Sometimes people hurt feelings. At least for me – I can be overly emotional and quite frankly, tend to think about things too hard. It can be difficult to know how to handle the situation, what to do, or where to head with the relationship afterwards. But there’s an art to relationships, like there is with everything in life, and the important thing to do is learn how to master the art.
Now, none of us are flawless in handling relationship mishaps, or even relationships in general, for that matter. Some of us have withdrawal issues (your friends have to track you down and bring you back to them after you run off), some of us have the urge to always be best (yes, your friends forgave how you put down their favorite bands to hear of the preeminence of yours), some of us have problems effectively communicating our emotions (your friends obviously love you if they stayed with you after one of your explosions, and you’re so thankful for this). Whatever your close ones struggle to maintain, whatever you struggle with in relationship upkeep, rest assured in knowing there is an art to handling each little thing.
I wish I had all the answers and could solve everyone’s problems. But the truth is that I can’t, nor can anyone, write a book let alone a blog post on how to treat and heal relationship hiccups. We all have different relationship dynamics, different backgrounds, and different needs. That being said, to suggest there is one set formula to forming your perfect relationship would be ludicrous. There is, however, one set way to finding your perfect formula, and that’s called love.
Love can come in many different shapes and sizes; don’t be misguided in assuming love brings altogether the same actions and feelings to a relationship. Sometimes love is a firm push towards a better directive, while other times love can mean making yourself completely vulnerable to a person. There are truly an uncountable number of ways to show love, so many so in fact that it can be incredibly overwhelming and confusing to know what exactly to do when you love a person. For me personally, I’ve found one specific way to build back burned bridges and bring folks closer to together. I call it “the art of writing Christmas cards.”
I’m talking about the real deal: handwritten, personalized, snail mailed Christmas cards. Something special. Something displaying care and time. You’re going to need to know the person’s mailing address; you’re going to need to buy a couple books of stamps. There is something special about that. There’s something incredible about sitting down to write a stack of Christmas cards, taking the time to craft something specific, personalized – formatted to snugly fit those relationship dynamics and the past history. There’s also something incredible about opening up your mailbox to find a handwritten Christmas card. Incredibly incredible. I feel like this is due to the privacy and intimacy of receiving something only meant for your eyes. Sure, you could eventually hang the card on your fridge, but, originally, was it not meant for you alone? I guess one could say handwritten cards are heart-touching because there’s an assiduity in knowing it wasn’t about how many likes or comments could be racked up.
Christmas only comes once a year (obviously). I use the example of Christmas cards because it’s easy to see how writing a personalized, handwritten Christmas card could make an impact in a relationship. That being said, just imagine using this kind of approach in every day life! When you want to say something about your friend or a family member, ask yourself if you would say the same thing in a handwritten card. When you tag someone in a Facebook post, tweet, or Instagram photo, are you tagging them for them or are you tagging them for the publicity? When someone is going through a rough patch, do you leave them your condolences in the form of a bland comment, or do you privately message some heartfelt sincerity? People can see whether or not you’re staying surface. People can tell when you’re using depth. People care.
This Christmas, maybe make it official and write a stack of Christmas cards. Clear a place in your schedule to sit down and, without any distractions, take the time to really think about what each person means to you. How do they make you happy? Why are you thankful to have them in your life? Has it been a while since you’ve seen them? Invite them to coffee. If they live out of town, tell them you miss them.
All this may seem like a cliché, but this type of mindset does have the power to drastically transform and build relationships. I’ve won back distant friends and family members by simply showing I care. You can win back distant friends and family members too, and you can do so this holiday season. Just show them you care!