Humans aren’t meant to be alone. We’re wired to be together and designed to grow, love and learn with each other. Relationships, whether they are familial, romantic or platonic, allow us to live a well-rounded and happy life.
We all want our relationships to be positive in our lives, but how do we effectively learn to build these positive and enriching relationships? Here are eight ways:
1. Celebrate diversity.
No one is exactly the same. If we were, life would be dreadfully boring. Effective relationship builders realize that not everyone has the same opinions, comes from the same background or has the same goals in life. But it’s these differences that create and foster some of the strongest bonds between individuals. Step out of your comfort zone, ask questions, get to know someone different than you. You might be surprised by how much this can enrich your life.
2. Open your gates to trust.
Let people in. The best relationships are built upon mutual trust and respect. It’s okay to have your guard up, but if you’re too defensive, it can push people away. Place focus on your friendships and partnerships—both old and new—and on strengthening trust with each other. When two people in a relationship have trust for one another, the relationship will continue to thrive.
3. Actively listen.
For some people, talking comes naturally. For others, not so much. If you’re one of those that has more to say than most, practice listening to help you to slow down and also make others feel valued. Asking questions, repeating back comments and showing genuine interest in what someone is saying will show them how much you care. When you start listening, you learn what you’ve missed.
4. Look for social cues.
Relationships aren’t just about trust and listening. Attention to even minor details builds relationships. For example, do you notice how a friend’s or coworker’s body language can tell you if they're having a good or bad day? Pick up on nonverbal cues and be sensitive to what they’re telling you without verbally spelling it out.This creates validation in the other person and allows ties to be strengthened between the two of you.
5. Read the room.
Everyone has different personalities—like, some people are extroverts, others not so much.. We’re all different, but it can be easy to assume that people respond to the same stimuli as you. For the best relationships, read others’ personalities and respond in a complementary way. Of course, be yourself, but center on the part of yourself that best fits the situation.
6. Give the phone a rest and recharge.
It seems that as technology continues to advance, we seem to shift our focus. This can be detrimental if you’re trying to build relationships with others. Pay attention to what’s going on right now and take a break from Angry Birds, you’ll knock down the tower later. By giving people your full attention, you will strengthen the bonds between you.
7. Practice empathy.
When it comes to relationships, practice the golden rule: “Treat others as you would like to be treated.” We’re taught this lesson from a very early age, and actively putting empathy into play allows you to think about how you would feel in someone else’s shoes. If someone feels like you are fully with them in their situation, they will be grateful and your relationship will flourish.
8. Give up your time.
It’s no secret that everyone is busy and can lose track of how valuable our time is. Time is a gift, and giving people your time is a valuable way to build effective, positive relationships. Take time to concentrate on others, support them and help them in their challenges. When you give your time to others, that’s going to fill your bucket as much as it will theirs.
Building strong, positive relationships helps to promote living a healthy lifestyle. These tips can help promote a healthy, effective relationship with yourself, as well as the people in your life.