It’s no surprise that people rely on each other to get through the day. We’re social beings and we benefit when we’re nice to each other — when is the last time someone made your day a little easier? The last time someone held the door open for you, the last barista to give you a little extra foam just because? This idea can extend past small, meaningful actions. Checking in with friends, family, and coworkers with a visit, call, text, or email can go a long way in making someone feel supported.
According to Linda and Charlie Bloom, checking in “is taking a brief break from the many competing urgencies of our day to first check inside to see what we are experiencing and then to use that brief break to reveal to [others] what we are experiencing.” They explain that check ins can sustain people’s bond with others as it leads to a feeling of connection.
During long hours at work, it has made me feel better when a coworker makes a special point to stop by my desk and ask me “how are you doing?” Similarly, it always feels nice to get even a quick message saying “how’s it going” or “what’s up” from friends or family. These messages stop you in your tracks a bit, make you pause and reflect on how you really are doing. They encourage conversation and remind you someone cares. Whether someone is alone all day or surrounded by people all the time, knowing that their friends and family care about them can be very meaningful.
Danielle Sepulveres is a writer for Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls, and she wrote an essay about the importance of checking in with her friends. She shares that recently she received a text from a friend that said “Hey friend, I hope you’re taking care of yourself!” In that moment, she realized she actually hadn’t been taking care of herself, and that her mental health wasn’t in a great place. Sepulveres writes: “Plenty of people struggle with mental health issues and support is important, and we can also take the time to let friends and family in our lives know in general that if they need to vent about a rough work day, a confusing relationship situation, a tough boss, a health matter, we can be there. Sometimes we need an outside force to give ourselves the reminder of how important self-care really is.” She also says that her friend checking in had a domino effect, because it encouraged her to make time to read a book and to check in with some of her friends. Those check ins cultivated conversations in the moment, and led to the sharing of information and news, helping them feel more connected.
Checking in is also important for maintaining friendships, romantic and professional relationships. Linda and Charlie Bloom write that “more time, attention, care, dedication, and nurturing of the relationship are requirements…Only those who carve out sufficient time and energy to mutually support each other’s development will have success.” Checking in goes a long way in supporting individuals on a regular basis, but it also plays a large part in sustaining and growing people’s connections to others.
Whatever your reason for checking in with coworkers, friends, family, or anyone else, it can only lead to positivity if you are listening carefully and empathetically. As Sepuvleres writes, “we are all in this together and communicating with each other during the difficult times as well as the good is how we can help take care of each other as well as ourselves.” If you’ve been wondering whether to send a quick text or note to someone you care about, now is a great time to do so!