Most of the time the best way to improve your relationship with someone is some real face time. This is why I am a big believer that sites such as facebook (or this blog for that matter) are only tools that help to bolster already existing relationships, but they should not, indeed cannot, take the place of real social interaction.
That being said, there are some cases where I believe we can improve our connection with the people around us without spending much time together.
We have some friends who have had incredible luck. Out of their four children, all four have fallen sick, and have been for almost 2 weeks now. We have been wanting to have them over since the beginning of this year, but with the whole contagious sickness, we haven't been able to make it work.
Instead Trish decided to cook up a dinner. White Chicken Chili (aren't all chicken white?) and cornbread. We loaded it up in the car and hustled it over to our friends still piping hot. We probably only chatted for five minutes on the doorstep, and in the end I'm sure that they would have managed just fine without us bringing dinner over. It's not like Trish swept in for the rescue or anything.
Even though it wasn't absolutely crucial that we do this, it was our way of saying thanks to some friends. Thanks for all the help you've given us. Thanks for being wonderful to deal with.
I think that there is sometimes an opportunity to bring people closer together without spending all afternoon together, and this was one of those times.