Jigsaw Puzzles: Relationship Building Tools

The letter J has given me much anguish. After finishing a post with which I was very satisfied, I selected the text and moved my hand to select “copy”. My hand inadvertently touched something it shouldn’t have and most of the post disappeared. I could not make it reappear although I tried for an hour. I also could not remember what I had written. Wow.

A puzzle on a table in a public space is like a magnet to me. I will find myself working it with strangers who become friends, briefly.

To be up front, I consider jigsaw puzzles a diversion, an activity somewhat like washing the dishes, riding in a car or sitting around a fire. When you are lucky enough to be doing them with another person, you might as well talk while you’re working at them. You’re in close quarters with fellow puzzlers, doing something methodical and fun, and you can slow down if you wish. It’s pretty good for low stress relationship building.

My family often has a puzzle going somewhere in the house, and always at larger family gatherings, especially Thanksgiving. We even make jigsaw puzzles out of our family pics, just for fun. My daughters have grown up in this culture (loosely defined) and both will do a puzzle with me. Esther will join in for an hour. Julia has to be pulled away when the lights are shut out.

Name of puzzle: Family in Silly Hats at Thanksgiving
Even the turkey got in on this one.

Since people respond differently to this activity, when the goal is working on a relationship, it’s good to consider carefully if it’s the right tool for a particular person. Some people think it’s absolutely crazy to spend hours fitting 1000 pieces of a picture together so you can take it apart and put it back in the box a day later. I have found that even those people will stick it out for an hour or so. They aren’t much help but they will converse, and that’s sometimes the whole point, right?

There are others of us who feel like puzzling is exercise for the brain and totally worthwhile. Our eyes are seeing the slight variations in colors and shapes and our memories of where on the table that exact piece is – well, doing all that is keeping us sharp. We have our methods of working on each type of puzzle and frankly, we’ve never met a puzzle we didn’t like. Or almost never.

Because of all this, you actually can find “your people” and develop some good relationships over jigsaw puzzles. So many times our Thanksgiving puzzle marathons have ended wit high fives and such a feeling of corporate satisfaction. We did it, and it was a hard one too!

I have also discovered that there is a far deeper level of puzzle love than even I knew about. Some people are perfectly content, maybe even prefer, to do puzzles by themselves. They find community by sharing their accomplishments on social media and developing their relationships there. They trade names of their favorite puzzle brands and talk about what they do and don’t like. They have a whole social world built around puzzling.

Even the Coke can is a puzzle.

This is my present puzzle stash. Most of these beauties have been passed on to me by friends, because puzzle trading is a practical thing. I’m going to be paring down and would love to share some of these with anyone who is able to come get them, because I don’t usually get emotionally attached to any of them. This is not always the case. One of my puzzle friends has passed on her jig saw genes to her daughter who works as an artist for a puzzle company. Those puzzles are rightfully considered as family art and she probably won’t be parting with them any time soon. To her, puzzles have a definite relational aspect. Her puzzle library is also a little more extensive than mine. It’s serious, just sayin’…

Dedicated space, all categorized, dates of completion recorded… did I say serious? Yes, I did.

7 thoughts on “Jigsaw Puzzles: Relationship Building Tools

  1. Well, we did it again. Jigsaw was on my J list. My mother in law does puzzles but doesn’t categorize them and she only likes certain kinds. It makes very easy gift giving.

  2. Frustrating to have lost your first version of the post. Mind you I remember life before computers and wordprocessing and each time you drafted an essay you wrote again from scratch – it probably produced better writing 😉
    The puzzle space of your friend is certainly an enviable dedicated space.

  3. Wow with all those organized jigsaw puzzles! I haven’t put together a puzzle in years, but always enjoyed doing them by myself or with others. My mom used to get me a Christmas puzzle every year for Christmas and I always had fun putting that together. There are some intricately beautiful ones out there to do. Maybe one day I’ll get back to doing them. I love the family jigsaws and the activity of putting them together at family gatherings!

    betty
    https://benchsnotebook.blogspot.com/

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