Monday, February 24, 2014

Why personal relationships matter

We all know that relationships are important; they often provide us an advantage when we need to get something done. Maybe you know someone who could help you out? Or maybe someone they know could lend a hand? Relationships are currency, and you can use them when you need help or advice. As you climb the career ladder, this interpersonal skill becomes increasingly significant. Making friends and building relationships is an important facet of leadership, but it is often a very difficult skill. Building relationships and knowing how to leverage them are key skills in professional life.

In a different context, an article from the University of Minnesota's Center for Spirituality & Healing suggests these relationships are a vital component of health and wellbeing. From the article, having these strong interconnected relationships can help you in several ways:

Live longer
A review of 148 studies found that people with strong social relationships are 50% less likely to die prematurely. 
Deal with stress
The support offered by a caring friend can provide a buffer against the effects of stress.
Be healthier
According to research by psychologist Sheldon Cohen, college students who reported having strong relationships were half as likely to catch a common cold when exposed to the virus.
Feel richer
A survey by the National Bureau of Economic Research of 5,000 people found that doubling your group of friends has the same effect on your wellbeing as a 50% increase in income!
Take this opportunity to refresh your personal networks. The more people you know, the better you can navigate your organization and get things done. But don't let your relationships grow stale; seek new opportunities to renew existing friendships. If you call from someone in your relationship network, take a few moments to catch up before getting down to the task at hand. Or simply call or visit that other person, just to say hi and see what's up. These short moments help to build up your relationship currency.

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