I read an interesting article recently where they talked about the ‘weak ties’ in our lives. I had never heard that expression before. A weak tie is basically acquaintances or contacts we might have met or spoken to for whatever reason, but don’t really know. Think business contacts, LinkedIn contacts, choir members, fitness club members, pub regulars etc. They can also be old friends that we lost touch with apart from that Christmas card every year.
A strong tie is what is says, someone you are close to and know well. Family or friends that care about you and you care about them.
These weak links connect us with other people indirectly or directly. When we isolate ourselves by just socialising and meeting the same group of friends all the time, we miss out on new experiences and knowledge that different people can share with us.
Diversity and change is good in life. Pushing ourselves out of our comfort zones might be scary but it generally pays off!
By chatting to other people and being friendly, we also become happier people as one of our human needs is connection. It feels good to be greeted by my name in the coffee shop or newsagent or bumping in to neighbours on the road. We all need to be seen as a human being.
How do you connect with people? Are you friendly with your neighbours? The newsagent? The butcher or greengrocer? Other parents at your kids school?
All these connections matter to our wellbeing. They can also be very useful for our professional lives.
Weak ties might bring us new information about job opportunities or new connections into other vital areas of our business. The relationship with our weak ties needs to be maintained, bringing our networks together to enable information between the different parts of our networks. This information can become the information we need to advance in our own work, or it might be recommendations and information to get us the job opportunity we've been looking for.
Maintenance is a big part of all of this. Remembering and acknowledging people we meet is one thing. Welcoming and friendly no matter what kind of day we are having is another. It’s how we make other people feel that they will remember!