Strategies for Maintaining Working Relationships
It can be a difficult task to maintain relationships, whether they are romantic, work, academic, or
familial relationships. This takes effort and time!
There are a few small things that you can do to start the “relationship maintenance” ball rolling:
Send a handwritten card. Writing an old-fashioned note is a simple way to relationships.
Unlike sending an e-mail, a card is a more personal and visible reminder of your thoughtfulness.
• For example, if you worked on a project with other community members during your
placement, follow up. Send a thank you note letting the other party know you are always
willing to collaborate again. If you are close enough, send the person a birthday card, or
a card “just because” telling them how important they are to you.
Send an electronic message. In today’s day in age, sending e-messages is very common. You
may think about personalizing your email, by sending a “selfie” along with your message,
sending an e-card, or even inviting someone to Skype.
Pick up the phone to show your gratitude. If you are comfortable enough with your
relationship, try calling the person to acknowledge your relationship. This shows that you are
thinking about them, and that you can take the time to call them personally. In the age of digital
convenience where texting and emails are commonplace, a personal phone call can go a long
Invite them to “do lunch” or “grab a coffee”. Sometimes, the most effective communication
happens in a relaxed atmosphere (and food never hurts!!). Whether you are asking them to lunch
just to keep in touch, or to ask for a reference letter, a more relaxing setting may help to ease
your tension should you feel nervous about asking them for a reference.
What about Getting Reference Letters?
Asking for references letters can be a very stressful situation. You may not be sure of how to ask,
or if the person you are asking will accept. Over and above this even, you may be unsure that
they will write a strong letter.
When you ask for reference, don't just say "Could you give me a reference?" or "Could you write
a reference letter for me?" Instead, ask "Do you think you know my work well enough to provide
me with a reference?" or "Do you feel comfortable giving me a reference" or "Do you feel you
could give me a good reference?" (Doyle, no year).
I (Amanda Nosko – Course developer) have written A LOT of reference letters in my time, and
when my students ask me for letters, it is always easier if they provide me with background
information. What do I mean by this? Well, it is helpful from the referees standpoint to know what