How Building Relationships Can Improve Your Life

In the good old days, think Little House on the Prairie, every town had their one person of each trade. If you needed a doctor, you called for Doc Baker or even just shouted, “Get the doctor!” and everyone knew who that doctor was. If you needed supplies, you would go to the general store, and you knew the owner by name, and all his family.

Not only did you know these people, they knew you well because you were the only one of your trade in the town. The doctor would ask about your family members if he saw you or even your neighbor in town. He would answer questions for you, without strings attached –no bill would be sent to your home for a street visit. The general store clerk would let you make payments, without interest. He would lend you things you just needed for a day.

That’s just how things were back then. People needed each other even though in reality everyone had a monopoly of their trade. They could have charged whatever they wanted and if you didn’t like it, your only other option was the next town over which was a days journey there and back, but these people know you, and your family. They didn’t rip each other off because someday they may need your services and on top of that, they were your friends in the community.

In contrast, today if you don’t like the service you are getting, you can easily toss a stone and hit another business willing to undercut the competitors to give you a better price.

The mentality now is, You don’t need them and they don’t need you. There are no relationships built with businesses today. That is why mom and pop stores are such a prize to find. They give you friendly service without asking much, because they come from the good old days where this was just how things were.

But what happens in today’s world when you try to create relationships with those around you?

My wife and I have been going to the a particular restaurant for almost three years. It’s like clockwork, every Tuesday, if we don’t have a meal planned, my wife says, “What about Garcia’s?”. She loves this place, and Tuesday they offers kids eat free. We get in and out of there for under $15, full and with enough leftovers for my wife to eat for lunch for at least a few days. Not only is the food great, and the price very low, we have gotten very friendly and built relationships with some of the servers. They know our names, our kids names and our ordering habits.

This restaurant serves free chips, salsa and bean dip to every table. We love this stuff and always ask for an additional dish of bean dip, because they are small and we go through a dish in a matter of minutes. If one of our waitresses sees us come in, even if we are not seated in their area, they tell the hostess to bring us extra beans, salsa and chips. Did you read that? Even if we are not seated in their area..even if they stand to make no profit from their efforts, they make sure we are treated very well, because they know us!

The moral of the story is, instead of trying to sap the world for all its worth and looking for every way you can gain from a situation, try building relationships with the people you interact with. You are already in contact with these people on a regular basis, so why not brighten up both of your lives, and make something more out of the interactions.

Though you may save money this way, and receive better service, the benefits will go far beyond the physical or fiscal realm. You may just make a lifelong friend and make someones life a little better in the process.

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15 People have left comments on this post

» CraigNo Gravatar said: { Nov 23, 2009 - 12:11:46 }

Building relationships and networking is always key. It’s true when they say it’s who you know, not what you know. Having those connections can help in all aspects of life, which is why it’s very important to be friendly to others.

» AshleyNo Gravatar said: { Nov 23, 2009 - 12:11:53 }

Good post! As us Texans say, a little southern hospitality goes a long way 🙂

» Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar said: { Nov 23, 2009 - 03:11:18 }

Craig, thats a great saying. It really is our relationships that help us grow and become better people. It’s almost Christmas and I can’t help but think of old Scrooge..

» Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar said: { Nov 23, 2009 - 03:11:54 }

Ashley, I’m technically Texan too 😉 and I agree!

» Mother NatureNo Gravatar said: { Nov 24, 2009 - 05:11:08 }

Yay for Garcias and Yay for the good old days!!!

You know I grew up in a town where everyone knew each other and those who liked you gave good service with a smile and those who didn’t like you were grouchy just because they didn’t like you or your dad or mom. I still get that reaction when I go “home” and people know who I am. But I have noticed in big cities some people act like they know and care about you even if they don’t know you. It is alot like the Southern Hospitality mentioned earlier. When we lived in New Mexico everyone acted like they knew me and wanted to be of service. Sometimes I wondered what they knew that I didn’t. Looking back, I think it helps to be friendly with them and they feel comfortable being friendly back.

Maybe you shoud plan to do something nice for those people at Garcias for the holidays: a gift certificate, a thank you card, or a small token of appreciation. We recieve a card each Christmas from someone here that we don’t know, but it is nice to know someone appreciates our business.

» Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar said: { Nov 25, 2009 - 10:11:34 }

And last night, you know where you could find us 🙂

I lived in that town too Mom, and the people hadn’t changed. There were still some that didn’t like me just because of your parents and vice versa.

I had thought about sending a card with thanks to the Garcias wait staff. They never fail to impress.

» Mother NatureNo Gravatar said: { Nov 25, 2009 - 04:11:19 }

I was reading in Family Circle magazine this morning and there was an article on Holiday Bonuses that I thought you would find interesting. Here is a portion of it: “Planning on recognizing a teacher or coach during the holidays? Ask your kid to make a special card or bake cookies. The gift will be more meaningful than one that came from mom. It’s hard to know how much to tip when times are tight. Giving thanks without going broke with these etiquette guidelines. (1) It’s ok to tip less than usual with the low economy. (2) You can express your gratitude with a home-made gift like crafts or cookies instead of cash. (3) Decide who gets a tip and who doesn’t by creating a budget and prioritizing whose services mean the most to you. (4) If you tip regularly, a holiday tip could be something simple like flowers or a scented candle.”

It is nice to say Thank You to those who serve you during the holiday season but don’t go over budget or go into debt to do it.

» Paula: Protect Yourself With Collection LawsNo Gravatar said: { Nov 29, 2009 - 02:11:25 }

Well said.

I live in a small town with a nice downtown shopping district near a major metropolitan area. The smaller shops are continually churning: some close, some open. It’s my hope that our local population will start to appreciate the nature of our small shops and come to cultivate relationships similar to the types of which you speak.

» Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar said: { Nov 30, 2009 - 12:11:32 }

Mother Nature, thanks for that info. I read an article a while back that talked about who most people would be tipping and why. I thought it interesting that many of them that were surveyed were tipping professionals that I would never ever consider tipping. I think these tips are great, thank you for sharing.

» Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar said: { Nov 30, 2009 - 12:11:42 }

Paula, I think we all need to appreciate local businesses and create relationships with them. Even if the business closes, those small business owners may need a contact and you could be that contact. Think of the fable of the Lion and the Mouse, they may come back and help you out in the future.

» hard money loansNo Gravatar said: { Sep 30, 2010 - 03:09:04 }

I love this sense of community where evreyone helps eachother out!


» LauraNo Gravatar said: { Oct 4, 2010 - 04:10:00 }

I love the idea of a community – and the fact of you are smart you can create your own to help you in business!


Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar Reply:

There's little like close-nit communities when you need support or want to get something accomplished!

» EmilyNo Gravatar said: { Mar 10, 2011 - 07:03:51 }

This is so true, and so hard if you were brought up in a loose-knit family.

Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar Reply:

But so worth it if you can do it!

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