by Chris Widener
I heard a speaker recently who was talking about how to maintain strong relationships. As I listened to his basic principle, I realized that it is true in all of our life situations, whether work, family, etc. And, let’s face it; relationships are what make the world go ’round. So strong healthy relationships will make your work more enjoyable, and prosperous, and will make your family and friend relationships better as well.
What was the principle? The speaker said that each point of connection is like an anchor in the relationship, and the more connections you have, the stronger the relationship will be. He calls one-connection relationships “simplex,” and multi-connection relationships, “multiplex.” The strongest relationships are multiplex.
There is also the idea that some connections are stronger than others and so you want as many connections as possible and you want those connections to be as strong as they can be as well. Confused? Let’s put some legs on this. We’ll take a business situation and we’ll take a family situation to illustrate the principle.
Anchoring work relationships. Let’s say you sell insurance. A guy walks in and says, “I would like to purchase some term life insurance.” You have a simplex relationship. The connection is that you both want him to have insurance. As you get to know him better and get information from him, you realize that you have a multiplex relationship growing and the chance that your business relationship will grow is improving.
“You grew up in Iowa? Me too!”
“You like to golf? Me too!”
“Your wife and you like to go to the opera? So do we! We should go together sometime.”
The multiple connections are anchoring your relationship.
Anchoring a family relationship. Let’s take a marriage in trouble. Chances are that at one time, the relationship was multiplex. Because of time, work and other stresses, the marriage has deteriorated to the point where both are thinking, “What did I marry this person for?” Or “Why do I stay?” The chances are that now the relationship is simplex. Maybe it is that the one connection is that they want to do right by the kids and so they “Tough it out.” What is the answer? I believe that it is regaining a multiplex relationship. Work hard to make those other anchoring connections. Did you used to play tennis together before the kids came along? Go play tennis together on a regular basis. Do you both have a common interest in a specific cause or charity, but time hasn’t allowed you to pursue it? Take the time! It will anchor your relationship again!
I think you get the point.
Take some time to think about your current relationships. Are they as multiplex as they can be or as they used to be? Think about the new relationships you will make in the coming weeks or months. Think of ways you can make them strong by finding multiple connections, securing deeper and more fulfilling relationships.
Make your relationships “multiplex” and you make them strong, with an anchor that will not let them go!