CREATING A MEANINGFUL CONNECTION
When you signed up to volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee, you committed to make a meaningful connection with your mentee. When you first met your Little, that connection might have included talking while you played games together, going out to eat, or bonding over a basketball game or craft project. After communicating virtually for a while due to the pandemic, now is a good time to intentionally redefine and recreate a meaningful connection with your mentee.
WHAT DOES A MEANINGFUL CONNECTION LOOK LIKE FOR YOUR MATCH?
A meaningful connection looks different within each match. A meaningful connection might be:
- A long talk on the phone where your Little opens up about important feelings and stories from their life
- An especially memorable time you spend together at a ball game or art gallery
- An intentional, well-crafted text message if your Little isn’t as chatty
Get input from your mentee on what is meaningful and realistic to them. Showing an interest comes across as meaningful, especially when it comes from a place of genuine curiosity. Some ideas for getting started are:
- Treat your relationship like a new match with get-to-know-you questions
- Recreate an outing or activity from early on in your match that your Little enjoyed
- Pay attention to how your Little has changed and build new rituals and routines together
- Participate in BBBSMT match activities to engage with other matches
- Brainstorm with your match support specialist about new ideas for your match
CREATE NEW HABITS, ROUTINES, AND RITUALS
People are creatures of habit. Once we get into a habit of doing something one way, we often forget that we have other options. Allow yourself and your mentee to be creative in how your reconnection will happen, and don’t be afraid to try something new.
As you start to redefine what a meaningful connection looks like within your mentoring relationship, one of the most important things will be establishing consistency in the way you communicate and interact. Keep in mind that your mentee will need you to be the adult in the relationship and take charge in reconnecting.
IT’S OKAY TO FEEL AWKWARD AT FIRST
Don’t be afraid of the awkwardness that might be present when you and your Little reconnect. Talk about the awkwardness and let your Little know that it’s normal for them to feel this way, too. The best way to move past this uncomfortable stage is to normalize it. This might seem like a daunting task at times, but always remember that your match support specialist is here to help!
At Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennesee, we ensure every volunteer mentor matched in our program feels equipped and empowered to face challenges by offering professional match support. If you’re interested in becoming a Big, you can fill out our volunteer inquiry form to get started or click here to learn more about our mentoring programs.