Are you obsessed with blogging?
As bloggers, it’s easy to find ourselves up late at night tweaking this or that, checking our analytics obsessively, or responding to our latest comments.
But what does this mean for our friends and family?
Unfortunately, it often means putting them on the back burner. More and more, time we once spent with loved ones has become time spent indulging our latest blogging obsession.
It’s not because we’re cruel or indifferent – we just want our blogs to succeed. And with this drive to succeed comes a compulsion to fully immerse ourselves in the task at hand.
So how can we remain connected to our loved ones without sabotaging our blogging efforts?
How can we reignite connections with our loved ones even when it feels like we’re focused on completely different things?
The Anatomy of a Typical Social Life & Why Blogging Disrupted Yours
Before diving into how to reignite a great connection with our dearest, let’s first examine what makes good times together feel so good.
Is it just about being physically together? Or is there something more to it?
Most often, quality time is about joint enthusiasm – a joint focus on anything from a great TV series, a hike, or even joint projects like home renovations and parenting.
And before blogging inserted itself into your life, you probably had a routine carved out to regularly engage in such activities with your loved ones.
But then, likely quite suddenly, blogging swooped into your life and ripped you away from your social routines.
And there your family and friends sat, dumbfounded, wondering what happened to your relationship. They probably even felt a bit abandoned.
Of course, logically, they likely realize you’re just excited about a new hobby or venture. But emotionally? It’s difficult for them not to feel displaced.
If you’re like most people facing a situation like this, you probably feel quite torn between going back to how things were and your new addictive interest.
Fortunately, there’s a solution.
The key is to learn a new way of connecting with family that isn’t about coincidental joint enthusiasm.
By developing a bit of skill, you can blog while knowing your loved ones feel as close to you as ever.
The Secrets to Getting Your Friends and Family Cheering For Your Blog
In the past, you felt emotionally connected to your friends and family most easily when you shared mutually enjoyable experiences.
Your connection was fueled by a coincidence of interests.
The secrets to staying connected even while you pursue a new, different interest are all about efficiency and skill.
The better you get at creating emotional connections – instead of relying on coincidental joint enthusiasm – the less you’ll feel pressure to revert to the status quo instead of spending time on your blog.
Let’s look at the key examples in action.
1. Ask These Magic Questions to Make Them Feel Cared For
If you’ve been blogging for any real length of time, I’m willing to wager you’ve dealt with some discord at home due to your blogging obsession.
It’s important to remember your loved ones are probably feeling a bit abandoned. Before, they had a companion who shared common interests. Now it feels like you’ve moved onto something else without them.
The old you may have delighted in 20 minutes of playful banter around choosing the perfect pizza toppings, but the new you is jamming 2 slices into your mouth in 5 minutes flat and scampering off to your laptop.
Whereas in the past you didn’t have to do anything special to show your loved ones you cared about them, now you do. Now you need to go above and beyond to prove to them you’re on the same page.
And the best way to do that is asking them questions.
This is a basic relationship skill that was always important, but it’s even more important now that you’re not sharing the joint pleasures you used to share.
In the past, feeling close happened after watching a 2-hour movie or going on a long walk together. With the right questions, you can spend 10 or 15 minutes and get the same feelings of closeness.
If you’re stumped on what to ask, consider picking a question or two from the acclaimed list of questions that psychologist Arthur Aron found to be so powerful. How powerful? They’ve been shown to induce romantic love in total strangers!
Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?
If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you choose?
If you could wake up tomorrow having gained one quality or ability, what would it be?
(Don’t worry; you can use these questions on your platonic friends without danger of converting them into love zombies.)
After you ask the questions, sit back and LISTEN to the answers. (You can check out a special guide I prepared on how to listen like a pro for free by clicking here).
Questions like these will definitely get your close relationships back on track, but chances are your family will want to talk about more than fun, hypothetical topics.
They will probably also want to talk about you and their own questions and concerns about what the heck you’ve been up to hidden away in your home office.
Handling those questions is the next base you’ll want to make sure to cover.
2. Address Their Concerns Head On, Even If You Think They’re Silly
Since you know you still care about the people in your life, you may find the notion of having to defend your loyalties a little silly and annoying.
