The Value of maintaining Relationships over the long term

Networking-this word has become the buzzword for many, but just what does it mean and why is it important?

Secondly, what is the real value of maintaining relationships over the long term?  For many in today’s world the term relationship is one that means substantially less than what it might have meant in years past.  A relationship now can be very short term in nature, but relationship for those from the boomer or mature generation can be much deeper.  Let me share a few examples.

Most members of the mature generation, meaning those born before 1945, know the world from a much different perspective than those following after.  Consider the events that many mature people have experienced:

  • If you were born in the 1920’s, you experienced the stock market boom, bust and the ensuing depression
  • if you were born in the 1930’s you experienced the depression and then world war 2
  • if you were born in the early 1940’s you experienced the war years and the rationing that came with that

I dare say that most of us following this time have experienced anything quite like these things, at least until the great recession of 2009.

What does this say and do about relationships?  Here is what the influence is.  Relationships forged during difficult times are much longer lasting and they rely on a much greater degree of trust and mutual interest.  When you consider the circumstances of the 30’s and 40’s you can see that most people had very little in material possession and they needed one another to a much larger degree.  Collaboration was essential and trust was critical.  That has not been as much of an issue in later years as we have all acquired much more in material wealth, at least those of us in the USA.  Only in the past 2-4 years have we started to digress in our holdings, especially those holdings that have been debt financed.

What relationships do you have that are more than 5 years old, or over 15 years old?  Dare I ask if you still have any relationships or friendships that are over 25 years old?

I ran into a friend at a sporting event recently and I can honestly say that I have known this person for 34 years.  We attended high school together, then 2 years of college and we continue to talk and interact to this day.  Neither of us lives in our original hometown, but circumstances keep causing us to cross paths.

Relationship building can be short or long term, but the best relationships are those that are forged when there is a vested need on the part of both involved.  This mutual interest causes trust to be extended, and trust is the foundation of all relationships.