There are some tools at your disposal for developing and maintaining healthy relationships. We’ll discuss each of the following in more detail:
#1: Positive thinking #2: Show that you care #3: Be considerate #4: Be an active listener #5: Self-awareness #6: Settle disputes #7: Be a great communicator #8: Be the kind of friend you want to have #9: Put yourself in other’s shoes #10: Don’t keep score
While it’s not realistic to expect to be happy all the time, building strong relationships requires positivity to thrive. It’s easy to pull others down with you when you’re having a bad day, but too many days like this will cause others to go searching for those with a more cheerful outlook. This goes for any type of relationship you’re trying to cultivate or strengthen. Having a positive disposition is welcoming and inviting. Others will be attracted to your positive force. If you need a boost in positivity here are a few tricks: – Look for the optimistic viewpoint even in negative situations. There’s always a lesson to be learned. – Who you spend time with will have a huge effect on your outlook. Evaluate relationships, how do you feel after spending time with different people? If you find yourself feeling down, negative, or drained frequently by the same relationship, consider it may be time to step back. – Keep things in perspective. When feeling stressed it’s easy to make a mountain out of a molehill. Remain calm so you can remain objective. 12 – Keep in mind what you put out, you usually get back. If your energy is negative and frustrated, that may be reflected in your interactions with others. When you’re experiencing negative emotions, instead of taking them out on others, refocus your attention. Try lending a helping hand to someone in need. Even smiling through tough situations can help you remain positive.
It’s easy to take relationships for granted. Whether it be a close friend, a coworker, or a romantic partner, showing you care is a sure fire way to strengthen your relationship. Everyone likes to feel appreciated. Don’t be stingy with giving thanks, no matter how small, if someone did something you appreciate, let them know. This will make both parties feel valued. Identify at least one attribute you value in each of your relationships, and let the individuals know about it. By showing others how much you care about them, you’ll encourage them to do the same in return.
Take note of what’s happening in the lives of those that matter to you. You can strengthen any relationship by joining in on their happiness of a special occasion or offering genuine compassion when they face any personal tragedy. A Huffington Post article noted 7 habits of considerate people. (I’ll discuss a few here, to access the article visit: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/27/habits-of-considerate- people_n_5710033.html) One I already mentioned – smile often.
Choosing to smile, especially through tough times, makes a significant impact on how others perceive you as well as boosting your own mood. Next is practicing empathy. Having compassion for others drives and strengthens connectedness. Try to be intuitive of other people’s needs. This one can take practice if it doesn’t already come naturally. Simply consider how others around you are feeling and choose to act on that information. 14 Manners can get lost, especially when we spend a lot of time with a particular person. However, it makes the need for manners no less important. Being polite is more than remembering to say please and thank you, it also involves understanding and acknowledging others’ feelings. Finally, apologize when you are in the wrong or caused someone to feel poorly. Everyone makes mistakes, own up to yours by apologizing.
Active listening has become a lost art. Active listening involves both hearing and recognizing another’s perspective. Too often we’re too quick to get our point across; we don’t take the time to understand what someone else is saying. How well you listen to people impacts the quality of your relationships with them. If you find it difficult to concentrate on what someone is saying, try mentally repeating their words to reinforce the message. Active listening techniques include: – Paying attention, giving the speaker your undivided attention. – Show that you are listening through acknowledgement and body language. – Reflect on what you are hearing by paraphrasing or asking clarifying questions. – Avoid interrupting. No one likes to be interrupted, this can frustrate the person speaking and distort their message. – Respond with respect and understanding.
Research shows that when we see ourselves clearly, we can build stronger relationships and communicate more effectively. Self-awareness involves having a clear perception of strengths, weaknesses, thoughts, beliefs, motivation, and emotions. Cultivating a strong sense of self-awareness allows you to understand others as well as how they perceive you. There are some techniques you can utilize to develop and deepen your self awareness. Look at yourself objectively by identifying and writing out current perceptions. Jot down your accomplishments, things that made you happy during childhood, and things you feel you could improve upon. Keeping a journal is a great way to develop self-awareness. You can write about your values and things that are important to you. It is very beneficial to periodically refer back to them and add notes if anything has changed and why. Meditation or mindfulness can help you identify the thoughts running on autopilot in the background as well. You can also ask trusted friends to describe you and provide them with a safe place to provide honest feedback. You can also ask coworkers for feedback at work.
