by Gina B.
Having worked in the consulting industry, I find myself spewing annoying business-speak as it applies to my social life. One of those phrases is “value added,” which means going the extra mile to far exceed expectations. So . . . to apply this concept to relationships, I’ve decided that most people don’t add value in their relationships.
Are we afraid to go the extra mile when it comes to pleasing our significant others? Do we take each other for granted, or are we content to do just enough to avoid getting fired?
In a relationship, adding value, or going the extra mile is doing something nice for our significant other that we don’t have to do – but we do it solely because we know it will make him/her happy. If we care about someone, we should want to show it, and make him/her feel special.
For example . . . guys, let’s say you go to your girlfriend’s house for dinner and she nonchalantly greets you at the door in cut-off shorts and a tank top, and proceeds to the kitchen where she hands you a plate full of delivered pizza.
Granted, she looks great in shorts and pizza is your favorite, BUT . . . what if, instead, she met you at the door in a sexy dress and guided you to a candlelit room where she unveiled an elaborate home-cooked meal?
Wouldn’t it feel good to know that she made such an effort just for you?
Adding value doesn’t have to be high maintenance or expensive. Something as effortless as running her bathwater, bringing her a cup of coffee with her perfect blend of cream and sugar, or letting him sleep in when you know he’s tired can win BIG points.
Whoever coined the cliché “the little things mean a lot” really knew what they were talking about.
And speaking of little things, years ago I dated a guy who was extremely self-absorbed.
I didn’t know how bad it was until one day he pulled over to stop at a convenience store. He ran in, leaving me in the car, and emerged with a soda and a snack, which he devoured without offering me so much as a peanut from the Snicker’s bar.
I looked at him like he had three heads, and he didn’t understand. He asked, “What’s wrong? Do I have something in my teeth?”
I asked him if it occurred to him to offer to share his candy. He replied, “Well if you wanted something, why didn’t you tell me? You KNEW I was going to the store.”
He accused me of being petty and childish – “I can’t believe you’re getting mad over a candy bar.”
I tried to explain that it wasn’t about the candy. I didn’t really want candy. I was irritated that he didn’t even think about me. And, honestly? Even if he wanted to surprise me with something, he wasn’t attentive enough to know my favorite candy bar.
I became frustrated, because I hated having to ask him to be more caring and considerate. What's worse is that I was no longer inspired to go the extra mile for him, and in fact stopped myself from displaying my usual grand gestures for an undeserving man.
I realized that he would never get it. But I got it. I knew that if I wanted a considerate boyfriend, I was with the wrong man.
To go the extra mile requires observation and thoughtfulness. It requires knowing the likes and dislikes of your significant other, and caring enough to want to make their lives easier. It relies on the desire to make that person happy, and being so addicted to their smile that you’re inspired to run a marathon of extra miles.
Did I hear someone say “What do I get out of this?” Shame on you! Making your significant other happy should make YOU happy.
Ideally you’ll get everything back in return, turn a mediocre relationship into a great one, and avoid getting fired for failing to add value.