Relationships are the building blocks for all community organizing activities. Whether you want to organize a volleyball game or get rid of unfair housing practices in your town, you will need lots of good relationships. Why? Because the relationships we have with our coworkers, the communities we serve, and even our adversaries are the means for achieving our goals. People don’t work in isolation: we need to be working together! It is our relationships all added together that are the foundation of an organized effort for change. We need lots of people to contribute their ideas, take a stand, and get the work done.
It is also the people who motivate us to reach our goals. As community builders, we care deeply about people and caring is part of our work. It is our caring for others that motivates us to work as hard as we do. It is often the health and happiness of our children, neighbors, and coworkers that we hold fixed in our minds as we push ourselves to overcome obstacles and take on challenges that can feel overwhelming.
If you are the official leader, or an active citizen without an official title, you will be most effective if you establish many strong relationships around yourself in the community.
In this section, we will talk about building and sustaining relationships and give you some practical tips and general guidelines.
And remember: ordinary people learn the skills of establishing and maintaining relationships all the time. You don’t need to be particularly charming, witty, or talented. However, if you are charming, witty, or talented, these guidelines may help you, too