Conflict is a normal part of having a relationship. Knowing how to respectfully settle disputes can help build stronger relationships. Here are some tips for managing and resolving conflict in a healthy way: – Address situations as they occur, don’t avoid conflict. If you can’t let something go, it should be addressed quickly before developing into a larger issue. – Remember the relationship is more important than ‘winning’ an argument. Try to be respectful of others’ viewpoints. – Let go of past hurts and resentments and focus on the present dispute. – Pick your battles, because conflict can be draining, so it’s important to consider whether the issue is worthy of your time and energy. – Be willing to forgive, and know when to let something go.
Communication is key to connecting with others. It’s a common myth that just because you talk with someone means you are communicating with them. Communication is much more than talking. It’s about connecting by using your verbal, written, and physical skills to fulfill the needs of any given relationship. Many of the techniques we have already discussed go hand in hand with improving communication. In order to be a better communicator you need to: -Stop and listen. Actively listen and forget about all of the thoughts swirling that you want to say. After actively listening to what the other person has to say, try repeating what they have said to make sure you are understanding. – Be open and honest. Hiding or holding back emotions tend to lead to bigger issues. If you are feeling hurt, say so. If you don’t communicate what you are feeling the other person may never know. Being open also means opening yourself up to the possibility of being hurt or disappointed. – Pay attention to nonverbal signals. Communication isn’t necessarily about what is said, but how something is said. – Try to focus on current issues and avoid taking cheap shots or rehashing things from past arguments. Communication is really about both listening and responding in a meaningful way.
It’s important to give back to others what you expect from them. To build a healthy relationship, think about the qualities you expect in others. Do you exhibit and offer these same qualities? If you expect a colleague to be respectful of your opinions, even when they are different, do you respond to them with this same level of respect? Maybe you expect a close friend to be a shoulder to cry on when things are difficult. Do you show up for them in the same way? No matter what the relationships are, it’s important to examine your expectations and make sure they are realistic by living up to the very same expectations.
Empathy can be a tough one. Having empathy for someone is one thing, however, it’s another to actually put it into action. When building a strong relationship it’s important to: – Actively choose to view the world beyond yourself. – Once again this is made possible through communication and active listening. – Be understanding. – Acknowledge there may be something going on other than what you’re seeing. How many times have you walked into a situation still reeling from another situation? – Remember someone else’s bad day may have started hours before. -Show compassion when someone is acting out of character. – Be accepting, realize we all make mistakes. Bottom line, we all have obstacles to overcome. I’m reminded of this famous quote, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.”
Relationships aren’t about tit-for-tat or keeping score. It’s common to tally up all the ways you give in a relationship and the other person doesn’t. However, noticing you’re doing more versus holding on to it is the difference between moving on and resentment. Keeping score is “me-centered,” meaning you elevate your role in the relationship to a place of superiority. Thinking in terms of ‘not enough’ is a one-way ticket to viewing your relationship through the glass is the half-empty lens. Instead of keeping score, give for the joy of giving. Give because you see a task needing to be done. When we give with strings attached it’s no longer unconditional giving. Remember, true giving asks nothing in return.
Well, that was a lot of information! Let’s quickly review everything we just went over. Interpersonal relationships are made up of all types of interactions and connections from family, friends, professional colleagues, and romantic partnerships. Meaningful relationships are key aspects of mental and physical health, and without them, we do not fare well. The tools at your disposal include: #1: Being a positive force #2: Showing that you care #3: Being considerate #4: Being an active listener #5: Exhibiting self awareness #6: Settling disputes fairly #7: Being a great communicator #8: Being the kind of friend you want to have #9: Putting yourself in others shoes #10: Giving without expectations
Keep these in your back pocket and I guarantee each of your relationships will flourish!
Here are some great references I have compiled for you when developing this blog: https://www.managementstudyguide.com/interpersonal-relationship.htm https://www.managementstudyguide.com/types-of-interpersonal-relationships.htm https://www.fastcompany.com/3041774/7-key-habits-for-building-better-relationships https://study.com/academy/lesson/interpersonal-relationships-types-functions.html http://www.assertbh.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Different-Types-of- Relationships.pdf https://goop.com/work/relationships/the-purpose-of-friendship/ https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2016/06/21/why-your- professional-relationships-matter/#5867fb323de1 https://psychcentral.com/news/2014/09/01/involvement-in-a-meaningful- relationship-brings-out-the-best-in-a-person/74388.html https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/making-change/201203/surviving-and- thriving-through-adversity https://www.positivityblog.com/how-to-stay-positive/ https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/27/habits-of-considerate- people_n_5710033.html 23 https://www.mindtools.com/CommSkll/ActiveListening.htm https://www.developgoodhabits.com/what-is-self-awareness/ https://psychcentral.com/lib/how-conflict-can-improve-your-relationship/ https://psychcentral.com/blog/9-steps-to-better-communication-today/ https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-13513/why-keeping-score-in-relationships- doesnt-work.html