What It Means to Be a Relator


What Is the RELATOR Theme

Relators are the people in our lives who love to go deep with their relationships.  Forming superficial or temporary bonds with others just doesn’t do it for them.  What they seek is authentic connection—an opening between two people where trust can build over time and where real human-to-human understanding can occur.  Instead of having a hundred friends, Relators might have ten—but they are heavily invested and place a high value on each and every one of them.  Each relationship in their life has been purposefully cultivated.  Relators might have a small circle, but they would do anything for the people in it.  Think of a tree with roots that grow down instead of out.  A relator has a sense that truly connecting with another human being is not only rare, but sacred.  And, because of this, they know that it also requires work, energy, and time to really dive in with someone.  So, their tendency is to keep their crew small—for them, this feels like quality over quantity.  Relators are the ones who turn the ringer off on their phone when they come over.  They find immense pleasure in the feelings of deep connection, closeness, and presence.  So, they are happy to give others their full attention when spending time together.  For some, this level of intimacy can feel extravagant, even a little overwhelming—and, yet, it is welcomed.  Where some relationships make us feel invisible, Relators make us feel accepted, cared for, and loved.

Why Should We Care

These people have a keen sensitivity when it comes to how their presence, words, and actions affect others—and vice versa.  They instinctively consider the human element in all that they do.  Relators are dynamically aware and they teach us how to ask for more from our connections with others.  Because they are sensitive to the nuances of a relationship, friendship, or connection, they reveal layers of ourselves that we may not have known were there.  They have a deeply accurate intuitive knowing of what it takes to build a relationship.  They just know.  And, within that, they have an incredible capacity for unconditional love, understanding, and acceptance.  Relators show us how to go the extra mile in our relationships and how to generate authentic interest and curiosity in others.  They provide us with a model of what a deep and connected relationship can be—one with risk, openness, and vulnerability—where we are truly understood, acknowledged, and seen.

Ten Things to Know About People with RELATOR

1. Everyone. Relators don’t really differentiate between people based on age, race, sexual identity, or creed.  It is more like “Is there potential for connection here or not?”

2. Introvert/Extrovert. Relators are happy to meet lots of people, they may even be the life of the party, but it just isn’t where the core-value and meaning are found for them in their relationships.  They recharge with a small circle of friends, not a crowd.

3. Presence. They value presence.  Period.  At the coffee shop, they are zoned-in on the conversation.  Over the phone they are listening carefully, not distracted.  Don’t be surprised if they get annoyed when you seem preoccupied.

4. Risk. Establishing meaningful connections with others is key for them, they may see it like a dance where one person risks a little and then the other risks a little.  They are generally not in an eager rush to share their life story.  Bit-by-bit, back and forth is how they prefer to build trust and confidence.

5. Boundaries. Some Relators are so approachable and personable that people—strangers, even—may open up to them in startling ways and over-share.  Setting boundaries is an art that Relators are usually perfecting.

6. Small Talk. Chit-chat isn’t particularly interesting to them.  They may even prefer an awkward silence to a surface-level conversation.  Remember, what they seek is a sense of an ever-deepening between themselves and other.

7. Gifts. Relators are notoriously amazing gift givers.  Fact.

8. Isolation. Being disconnected from their inner-circle for too long can be emotionally disorienting for them.  They may even feel like they are losing their mind.

9. Needs. The way that Relators experience connection is through intimacy.  Be it in person or over the phone, what they need in their relationships is closeness.  An occasional coffee date or text might not be enough for them.

10. Love. They have a profound capacity to love, they believe in others and in their connections.  When a relationship hits a rough patch, Relators are likely to hold the space and the light until harmony is achieved.

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Zach Carlsen is the grateful lead blogger at StrengthsLife.com

His strengths of Ideation, Connectedness, Input, Strategic, and Empathy have taken him all over the world.  He is an inventor, athlete, joyous wanderer/wonderer, translator, poet, and Gallup Certified Strengths Coach.

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