Working primarily in the HR and recruiting space, I spend a lot of time writing about inclusion as it relates to diversity — both important topics, and one that we need to put into action now more than ever. And while inclusion definitely impacts the workplace, what about life outside the office? How are we fostering inclusion in our relationships, communities, even our social followings? I’m not sure that people are, at least not actively.
In thinking on this over the weekend, because what else does one do while soaking in the glory of summer, I put together the following list of small steps that promote inclusion across the board. I don’t expect this to be the end-all of inclusion ideas, merely a starting place, and I invite others to jump in with additional thoughts.
Chances are, you aren’t that much busier than everyone else. Audit your time. By limiting those hours spent trolling Twitter, you can create more space for friends and family.
Reach out and connect offline, rather than just commenting on posts or responding to stories. Life exists outside of apps, and hiding behind a screen does nothing but deplete your Vitamin D and cause friction.
Ask questions. If you’re unsure about someone’s pronouns, ask. If you’re new to a concept, investigate. If you’re eager to strengthen a relationship, make plans. Once you ask, listen to the response. Process what the other side is saying.
If someone annoys you, mute them. If they offend you, unfollow. If you don’t want to be somewhere anymore, leave. Don’t bother announcing your departure; just go. Leave the doors open whenever possible.
Let people make up their minds about your kids, pets, etc. Intentionally holding people at arm’s length because of preconceived notions will only make them walk away. They might surprise you.
If you’re in someone’s town, shoot them a text or drop them a line. Let people know they matter to you. Even if you’re busy or they’re not around, a small message can make a significant impact.
Practice placemaking in public and at home. Think through your actions, ideas, and approach before implementing any major decisions. Get input and involvement from those around you, from your inner circle out.
Stop making everything about you. Don’t assume people know about your life; they don’t. And if you want them to, you need to reach out and tell them. Make sure to ask about theirs as well.
The fact is, most of us are busy, just trying to move through our days doing the best that we can. Even so, we’re the ones in control: of our behaviors, of our interactions with others and our larger narrative in the world. You’re still the center of your universe; you’re just taking note of the others floating around you, on and offline.
Image by @tomcrewceramics.