When it comes to relationships, people tend to over complicate them. They make relationships seem like these difficult things that take a genius to figure out. You will hear statements like, “Who knows what they’re thinking” or “I’ll never be able to figure him out.” But I think these are general statements that can be replaced by one simple question…”What’s the least I can do to make them happy?” I ask this question, not for you to figure out the minimal amount of effort to put into your relationships, but to figure out the one thing you can do, in a given moment, to make a relationship better, and do that. Often times, it doesn’t take a massive action, just a little one. Let’s look at a couple examples…
Play A Game With Me
Imagine this…you have been up since 6am. You get in your car, battle traffic to get to work. You don’t have your best day in the office, but not your worst either. You hop back in your car for that fun ride back home. You’re exhausted. You walk in the door and your eight year old jumps out and says, “Play a game with me.” Now, you’re extremely tired and even hungry, so your first instinct is to say, “Maybe after dinner. I just got home.” But then “after dinner” never happens because you’re more tired after dinner than you were when you came home. “Maybe after dinner” turns into “We’ll play tomorrow.” Your eight year old is disappointed, and deep down, you are too.
What if you had taken the 20 minutes and played the game? Perhaps you would have made your eight year old’s day and went to bed that night being a bit happier with yourself for making them feel important. Think about it. It was the least you could do.
Wash The Dishes
Your spouse has had a full day of work, only to be confronted by making dinner and two hours of homework when they walk in the door. They quickly make dinner for the family, and you all eat while watching a show. The show is over and the first thing you’re thinking is to get a shower and call it a night. But there are dishes to be done. Your spouse, who usually does the dishes, gets up and moves towards the kitchen to clean up. And why not, because that was a roll you both established for the past 10 years. They’re doing the dishes, you finish watching TV, and then they get started on homework.
Later while sitting on the couch, you start to feel a little guilty because you are chillin and watching TV and they’re still doing homework. But what if you had taken that 15-20 minutes and cleaned up after dinner? What if you were less lazy, more considerate, and helped out your spouse big time? Your spouse would have been a little less stressed and you would have felt a little less guilty. Just 20 minutes to clean up was all you had to do. Think about it. It was the least you could do.
The point I am trying to make here is that sometimes it only takes the smallest amount of effort to make a world of difference in someone else’s life. And those small amounts of efforts over time can make huge differences in your relationships. Seriously think about it. How many times could a little bit of effort on your part speak volumes to someone else? In my opinion, if such a small effort can make a world of difference to someone else, then I believe we are obligated to make that effort. The smallest effort on your part could remove stress from a spouse’s life or put a smile on your child’s face. Why not take the time to make a big difference in their life? They will be happier because of it, and believe it or not, you will too.
The next time you’re asked to do something, or something comes up that you could do to make someone else’s life easier, just do it. Maybe you don’t feel like it at that very moment, but the reward of doing something good for someone else will pay you volumes in the long run. You will be happier and your relationships will be better. And isn’t that what you want? Certainly, it is the least you can do.