Meaningful Relationships: They Are Lines and Not Dots

When it comes to building valuable relationships, the phrase “lines, not dots” is a powerful concept to keep in mind. Originally used in an article about raising investment, it refers to the idea that relationships are built over time, rather than through one-off transactions.

This applies to all types of relationships, including mentorship. A great mentor-mentee relationship is a line, not a dot, requiring touchpoints over a relevant period of time. By providing ongoing support and guidance, a mentor can help the mentee navigate new experiences and achieve outcomes. This is much more valuable than just giving one-time advice.

But the concept of “lines, not dots” also applies to all relationships.

If you want to build a great network, you need to prioritize making time to connect with the people you care about, both those you already know and new people you meet. Don’t be afraid to seek to create lines, rather than settling for one-off interactions.

To build meaningful connections, it’s important to let go of limiting beliefs about yourself and how you need to be perceived. Instead, approach every interaction as an opportunity to build a connection, rather than a transaction in which you need to “sell yourself.” This creates space for experimentation, curiosity, and ongoing dialogue, which are the foundations of great relationships.

The moments of honesty and vulnerability when you say, “I don’t know, but I’ll figure it out and get back to you” or “That’s a great idea; I’ll try it and let you know how it goes” are what interweave two people’s stories and create trusted relationships. This is where the magic happens, and where “lines, not dots” can truly come to life.

At OneUpOneDown, we’re committed to facilitating meaningful and trusted relationships between women in business and technology. Our approach is designed to create “lines, not dots” by matching women in highly relevant mentor-mentee relationships that last for three months with four meetings. This ensures that the relationship is meaningful and moves the mentee forward with ongoing support.

In conclusion, the concept of “lines, not dots” is a powerful reminder that relationships are built over time, through ongoing support and dialogue. By approaching every interaction as an opportunity to build a connection, and letting go of limiting beliefs, you can cultivate relationships you can depend on.


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