something out – next time you ask somebody how they are – stop and actually listen to their answer.
It boils back down into that kindness pot again. In this busy world, it’s so easy to be self-centred and self-involved, but all it takes is a little bit of concentrated time to make another person feel loved.
Try it out – you’ll find it makes you feel good too!