Back to the Basics #4: 7 Steps to Reconnect with an old friend (in 30 minutes or less)

Back to BasicsToday is a two’fer Monday!

My good friend and brother in heart, Phil Gerbyshak over at Make it Great! He’s quite the Relationship Geek that he claims to be; he really lives up to it with 500+ relationships on his LinkedIn profile. He’s a prolific writer and author of 10 Ways to Make It Great! and currently working on a second book. Without further ado from me, read up and read on!

Previously on Back to the Basics:
Back to the Basics #1: The Golden Rule
Back to the Basics #2: Be Grateful for What You Have
Back to the Basics #3: One Step Back to a Better World

Phil Gerbyshak - The Relationship Geek

7 Steps to Reconnect with an old friend (in 30 minutes or less)

Too often in today’s digital age, we go all high tech on our conversations. We’ve got Twitter, and Facebook, and MySpace, and on and on and on. But let’s get back to our basics. How do we have a simple conversation with someone we haven’t seen in a while anymore?

OK, so you’re busy. Me too. So how do you reconnect with an old friend, in 30 minutes or less, over a cup of coffee?

Step 1: Unplug EVERYTHING, yes, I said EVERYTHING – Are you guilty of checking your Blackberry or iPhone in the middle of a conversation with a supposedly important “friend?” Is your cell phone vibrating off the hook, or worse, ringing some silly ringtone, while you’re trying to enjoy a peaceful lunch with a loved one? UNPLUG IT ALL and focus on the other person for at least 30 minutes.

Step 2: Smile at the other person – Yes, a big smile will break down many of the usual barriers to communication, and allow the other person the opportunity to smile back at you, thus making you BOTH happy.

Step 3: Say “hello” and ask how the other person is doing…then SHUT UP! – After you say hello and ask how someone’s doing, SHUT UP and listen to what they have to say. Nod your head, smile some more, and get engaged in the conversation.

Step 4: Ask a follow-up question…then SHUT UP! – You were born with 2 ears and 1 mouth. Use them proportionately. Asking 1 follow-up question shows you are interested. Be careful asking more so you don’t seem like the Spanish Inquisition. Listen to what the other person has to say.

Step 5: Share your joys, avoid your pains – Honestly, NOBODY likes a whiner. People might say “It’s okay that you dumped your baggage on my head” but it’s really not. Not if you haven’t talked to them in a while. They want to hear your joys, not your pains. Save your pains for your therapist or your pastor. They get paid to listen. Others don’t. Honest.

Step 6: Say “thank you for the conversation” – Seriously, if it’s been a while, a “Thank you for making time for me” goes a LONG way towards reconnecting with old friends. We all feel guilty about it. So say thanks, simply, and leave it at that.

Step 7: Ask when you can see them again – Didn’t that 30 minutes go too fast? How about setting up another time, maybe for lunch this time instead of coffee? The conversation is pretty much the same in an hour, you just have some more food to interrupt you.