Real Friends

Katie Corbett headshot

By Katie Corbett

As I enter a new season of my life, I am finding it important to evaluate which people are my true friends and which are acquaintances. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve noticed it gets harder to make new friends because people have busy lives. This is especially true if they move away, get married or have some other relationship change, or if they have kids.


When I do take the time to meet new people, I like to evaluate whether they might become true friends, or if they will remain acquaintances. There is nothing wrong with having acquaintances. These people can be fun to do things with every once in a while, and you might see them around at events and it could be nice to have people to say hi to.


True friends, while harder to find than acquaintances, are totally worth the investment, in my opinion. I recently made a list of the qualities that I am looking for when I make new friends and reconnect with old ones.


I encourage you to think about the qualities you are looking for in your friends. Do you want them to be reliable? Is it important that they understand and accept factors of your identity or life situation?


Have you made a list of criteria for evaluating whether someone might be a true friend? What happened? How did it help you? I would love to find out, so feel free to leave me a comment!


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How Improving Social Awareness and Relationship Management has Helped Me in Tough Times

Katie Corbett holds the book "Emotional Intelligence 2.0"

By Katie Corbett


I was working at a summer camp and was tutoring math to a student who needed to pass a state exam. Math was not his strongest subject. I was really glad I had social awareness and relationship management as tools in my toolbox throughout that summer.


The book, “Emotional Intelligence 2.0,” by Travis Bradberry, helped me grow in and improve at these skills. I could tell how my student was feeling using social awareness, and used relationship management when giving feedback.


I could tell when this student was ready to buckle down and get some work done, and when it was better for me to make a game up for him to play and learn skills through fun. I could tell when he was ready for tough feedback and when Praise and encouragement were needed. This may seem trivial, but I think it made the difference between his leaving early, as he had wanted to do, and his completing the program, as he ended up doing. It also made for a less stressful summer camp counselor experience for me, too.


Improving these skills has helped me far beyond that summer experience. I use these skills every day when I’m asking my husband what he wants for dinner, telling a friend about a tough day I had (and knowing when and how to ask about them), and listening to a family member share tough news. It is my hope that you’ll learn more about EQ, and that it can help you in your life, too.


Are you working to improve in the areas of social awareness and relationship management? If so, leave me a comment and let me know how growth in these skills has helped you.


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How My Tendency Helps Me Relate to Others

Katie Corbett holds the book "The Four Tendencies"

By Katie Corbett


We do not live or work in a vacuum. Even if you are a researcher in Antarctica or work in some other remote location, I would imagine you have to interact with others. Insights about personality can help you understand yourself and how you relate to those around you.


I learned of my Upholder tendency in the book, “The Four Tendencies,” by Gretchen Rubin. This knowledge helped me work with others more smoothly. It also helped me be more understanding and appreciate the unique gifts each of us has to offer.


I learned first and foremost that being an Upholder is rare. Few have this tendency to be able to fulfill both the expectations they set for themselves, as well as those expectations others set for them. This knowledge gave me a lot more patience when working with others, especially if they didn’t always follow through. Here’s an example of when this patience paid off.


I love book clubs. I can always get myself to finish the book before the discussion, even if it means I spend the entire day reading the book. I used to get annoyed when other members of the club would not have completed the book before coming to discuss it. Since learning of my Upholder tendency, I have become more patient with others and celebrate their presence at the meeting, as opposed to being irritated that they didn’t read the book.


I encourage you to learn more about your tendency and consider how you relate to others. It might help you become more patient and understanding, and it will probably help your projects go more smoothly.


Have any stories about how discovering your personality type helped you collaborate with others? Leave a comment and share it with me.


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An Unexpected Time to Build and Nurture Relationships: The Morning

Katie Corbett holds a book

By Katie Corbett

Building and maintaining relationships is essential for happiness. (Researchers have done studies on it and it’s true!) In those hours between waking and heading off to work, I’ve discovered it is possible to work on relationships with others.

In the book, “What the Most Successful People do Before Breakfast,” time management expert Laura Vanderkam suggests many ways to develop relationships in the early hours of the day. Here are some I have found success in doing.

• My husband and I discuss our plans for the day together while we get ready.
• While I’m waiting for something, such as the bus to come, or for my water to boil for tea, I send text messages to friends I haven’t connected with in a while.
• If I have a longer swath of time available, I might call my mom for a quick chat.
• If, during the night, I remember that I wanted to get in touch with a specific person, I add their name to my list of things to do for that day.
• I went to a networking breakfast once, and while I’m not usually in a chipper and talkative mood in the morning, I was able to follow up with connections later in the day.
• One of my friends and I text almost every day, and our first texts are usually sent in the morning.

Vanderkam recommends a family breakfast, since evening meals can be hectic with all the after-school activities children have. We don’t have kids yet, but if we ever do, I plan to try this.

What are some ways you have optimized your morning time for relationships? Leave ideas in the comments.

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