We love deposits. Every time your paycheck lands in your bank account, you undoubtedly feel a bit of excitement, or maybe even relief. Whenever you receive an unexpected gift, or a bonus, that extra deposit puts a smile on your face (and might even send you on an unexpected shopping spree). And the more deposits you make into your retirement account, the more it compounds over time.
But money isn’t the only area deposits make a difference. Relational deposits are equally powerful…even more so. When we make deposits into our relationships—whether at home, at work, in community, or among friends—we experience a greater sense of joy, meaning, and fulfilment. The relationship flourishes, trust deepens, and lives are enriched. So, what does it look like to make a relational deposit? Here are ten deposits that will add value to your relationships today.
People tend to rise to the level of belief we have in them. Our belief helps them have access to the confidence they may be lacking in themselves. Belief may be the quickest way to deepen trust in the relationship because it is exponentially positive in nature. It can shift the negative self-talk and narrative of self-doubt, replacing it with truth, hope, and an optimistic outlook. The deposit of belief says, “No matter what anyone else says, I believe in you.”
Our culture—and human nature—has trained us to talk more than we listen. If we’re not talking, we’re thinking of what we’re going to say next. Unfortunately, few of us took a class in school on how to listen. Conversely, many of us took a class on how to talk better. And yet, listening is the loudest and most effective way you can communicate. Listening is an expression of respect. It’s a deposit that says, “You matter, and what you have to say is worth hearing.”
A sense of entitlement is growing bigger every day in our culture. It expects more for less. It demands its rights without carrying its responsibilities. And when somebody does something for us, entitlement views it as something we deserve rather than an undeserved blessing. How do we fight this attitude? With gratitude! Being thankful and expressing thankfulness loosens the grip of entitlement and makes a deposit into our relationships that acknowledges the value others bring to the table. It says, “Thank you for everything you do. Our family, our team, or our church is better because of you.”
Encouragement is oxygen to the soul. We all need more of it, which means we should all give more of it. The deposit of encouragement lifts people out of despair and puts wind in their sails to keep going, keep persevering, and stay in the game. Ephesians 4:29 says, “Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.” Encouragement is the deposit that puts courage into the heart. It says, “You’ve got this, you’re going to make it, God is with you.”
A common emotion in some relationships is jealousy. The way to eliminate jealousy’s hold in your life is to celebrate the person you’re jealous of. You can make the deposit of celebration with birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, and other milestones. It can also happen by acknowledging and encouraging someone when they share personal successes and organizational wins. Celebration says, “Congratulations! I’m so proud of you.”
You’ve heard it a thousand times: “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” And it’s still true. Caring is the relationship deposit that goes the second mile. It’s the “double-deposit” because it takes time to empathize and then time to act. It combines acknowledging a need with addressing a need. It’s the attitude of service combined with the act of serving. Caring says, “I notice what’s happening and I want to help.”
Sometimes the greatest deposit you can make in a relationship is wisdom. How do we provide this deposit? Through thoughtful coaching or mentoring. Coaching takes AIM at potential: it offers Assessment, Insight, and Motivation. In other words, it takes time to assess a person’s needs or challenges, offers insight (or wisdom) to help them move forward, and then motivates them by cheering for their success. Coaching says, “I see your potential and I want to help you seize it.”
Relationships are never efficient. The moment we treat relationships as a task to check off our to-do list is the moment the relationship becomes nothing more than a transaction. Time is the key. That doesn’t mean we can give time to every person; nor does it mean we can allocate time in equal quantities. The deposit of time says, “More time with fewer people equals greater impact.”
Apology is the relational deposit that requires a posture of humility. When we make this deposit, we own our mistakes and mend bridges before they become permanent fractures. Apology says, “What I did was wrong. I apologize and I need to ask for your forgiveness.”
Healthy relationships are not always serious in nature. They make room for fun and allow the relationship to flourish in a relaxed, life-giving environment. The deposit of fun says, “I enjoy being with you.”
These aren’t the only deposits that will enrich a relationship, but they’re a great place to start. Which deposit do you make most frequently? Which deposit is long overdue? Which deposit will you make today?