I contend that it is rare that we actually talk about who we are to them, and who they are for us. Many of us are so scared of vulnerability (see HERE), we miss out on some of those amazing moments and incredible exchanges that can truly deepen the relationship.
Consider seeking out a 360 by interviewing people in your life. Take on a mix of some easy ones and hard ones. I have done an exercise like this before, and was shocked by some of the amazing responses I got from people I didn’t expect. From the positive and complimentary, to the zingers and stingers – it was all very valuable information. And in every case, I opened up a new level of relatedness to the person that allowed future such dialogue to be much easier to initiate.
Set up the conversation (or email if you aren’t ready for something “live”) by expressing your interest in gaining insight from the people who are important to you, whose opinions you respect. Ask them to be straight-forward, and that you won’t hold anything against them. Tell them you will only need about 15 minutes of their time. Write some questions ahead of time, or use a few of these:
- What do you see as my strengths?
- What do you see as my weaknesses?
- What works in our relationship?
- What doesn’t work in our relationship?
- If I were meeting you for the first time, how would you like me to see you?
- Is there anything I’ve said or done that left you (or others) upset?
- Is there any place you feel incomplete with me? Any place you don’t feel acknowledged?
- What talents/skills do you feel I could develop more fully?
- Where do you see me in 5 years?
What is available here is a chance to open up a conversation, to rid the room of white elephants, to refresh the friendship, to create a stronger bond through transparency, and the list goes on. You might actually get some amazing insight and praise to boot!