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Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Relating -- Social Connectability -- StrengthsExplorer



Children especially talented in the Relating theme enjoy starting friendships and keeping them for a long time. They naturally expand their social circle. As with most of the StrengthsExplorer themes, this talent can show up in many ways. Relating children might be excellent at making a first connection with others, or more talented at deepening long-standing relationships. They may, in fact, be great at both. This theme is about connecting with people and nurturing that connection. 



Spotting Relating talent means noticing the connections kids make with others. You might notice children with this talent waiting for others before jumping straight into an activity, or offering an invitation to someone who is shy or special to them. These children’s days are colored by their friends. Being with others changes them, energizes them. They have a strong external radar. Their interaction with friends will have an effect on them. Look for the kid who seems to just naturally speak the language of others. Maybe it’s someone who has a secret handshake with their friends, or someone who easily and quickly connects with adults, teachers and parents.

Another important note about Relating children: People like them. They want to be where the people are. They’ll thrive around friends and are always open to making them. They may watch other kids closely, not to imitate or compete with them, but to make that connection. They’re more animated and happier when interacting with friends.

Adults might gain insight into Relating by noticing that “people person” is an apt description of most individuals with this talent. There is a great dose of Relationship-Building talent here -- talent that could eventually mature into one of many adult CliftonStrengths themes about social connection. The full definition of this theme can sound like Woo, Relator, or both.

To see yourself as an adult reflected in children with Relating, consider a relationship in your life that gives you energy. Who do you spend time with who changes the rest of your day? These kids quickly have that kind of internal connection to external partners. They love it, thrive on it and seek it. Being around others is like a mutual battery charge -- they feel fully energized and leave others experiencing a similar boost.

Here are some great ways to describe and accept Relating:

  • Friendly
  • Open
  • Social
  • Charming
  • Warm
  • Sincere
  • Genuine
  • Connector
  • Social Conduit
  • Gracious
  • Approachable
  • Generous
  • Inclusive
As with all children, once we’ve identified their currency, we should exchange some of ours so we can better trade and engage with them. Relating children deal in the currency of connection. Studying their connections, celebrating them and uncovering how they make them is an investment into your kid’s talent. Ask questions that enhance this understanding:

  • Who are your best friends? What do you do together?
  • What are some of the talents you notice in your friends?
  • What did you learn from your friend?
  • Who did you play with today?
  • What’s most important to you in a relationship?
  • What superpower do you bring to your partnerships/friends?
  • Who is your sidekick? Whose sidekick are you? What do you do together?
  • Who should we invite to play with us?

Affirm the talent of a Relating child by getting to know their friends. Ask your kid about their relationships, and honor their talent by letting them talk about what’s going on with other kids. Listening is affirming. Don’t offer advice on friend issues unless it’s asked for. Don’t see this external interest as a lack of internal control. Instead, it’s a choice and a delight in connecting with others.

Explore the uniqueness of your child’s talent. Relating describes a social connection, but it can manifest itself in so many different or multiple ways. Get to know how your kid best interacts, and set aside a great space for that interaction.

If your child has one best friend, set up a play date with just the two of them, or have your child join the same after-school activities that the friend is involved in. Maybe it just means showing up early to school because that’s what the single best buddy does.

If your child thrives on meeting new people, spend time in parks, on large teams, or at tournaments or get-togethers.

Maybe your kid is really at their best when they’re connecting other people to a group -- so find ways for them to be an outreach specialist (recruiting other kids to join a team, or to sit with them at lunch).

GODOIT CHALLENGE

Grow: What can you do this week to help invest in your RELATING child?

  1.  Nail the Introduction
    • Learn and practice a killer handshake. You can use the practice too! Debrief with your kid about who you met and what you learned about them. 
      • Make eye contact and repeat the other person’s name.
  2. Play With Your Friends
    • Life can get hectic, and we can get so used to doing things that we forget to nurture the people we are doing them with. Once this week, do something that’s in service of social connection, rather than activity for its own sake. 
      • Set up a play date
      • Show up to cheer on a friend in a speech meet
      • Have lunch with your favorite group
      • Take the carpool the long way, and just listen to what happens
For more information on the tool itself, including a sample report, check out StrengthsExplorer.

Register for the 2019 CliftonStrengths Summit

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