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Tue, July 2, 2013
Open Up!
I don't come from a large family. I have a handful of aunts and uncles and a batch of cousins and quite truthfully, not only are we not close, most of us don't care for one another.

Growing up, no one in my family had a gaggle of friends either. We didn't entertain much and neither my mother nor my father had a close friend loitering around; there just wasn't much of a feeling of intimacy about us as a family unit. It didn't occur to me that other people had established different kinds of rules around "relationships" with other people, friends, family or otherwise. Looking back on it, it feels like we were kind of a group of loners.

As an adult, I have what seems like a large group of people surrounding my life: business friends, yoga friends, leadership friends, radio show friends, soccer friends, there is never a want for people to connect with and be friendly to and have good conversation. But interestingly, I have learned to engage at a distance-give it all in the open and then retreat to my little circle of the "chosen few" (husband, two kids) and hunker down and then expand in the open and close down and expand. You get the idea.

We never have people over-it seems like an intrusion. I rarely socialize after hours-it feels like a bother. In fact, don't invite me to your wedding because chances are, I will not show up.

This is such a perplexing conflict of my personality-I really love people. I love connecting with others and discovering what makes people tick or where they have been and what they have done. I am energized and excited about great chemistry you experience time and again with a like minded individual and I crave those moments. But at the same time, I am fickle and flaky about when I will engage.

Today, I went on a walk and spent a shocking 3.5 hrs with a professional "friend" who literally lives down the street from me. We went walking and spent some time chatting at her house and I confess, I did check the clock a few times (to see that an hour had passed since I had last looked at it) and though I knew I should want to go home, I didn't feel pressed to do so. What I discovered is that we had so much more in common than I originally thought and dipping my toe into the pool of connectivity isn't really serving me in the long run for bonding with kindred spirits that really does enrich the soul.

I think that I learned through my upbringing that intimacy in the form of casual relationships was not for "people like us"-what that means I really couldn't tell you. Out of a family of 5, no one did it and as a result, it made intimacy look risky and friendship, burdensome.

It is a wonderful feeling to widen my circle of connectivity, if even for a few hours. We all have a deep need for appreciation and appreciation for who we are uniquely, as individuals, is probably one of the greatest needs of all. I work in leadership and I know better than anyone that trust and relationship is one of the most powerful tools in the greatest leaders' toolbox and so is the ability to question how authentically you give of yourself to others.

Observe your contact with others and identify how much of "you" they are receiving. Give and you shall receive.

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