We have built our Northern Fir family from the foundations of our friends and family. The things our loved ones have taught us have carried into our core values as a business, and we have the sincerest appreciation for those who have helped us get to where we are now. We value our time with our community and know that with a good shoulder to lean on, anything is possible.
It’s been a bumpy road at times finding balance on how to show support and compassion in an effectively true way, but with experience comes progress. Life is confusing and complex at times (ask Langhorne Slim), and we don’t always get it right. But, when we do, the roots of our friendships grow deeper and we show up meaningfully and intentionally. Here are a few things we’ve learned along the way:
We have two ears and one mouth, and we should use them proportionately. Being a good listener goes so far in our relationships, and everyone appreciates being heard and understood. Your intention to seek understanding will not go unnoticed, and it likely will be reciprocated when you need to be heard as well.
Staying in touch goes a long way. Ever see that your friend was your other friend’s groomsmen or bridesmaid, and you didn’t even know the one friend was getting married? Yea, that’s not the best feeling. Growing is apart of life, and often by doing so, we lose touch with those from our past in efforts to reach our future. Staying in touch with people who have made an impact on you is important, so don’t wait to pick up the phone and reach out.
Noticing the small things really stands out. From our loved ones’ hobbies, passions, strengths, and nuances, there are a variety of ways for us to validate and compliment their uniqueness to the world. Let’s face it, there is no shortage of reminders to question ourselves every day, but with supportive friends and family, we have the opportunity to be reminded of why we shouldn’t.
Handwritten notes may be old-fashioned, but they are timeless. Remember the days when we’d pass notes back and forth in class? Reading back on those sends us into a total time machine, and we’re instantly pulled back into who that person was by simply looking at their handwriting. Writing a note to a loved one is giving them a piece of you that was only meant for them to have. It shows that you took the time to sit down and spend part of your day thinking about them, and that feels good for anyone. If your hands are crippled by prolonged computer usage, then check out TouchNote, a really neat app that lets you send your photos as postcards.
Respect your loved ones’ feelings and opinions. Political, religious, or emotional differences are ripe for arguments and if treated without delicacy can land you in a hole that’s hard to dig out of. Be mindful of your loved ones’ differences on the topic at hand, and do more listening if you find yourself in a disagreement. It may be an opportunity for you to learn something new.
Ask open-ended questions in trying times. The best kinds of people to talk to are the ones who don’t have to say a word of advice for you to get to the resolution you were looking for. You know the ones we’re talking about. They ask a few open-ended questions, guiding you to your own answers, and before you know it you have figured out the problem at hand and know which direction to take.
Make eye contact. There is a reason why we get a certain stir within when we make eye contact with others - it’s powerful and is meant to convey connection, attention, and focus. Look your loved ones’ in the eye (not all weird and aggressively) when they’re speaking, and show them you’re focused and seeking understanding from them. This podcast from BBC is a few years old, but it talks about how important eye contact can be in establishing your role in a room. We also love this article from Mind Body Green on how to become a better listener, which stresses the importance of putting down the cell phone and making eye contact.
Most importantly, showing up when they need you and remaining an active part of their life will strengthen your relationships. We want your life to be as full as your beard and the beards in it. Life can feel busy, but it’s never too busy to make time for the people you care about. There’s the old adage, people won’t care until they know you care - let them know you care.