Saturday, March 21, 2015

Fostering Friendships

This week I have said goodbye to a new friend as she stops being a work colleague and we begin a life long friendship!

Throughout our lives we meet all sorts of people with whom we come in contact. We may see these people for only one day, or perhaps two, may be even a month one year or could be a lifetime, but each and every individual forms part of our lives and we have different relationships with all of them. I categorise these in three buckets:

·      Everyday fillers – those who you know as part of your everyday life
·      Essential Relationships – these you need to function every day
·      Long Life Friendships – rear and add meaning to your life

Everyday fillers

These individuals are those you don’t care much but they are part of your life – in other words you deal with them as part of your transactional everyday life. They may be customers, neighbours, work colleagues or people you come in contact with during your day; you are polite to them and they are polite to you back. They make little contribution to your live or have no effect or impact on us, they are there as part of our routine, but will not miss them when they are gone. You may see these individuals for one day or a lifetime, but you never forester that relationship and never moves form a greeting or chitchat to anything meaningful.

Essential Relationships

Then we have those who we interact more and build a relationship with and become essential for us to function. Those may again be customers, work colleagues, schoolmates, or simply someone we see on a regular bases in social circumstances (a bar, a club or at the occasional dinner party). We may share things in common; our children go to the same school, we visit the same church or live in the same area. We probably care a little bit more about these individuals than the everyday fillers and, unlike the fillers; they have an impact in our lives. This is usually as a result of us choosing to build a long-term relationship (we worked together for a long time or have lived in the same street for years) we have clicked with them and have form an alliance that makes us feel comfortable with them.

With this people, while we are with them we enjoy their company, due to the more in-depth relationship their behaviour affects us (we slightly care about what they think or do) but at the end of the day when they are gone we would probably not miss them and may never see them again, unless circumstances brings us together in the future in which case you are pleased to see them. But you wouldn’t go out of your way to keep in touch. Social media has widen the scope to stay in touch with people so perhaps we will continue to communicate with them but this essential relationships become everyday fillers, we don’t really care and we just scroll pass their posts on Facebook unless we want to bitch about their new job, friends, houses or holidays.

Long Life Friendships

These are those we care about, and have a massive impact in our lives. These people are generally those we have chosen to be part of our lives. This group are instrumental to our day-to-day life, long term plans and in general they are part of who we are. We enjoy their company and respect them for who they are; we care about their opinion and we value their input. These individuals may not be in our lives every day, but they are present and always there. Everything about them matters and distance or time has no effect on how we feel about them, they have a special place in our lives.  We, and they, have chosen to build a long life relationship and will forester that relationship for the rest of our lives.

And fostering relationships starts as everyday filler, moving to an essential relationship before you become a long life friend!

Many of the people I consider important in my life started as everyday fillers, becoming essential relationships and gradually I cared enough to continue having them in my life. They moved from someone I knew to someone I liked to someone I care about. And I may only see once these individuals in a blue moon, but having them as part of my life makes a difference and I work hard to continue fostering those friendships for a lifetime.

I am grateful for all the people I know and have met in my life, whether they are everyday fillers, essential relationships or long life friends, I think being able to have people around you is important to keep us going and remain sane. Foster each of those relationships individually and how you want them to affect your life, they will make you who you are and bring that richness in your everyday life.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Price tag! Is it really worth it?

Everything in life has a price but the big question for me this week is - is it worth it? And how much something is worth is subjective and dependent on so many factors you would need to be Einstein to work it out!

If like me you are an Apple avid fan you would have been holding onto the edge of your sit as Apple announced the much awaited release of the Apple watch to the market this coming April. And if like me you were holding onto the edge of your sit waiting for the details so you could rush out and get yourself a brand spanking new apple watch, shortly after you would have fallen off my chair when they announced the price tags of these devices!

I don’t think I have ever been so disappointed in my life! As I picked myself up form the floor and threw a glass of water over my face to make sure I was not dreaming, it began to sink that I was probably not going to get myself a new gadget this summer.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Apple and all it means, and I am always prepare to pay top dollar for their products, but I think this time they push the needle too far. To have what I consider a gadget or accessory to the already expensive I-phone costing as much or even more than the phone itself it’s beyond my understanding. You need to realise that for the watch to work you need to have a phone, so how can it cost as much as the phone? Where is the logic in that? And not only it is expensive, this is first generation and many features or enhancements have not been brought in to their customers, so technically it is a watch that tells you the time, your heart beat and will send messages all for the price of a fully functional smart phone… am I missing something here?

The disappointment really got me thinking about what this all means (I guess knowing I won’t own an apple watch for a while gives me time to do other things with my life, like thinking!) I realise that everything in life has a price tag but it is not always worth the figure is written on it, or at least not to everyone. And that perception of worth goes with everything, not just material things. I have often seen people asking for more money because they think they are worth a lot more than what they get paid. In some cases they are right, but most of the times no one has held a mirror against them and showed them what they are really worth. This is the issue that occurs when people share things like salaries, once you know what someone is earning, you think you are much more expensive than them and start to demand more money.

We shop at Lidl, the German supermarket that a few years ago in England was considered a shop for lower classes. They sell products for much lower prices that some other supermarkets but this does not mean they are lower quality; they are, in many cases, just unknown brands to the UK. After the recession hit hard, many which in the past would have turned their noses up to products they thought were cheap (which they were but also tasty) are now regular consumers of these products and the company has grown bigger than ever. So why do some people still pay higher prices for similar branded products in other shops? I guess the answer is similar to why Apple has brought a watch that cost as much as a smart phone, there is still a market for those who think that paying higher prices means they are getting something better. I guess is all a matter of status and choices, and if you think that it is worth it, you will go out and get it, no matter how much it costs.

We all have things we value and are prepared to pay for them if we think they are worth it, no matter how much they cost; a car, a house, a television, a computer or smart phone or even a watch, but for me at the end of the day you have to keep in mind - is the price you are paying is in proportion and value to everything else around you?  Sometimes it just doesn’t make sense and you will be better off finding something that really represents its value and that you are getting what you are paying for. Believe me, as an Apple loyal customer, I can tell you right now that 600 USD for a watch is not worth the money.

I shall sit and wait, to see how this goes and if the prices eventually will drop. I just hope that my addiction for apple products doesn’t over take and I end up paying too much money to know what time it is and how many steps I took today!