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Gratitude reactivates weak or dormant ties

In sales, we’re always searching for that next new lead.

Gratitude reactivates weak or dormant ties
[Art_Photo / Adobe Stock]

People make all kinds of excuses to avoid the perceived awkwardness of giving gratitude, especially since it’s often in hindsight that we have the perspective to express gratitude to someone who impacted us along the way.

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“It’s been too long.”

“They’d never remember me.”

“It doesn’t matter now.”

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Gratitude bridges the gap that has grown between people.

The high school math teacher who inspired you to become an engineer. The coach whose early belief in you influences your approach to a tough project even today. Your childhood best friend’s mom who created a safe space for you to hang out after school—away from the chaos of your own home.

Gratitude has the power to hack the time-space continuum. To push people who once meant a great deal to you back into your orbit. It reanimates once meaningful connections and provides a purpose for getting back in touch.

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This reactivation is what sociologists would refer to as a weak tie. A Stanford University professor named Mark Granovetter published a sociology paper called “The Strength of Weak Ties” which advocated that vital information is best shared in a social network through a weak tie. These people whom you haven’t talked to in years are actually the most prone to pass on vital information for you.

In 1973, the sociologist Granovetter found that when a random sample of professionals found a new job, 82% of them found it through a contact they saw only occasionally or rarely. And Susan McPherson found that people who have a broader and more wide-ranging network of weaker ties are more likely to be successful.

When done authentically, from an intrinsically motivated place, giving gratitude and reconnecting with people who have faded from our regular interactions makes these weak ties remember what your relationship felt like, and that makes them likely to support you in the future.

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Think of your former neighbors, coworkers from previous jobs, college friends, and others you feel grateful to have known but with whom you have lost touch. Our connection to these dormant ties may always have been loose, or we could have been quite close once upon a time.

Giving gratitude to old friends and colleagues can reawaken these ties. In turn, research shows this can spur creativity by exposing ourselves to different ideas and fresh perspectives. Weak or dormant ties that still enjoy a degree of trusting relationships might help many of us find a business lead or job opportunity—they could even rekindle lost love.

Gratitude expands our ability to build empathy and capitalize on the positive emotions of reviving important connections. Reinvesting in relationships could also have a snowball effect: They could open the door to other connections you had lost touch with and entire branches of your network.

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For Sales

In sales, we’re always searching for that next new lead. Oftentimes our days are spent bombarding the same group of buyers with the hope of somehow getting a leg up into the front door. This can be exhausting, and oftentimes your lists will run cold. However, by reactivating dormant or weak ties, you might find opportunity.  These people who you haven’t talked to in years might provide referrals that you would have never thought of or been able to access. They are likely to give you access to a diverse pool of individuals who used to be too distant to message yourself.


The science of using Gratitude to get through hard times.

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