I’m a firm believer that family is a big part of your personal happiness. ‘No man is an island’ is how the famous quote goes. And I think that’s certainly true.
But the only way for your family to keep you happy is for you to keep them happy. It’s a two-way exchange. So the first thing I think you have to do is to give them gifts. But not the gifts you might think of.
Nobody is going to remember the time when you bought them the latest iPhone. What they will remember is the gift of experience.
The gift of experience can be anything from a day on the coast to a trip down to London. It doesn’t have to cost half as much as you think to create those great memories. Not only will they have a great time, you’ll have a great time too. Both you and your family will value each other more.
Now it’s time for what makes everyone the happiest. It’s a great revelation in the age we live in today. Are you ready?
Talk to them.
I know, it’s an incredible revelation in a time where everyone appears to be glued to one screen or another. I can’t underline how valuable just sitting down to talk is. This is why in my house I make sure that everyone sits down for dinner at the table and no phones/tablets are allowed.
You don’t really have to be talking about anything that important. But socialising is great for happiness. Look online and you’ll find a multitude of studies backing this up. Keeping people happy is about being able to socialise with them in some meaningful way.
If your only interaction is “what’s the football score?”, it’ll soon be like you haven’t spoke for seven years. Make a real effort to go further than that.
I could ramble on about this for hours, but I believe that the last thing you need to do is to recognise what’s important to everyone within your family.
Simply taking an interest in the things that matter most to each person, and not trampling over it, is a big step. It sends a message that you really care.
Now I’m not saying that I’m wild about my son and his video games. I’m also not wild about my daughter’s obsession with wanting to become a hair stylist. But that doesn’t matter. I still talk to them about it and make an effort to take interest.
We all have things we care about and don’t care about. Just stop thinking about yourself for one second. Sometimes the only thing we share in common with our families is that we’re family. Don’t let that stop you from letting them know you care about what they do, though.