Never eat alone – the key to great relationships
This is not about food itself although it does matter as does the atmosphere in which you enjoy it. Sitting at a round table sharing food and drinks with another person or people is one of the primary attributes of being human. We may have refined it to the extent possible from the time we came out of the caves. As sophisticated as this can get, at its core it helps us connect at a deeper level – because it allows us to play the role of a guest in a different than “normal” setting no matter what our roles in business or other social settings are.
Just the other day I was sitting around a dinner table at a nice restaurant with a few fellow workshop speakers. We had concluded an all-day seminar and even though we had worked on developing the material for years, we did not know each other all that well personally. Initially, I really thought about not going as I was exhausted from the event and travel. That changed really quickly and I was so glad that everybody went including me.
It humbled me listening to each other’s personal challenges, back grounds, experiences, life journeys, etc. Having a good laugh and also some somber moments really made us appreciate each other as a person. It helped us walk in the shoes of the other person. This builds trust and trust is the key to everything we do. I know that this will change what I will do and think in the future – for the better of everyone.
What does this knowledge do for you? Really simply put, by never eating alone it allows you to build a community of people who will have a different connection afterwards. When you are sharing food and drink you are more relaxed and topics of conversation are much more random. You get to be YOU. You can share your aspirations, problems, dreams and so much more. You get to know the same from the other folks. This is the key to forming long lasting relationships that are beneficial for everyone involved as long as you go into these events without expecting anything back – ever.
I invite you to think about making a routine of inviting friends and also folks whom you do not know all that well for a quick coffee, breakfast, or dinner. Try to getting to know them. Really get to know them. I believe you will be amazed by what you will find out about the other person as well as yourself. Call someone whom you look up to, but you do not even personally know them. A genuine conversation will almost always be mutually beneficial. Make sure you do not expect anything out of this and that no favors are asked.
Here is a quick book tip for you book worms: Make a point of reading Keith Ferrazi’s “Never eat alone”, which provides plenty of examples about the how’s and why’s of sharing meals.
Enjoy the day pondering whom you should call tomorrow. Good luck and a great appetite as well. Cheers!