Lesson 18: Keep track of the things they like

The size of the gesture is never as important as what the gesture implies.  Humans are social beings and get immense satisfaction from having the things we like and enjoy acknowledged by others.  The smallest gesture that is based on something they enjoy is a reminder to them that the things they like are important to you.  It shows that you are committed to the relationship and serves as the fuel that keeps the fire lit.  

Makes sense right?  Sounds easy?  Seems logical?  This is one of those things that falls under the category of “common sense is more uncommon than you think.”  As sensible, easy, and logical as this concept might seem, it is so much more integral to a relationship than you might first believe.  It is another one of those things that can either work well in your favor or, if neglected, build-up to the relationship’s demise.  It is important that you never underestimate the value of knowing the things that make your significant other happy.  

It is about so much more than giving them the material things they want or taking them to the events they want to attend.  This is one of the areas where your true commitment and devotion to the relationship are being tested.  How much attention have you been paying?  Are you listening to what they say or carefully observing the things they do?  Attention to detail is more important than you might think.  Momentary distractions that seem inconsequential, like spending too much time on your phone, watching the TV, or even listening to something else while they are talking, can spell disaster.  It only takes a second to miss something important.  

All of a sudden, strategy and compassion become close teammates.  Put them together and you will find that things start to work out in your favor.  Subtle comments and behaviors are easy to miss.  The statement “that’s pretty” or “wow look at that” can mean so much more than “I want you to see this too.”  It is an opportunity.  Maybe not at that very moment, but buying that as a gift at a later date, or even talking about it at a later time, you demonstrate that you were paying attention.  It is important to show them that the things they like are important.  They are important enough to make the things they like or care about important to you as well.

There is no shame in writing things down.  Life is difficult and unpredictable.  Things happen.  Maybe you were paying attention but then things happen that cause you to forget.  A missed opportunity, even on accident, is still a missed opportunity.  It is easy to get overwhelmed and forget.  Writing things down not only helps you remember the places and things, but it also helps to reinforce how important they are to you.  Take the time and make the effort.  Taking 30 seconds to write something down is a small price to pay for the continued happiness of the person you love.

I am not saying that you have to remember everything.  It wouldn’t hurt, but it is understandable that nobody has a flawless memory.  That is not an excuse that should cause you not to put all of your effort into maintaining as much as possible.  If the person you are with is truly a person you want to spend the rest of your life with, why would you not put every effort into knowing as much about them as possible?  Relationships don’t have a finish line.  It is not a game or race.  The effort has to be ongoing.  Communication can never cease and you should never be afraid to ask for clarification.

Communication is critical.  This is another opportunity where asking questions can also serve to strengthen the connection between you and your partner.  People may not like repeating themselves, but that doesn’t mean they don’t want you to know or understand what it was that took place.  If you are unsure, ask.  If asking might potentially upset them, consider an alternative approach that helps you attain the same information.  You don’t have to ask exactly what they said.  Try something along the lines of, “I heard what you said but I am not sure I completely understood.  Would you mind explaining it to me?”  Ensure that they always know how important they are to you.

Takeaways

  1. People like to know you were listening.
  2. It’s nice when your significant other remembers the little things.
  3. Know what makes them happy.
  4. It only takes a second to miss something important.
  5. Ask for clarification.

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