In the financial world, investors are advised to do a Systematic Investment Plan (SIP) rather than invest a lump sum amount and continue for a long time. There is also a warning which says that mutual funds are subject to market risk. You may wonder whether this is yet another advice on how to grow wealth. My answer is no.  I am looking at bigger investments in our life, i.e. relationships. The next question definitely will be, why begin with financial advice?

I feel that there are a lot of similarities between what we do with our wealth and our relationships. We need money to keep our hearth burning and for our general prosperity. Relationships on the other hand keep us warm and fill us with joy. Again, our chances of things going wrong in both the cases are high and can affect us in the long run. Pain is inevitable when we lose them and all our life, we struggle to maintain both. At least, we may be able to earn wealth back, but that is not the case with relationships.  Efforts are needed to stay invested for a long time and reap the benefits.

Last week, I registered two incidents in my mind and chewed over them. Many a times we do this. We listen to gross conversations and run them in our mind, just like an action packed movie. It keeps us occupied for some time to come.

The first incident was when my nephew was about to get engaged. It just so happened that due to some miscommunication or misunderstanding, or maybe neither of those, the eldest nephew’s feelings were hurt since he felt he was not personally invited to the event. There may be other reasons, but there is no point in dwelling on them. Now the war of words continued on the WhatsApp kitchen . The elders did try to assuage his feelings but the results did not change. So,they decided to allow Mr. Time to find a solution for the problem. After all, the great challenges or unsolvable issues are solved by Mr. Time. The other way is to bend a little and say sorry, one of the three words that the British left for English speaking Indians without ever making us realise the value of these words. So, you see, until you are worn and weary, a sorry remains far from your vocabulary. It does not matter if you spend your day and night investing in the incident and the person. You feel the returns are there, but those returns are in negative.

The second incident was when my friend, who holds the position of a coordinator in a school, was trying to explain to a senior teacher that the excuse given by her for not completing the syllabus on time, was not acceptable. Both of them held their ground and the result was as expected, a deadlock between them. In the school and outside the school they are best of friends or rather the senior teacher has been like a didi (elder sister) to her. She has fed her and loved her the way didis do when in need. The coordinator’s bread and butter were at stake if she kept bending to make room for the senior teachers’s mistake. And there was a much higher thing at stake—losing a beautiful relationship. The next day the coordinator apologized and the senior teacher was now able to see her fault.

You may question—why did the coordinator apologise if she was not at fault? The answer is that, when you have invested in a relationship, you stand nothing to lose by saying sorry, even if you are not at fault. Now they would sleep more peacefully with all their usual cares and woes, but without the pain of this particular incident. An apology is all that is needed sometimes, even when you feel that you are right.

Investment in a relationship is subject to risk. Time may or may not correct the situation. But when you pull the thread of human relationship for long, there may be no time to say sorry.