You may wish the people in your life would “just understand.” You want support, not concern.
However, for the reasons mentioned above, it may not be that easy for them.
You’re going to have to do the opposite of what you feel like doing. Instead of emphasizing your own point of view, you need to emphasize theirs.
That means putting yourself in the shoes of your loved ones and probing into their fears and concerns – even if you yourself know some of the concerns are silly and unfounded.
Depending on the vibe your friends and family have been putting out to you, ask questions like:
Do you feel like I have been preoccupied lately?
Do you feel kind of abandoned by me?
Are you worried that I’ve lost my mind?
Does my new project make you wonder about whether or not I’m planning on changing my career plans?
By anticipating and acknowledging their feelings, you will be going a very long way in helping to stabilize them.
This technique – validating feelings – is the main technique employed by suicide hotline volunteers to stop possible suicide attempts in their tracks. It is that powerful.
So, now you know how to reassure your friends and family that you care about them, but what about your emotional needs?
How do you get your friends and family to care about your new hobby and make you feel supported?
3. Use This Simple Trick to Inspire Their Interest in Your Journey
Since you’re in the midst of a long and fascinating blogging journey, you may be inclined to share everything about what you’re learning with your friends and family, just as you’ve always done when something’s been exciting to you.
If you reflect on it, I suspect you’ll notice one of the things that’s been getting in the way of you and relationship bliss is the fact your friends and family might not be as excited about the ins and outs of blogging as you are.
Blogging can feel like it involves 101 different skills. There is so much to digest and master as a blogger it can make a person’s head spin.
But if your head is spinning and you’re the one dedicating hours to learning and understanding each week, imagine how your loved ones must feel every time you launch into a long monologue about the virtues of email marketing over social media marketing.
Still, you want your faithful companions to bear witness to your journey. That’s part of what a relationship is about, after all!
Fortunately, there is a neat little trick that will make getting this need met much more likely.
All you have to do is ask before launching into a long, complicated, meandering story about whatever it is that’s on your mind.
“I’m debating whether or not to put pop-ups on my blog. Want to hear my pros/cons list?”
By simply requesting permission before dumping something technical and potentially boring onto the lap of your companions, you make it much more likely they will be open to listening.
Why? Well, autonomy has a lot to do with it. When we feel like we have control over something, we are less likely to feel overwhelmed by it.
And let’s face it: The ins and outs of blogging can be straight up overwhelming – especially for a bystander.
So get permission before sharing about your project! And don’t take it personally if the answer is “no” from time to time.
Finding out what aspects are interesting to your friends and family (and which aren’t) will be very helpful in cultivating the long-term interest and support of your loved ones.
4. Avoid This Mistake or Risk Turning Them Off Your Blogging Adventure Forever
Even though blogging involves a very broad spectrum of skills and topics, in time you’ll begin being perceived as somewhat of an expert.
This will put an even bigger space between you and your loved ones, and at times you may feel tempted to wave away or dismiss their naive suggestions and ideas.
Don’t do this.
If they are engaged with your blog to the point of offering input, be happy! Cherish and nurture their interest – don’t undermine it by not poo-pooing their opinions, even if you think they’re uninformed or flat-out wrong.
Remember: Engaging in conversations with your loved ones about your blog is about staying emotionally connected. It’s not about having a homegrown mastermind group.
So always be polite and give sincere weight to whatever feedback they lovingly send your way.
At times, it may make more sense not to bother explaining why something is or isn’t possible.
The words “that’s an interesting idea – thank you” will go a very long way!
Recruit Support Early and Stay Blogging for the Long Haul
Embarking on a blog can be an all-consuming activity. It can be thrilling and exciting, but it can also mean leaving our loved ones feeling left out. If you’re not careful, blog jealousy will set in.
And when the going gets tough, if we haven’t maintained the emotional support of our friends and family for our blog, we may be tempted to abandon it and lose out on all of our hard work.
But it doesn’t have to be that way!
By understanding how a new, all-consuming interest can destabilize our relationships, we can learn the simple techniques to keep our relationships strong amidst a new project, and we can get our loved ones on board with our blogs.
And imagine how wonderful life will be when you have a flourishing blog and an excited support system to go with it!