Taking a Relationship Inventory

January 24, 2017

Relationships evolve and change over time, sometimes for the better, sometimes not. The beginning of the year might be a good time to take a relationship inventory to remember what is important in life – friends, family and loved ones. Here are 4 ways to evaluate relationships:

  1. List your top 10 relationships in order of importance. This is a good exercise to help get perspective on the current state of the relationships in your life. It might immediately reveal areas for improvement, i.e. if someone is on your top 10 list but you haven’t spoken to them in months. Are you losing touch with people who mean a lot to you?
  2. List your top 10 relationships in order of time spent together each week. This list may look completely different from the first list, and may include bosses or co-workers with whom you spend a good portion of your days and weeks. It might include your significant other or parents. This list can provide insight into your relationships and the corresponding time investment. Do you spend too much time around negative people? Are there people who are important to you, who should be on this list, but are not?
  3. List 10 important people in your life and describe the basis of your relationship. For instance, “My friendship with Debbie is based on our common interests of tennis and skiing. We enjoy traveling together, we enjoy girl time (shopping, mani/pedis, happy hour) and she thinks of me as a mother figure. We send postcards, we talk on the phone, we follow each other on Facebook.” Or “My relationship with my son Bryan is one-way and based on my sense of obligation. He only calls when he needs something (money, car repair, etc.) Other than that, we really only talk about sports.” Listing the basis of your relationships can be illuminating, and highlight the need for changes. Do you need to develop common interests? Is there something you used to do together that has fallen away? What are you giving to, and getting out of, each relationship?
  4. List 10 important people in your life and one thing you could do to improve that relationship. For instance, “My brother Joey – call once a month,” or “My best friend Pam – set up a weekend getaway this summer.” Make the goals date-specific, so you can put them on your calendar. Is there something you could do to make that person happy? “My girlfriend Gloria – buy her a Groupon for ballroom dance classes.” Can you do something simple to brighten someone’s day? “My aunt Thelma – send her a card next week, let her know I’m thinking of her.”

Take responsibility for the care and nurturing of your personal relationships. Is it time to acknowledge that a relationship has fizzled and move on? Make sure you are investing your love, time and energy where it counts.

For professional and personalized emotional support, contact your Employee Assistance Program (EAP).