Forging New Relationships in Retirement
By Erica and Karen
Forging relationships with the people we worked with made us more effective, and our lives more rewarding. It took time, but it was worth it.
But not that much time. Often it was just a pause, taking a breath, before diving into the issue at hand. The pause might include talking about the weather, or them Mets, or golf scores, or a vacation just ended or upcoming. We were interested in getting to know people, and it showed. The pause also gave us a way to take the measure of the person we were dealing with. Sense of humor, or none at all? Flexible, or rigid? What was really important and what could be negotiated? Early signs can be telling in the long run. It is far easier to find a solution that works for everyone if you can figure out what makes a decision maker tick.
Gradually, and inevitably, our conversations became more personal. Family, hobbies, moods, personal issues all became part of the mix. And then, just as they felt free to ask us for favors—maybe related to work, maybe to the children’s school, or a job, or maybe tickets—we too felt free to call upon them. They became, and many still are, our friends.
When we retired, and then when we founded Lustre, meeting new people was still important to us, but our opportunities for doing so changed. Where once they were almost handed to us on a silver platter, now we have to go out and find them.
We are doing that. We have met many new people, by asking old friends for introductions, through non-profit work, classes and interests. Though our meetings may have less defined purposes, they also have a greater chance of leading to unexpected places and new people--so long as we pause and talk about who people are, where they have been, and how they see the future.
In the end, no doubt some will remain acquaintances, and some will become friends. Just like before.