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cozysweater
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27 Oct 2012, 7:51 pm

I was talking to a co-worker the other day about her impending retirement and her possible volunteering activities. She said "Relationships are really important to me. They're not important to everyone. Take you, you don't invest in people because you're afraid you'll get hurt."

This took me completely by surprise, first because it had nothing to do with the conversation we'd been having about volunteering at a hospital and second because I get in trouble when I just come out with stuff like that, but she acted like it was completely acceptable.

So it really upset me because I feel like I really do invest in people. I make an effort to always meet people with a smile and to consider how my actions would feel if someone were doing the same thing to me. I listen when people want to talk about their problems and I try very hard not to drone on about my stuff, but to keep my conversation as humorous as possible because I know I can be a little intense. I always try to remember to ask about them/their loved ones. I share information about me and try not to ask too many personal or uncomfortable questions of other people. I give genuine and fairly frequent compliments.

It's true that I don't ask people to lunch or out to drinks almost ever, but truthfully all of that stuff above is really exhausting and most of the time I feel like I need my lunch break and my weeknight evenings to decompress.
I don't know what it is that I'm not doing. It's true that I'm not instant friends with people generally and I don't like to hug and I'm awkward. And maybe it is true that I'm afraid to get hurt. Most of the time I don't know when people are being covertly mean or taking advantage of me and when I do discover it, I don't really know how to deal with it. It's like not having skin.

Anyway, I don't want to get off track. My question is: What does it mean to invest in people and how is it done?
Thanks!



cathylynn
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27 Oct 2012, 8:33 pm

there are lots of things you can invest in people and it sounds as if you do some of it. time, energy, emotions, material things to name a few.



Vomelche
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27 Oct 2012, 8:36 pm

I think she meant that nowadays people are more impersonal at work, and don`t really socialize with each other too much or build actual friendships or partnerships. However in your case you are not one of those people, you actually care, but your anxiety prevents you from socializing a lot as well. I feel this way at my work. :arrow:



cozysweater
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27 Oct 2012, 9:08 pm

@cathylynn - I'll start bringing treats :)
@Vomelche - now that you mention it, that first part of your post might be where her comment came from. Earlier we'd been talking about another co-worker who had retired fairly recently (2 years ago) and is now ailing and in a nursing home. She's been visiting him regularly but hasn't seen any of the rest of us there. I can see how she would make the connection between her own retirement and his situation.
Obviously I didn't follow the thread of the conversation closely enough!



starkid
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27 Oct 2012, 10:23 pm

To invest in something is to work on it now to the extent that it will benefit one in the future. Like planting seeds and watering them everyday so that you'll be able to harvest whatever grows later. So, to invest in a relationship means to do things that will cause the relationship to grow into something more (more intimate, for example) than it was at the beginning of the investment. For example, you could help other people a lot so that they will be more likely to help you. You could be honest and responsible with other people's belongings all the time so that they will trust you more.


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Vectorspace
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28 Oct 2012, 4:45 am

cozysweater wrote:
I was talking to a co-worker the other day about her impending retirement and her possible volunteering activities. She said "Relationships are really important to me. They're not important to everyone. Take you, you don't invest in people because you're afraid you'll get hurt."

Why did she say that? It's non-constructive criticism, and it does sound a little insulting. So you might just ignore it.



Moondust
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30 Oct 2012, 12:13 pm

Just adding to starkid's very good explanation: Investing is about personal resources: money, time, energy.

I'm extremely often told things in the vein of your co-worker's comment. People call it "not investing in people" when you allow yourself to be your own person more than you sacrifice for the sake of belonging. This is an Aspie trait, only they think we do it consciously and as a personal choice.

I would've interpreted it as your colleague kind of excusing herself and like saying: "I know you probably don't see it the same way as me, because relationships are not the be-all and end-all for you, but they are for me."


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Sweetleaf
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30 Oct 2012, 2:51 pm

I prefer not to use the term invest in reference to humans, I mean to me that suggests you should be nice to people and make friends in the hopes you will get a gain out of it. Not sure that is quite how I define friendship I prefer having bonds with people and being able to relate to them regardless of if there is some sort of gain for me out of it.

A relationship/friendship should be mutual but not based on gains in that sense.



Northeastern292
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30 Oct 2012, 4:12 pm

The concept might seem strange, but I see investing in people as making a contribution to one's relationship with another, in an almost literal term of investing. For me, it involves time, energy, attention, empathy and in most cases, money.