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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Importance of Catching Up

Velo Rouge's warm Breakfast Croissant served with fresh fruits. This at 10:30am is heaven.


Last Wednesday, I met up with my friend Aileen, former USF classmate and contributing writer to 12ftdwende.com at SF's Velo Rouge Cafe. You can also find her blog Deep Fried Funk in the blog world. She wanted to have a "creative catch up" session and because it's always good to see friends, there's definitely time to make it possible.

This blog post is merely a reflection of why I feel it's important to keep in touch with friends. Before I get into the "why," I've listed some "rules" about catching up so continue to read if you're interested:

First off, it needs to be genuine: Everyone needs help in their life and we're bound to ask another friend for help. Yet, to catch up with someone to ease your way into their graces in order to ask them a favor is not a genuine move. Relationships cannot exist because it is just beneficial to another person. Instead, relationships exist because both people can enjoy each other's company and are really interested in each other's life, and their endeavors.

To catch up means to ask questions: The reason why you're meeting up for food and/or coffee is because you want to know what's going on with your friend's life. This is especially easy if it's a one-on-one meeting since all your attention is directed to the person you're sharing a few bites with. Ask what s/he has been up to since the last time you saw her/him; ask if s/he has ate at a nice restaurant lately or anything else that s/he can enlighten you with. When it's your turn, your friend will ask these questions.

Share resources: If you're meeting up with someone and it has been awhile, chances are you've seen/talked to this person quite a few times in the past and so you do have an idea of who s/he is. Because you have a basic understanding of who and what this person is, you should be able to pitch some resources that s/he may be interested in. For example, Aileen mentioned how she wanted to be better in networking, so I told her about the books I've read that may help her: Dig Your Well Before You're Thirsty by Harvey Mackay and books by Seth Godin were my top recommendations for her. Maybe it was a documentary you saw or an article you came across in the news that may be related to what s/he does...point is, make whatever you've come across recently that reminded you of your friend known. These resources you've found may be useful for your friend now or in the near future.

To catch up means to listen: I already mentioned that you should ask questions but sometimes, the tendency is to direct the other person's reply back to you. "Oh yea! That reminded me of one time when I...." or "Yeah, when I watched that movie, I definitely had a good time. My favorite part was..." You asked the question, so listen to their answers first and let them finish their thoughts.

Make it a routine: After catching up with your buddy, immediately schedule your next catch up session. If yall can't meet up again in person, make a note to email that person or an old-fashioned phone call. Let the other person know too when you'll want to talk again and s/he will be ready to update you accordingly.

Now you're waiting to know "Why is it important to catch up?" Here's my analogy:

We are all spiders. Yes those creatures with 8 legs who spin webs. And the key here is that spiders spin webs. From my experience of finding spiders, they have all been independent living--no one but themselves and their web.

We humans on the other hand, are social creatures dependent on our interactions for practically everything--food, entertainment, love, etc. Yet, we drive ourselves independently--we choose to do what we want to do because we can.

Relating ourselves to being spiders and spinning webs, we all need to construct this web. It's vital that we make a big strong web, aka our network, in order to survive in this world as well. If you ever watch a spider construct a web, he has to go around and create each web link one by one. If one web link is weak, then the entire web is weak as it can collapse when the flying prey gets caught. Just like us, we need to make our links strong and reliable. And just like the web, all the links are connected.

I've learned recently the importance of networking as it can get you really far [number one marketing tool is word of mouth and that's not possible if you're not part of a network]. In my opinion, a genuine network is not just accomplished by merely knowing a person of importance or who is connected to other people. It needs to be nourished, cultivated, and repaired one link at a time just like a web is constructed. Should your links get neglected, take time to revisit it and do whatever you can to refresh it.

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