Humans are social beings. We enjoy being understood and accepted; feeling that we belong. Maybe that’s why our friends, family and romantic partners are so important to us.
Unfortunately, Western culture values individual achievement over personal relationships. We’re good at finding career success but less than stellar at connecting with other people. As a result, our relationships often suffer.
But wouldn’t you love to rekindle the spark you once had with your significant other? Be respected and understood by your friends? Admired for who you are by your family?
If you want to make all these things happen, this post is for you.
Here are 5 ways to build better relationships with everyone.
1. Learn To Listen and Understand
“You never listen.” “You just don’t get me.”
Children say it to parents; wives to husbands; friends to each other. And they’re probably right – people are always too busy thinking about themselves to listen.
Everyone wants to share the newest story; the great idea they just had; their thoughts and advice. Most of us are either talking or waiting for our turn to talk. This doesn’t make for good conversation – or strong relationships.
The solution is simple: connect with people by listening and understanding.
When talking to someone, hear them out without judgment or interruption. Focus on what’s being said and do your best to understand. Your attention and empathy will be appreciated by others.
2. Trust Other People
We often find it hard to trust because we’ve been hurt in the past. People coming out of romantic relationships are especially wary of opening their hearts again. But the truth is, ALL relationships – family, business, platonic – require trust.
Having no trust means worrying about what others are doing, thinking and saying when you’re not around. It means monitoring and controlling someone instead of enjoying them. Doesn’t sound fun, right?
At the end of the day, you can never know whether someone’s going to hurt you or not. There are no guarantees in life. You can try to protect yourself – but unless you make it a full-time job, you’re more likely to drive yourself crazy.
3. Be Honest About Your Wants
Have you ever felt disappointed because someone didn’t act as expected? Maybe your parents said something hurtful; maybe your boyfriend didn’t realize you were mad at him. You probably felt let down at the time.
But if you think about it, we set ourselves up for disappointment so often. We fail to tell others what we want and then blame them for not reading our minds.
When you want something – or want to share something – be honest about it. Expressing your desires might feel uncomfortable, but it gives the other person a fighting chance to give you what you really want.
4. Be A Giver
We’re always looking to gain something from other people: positive emotions, knowledge, gifts. This is fine: humans are selfish by nature. “What’s in it for me?” is the first question we subconsciously ask ourselves.
The problem is, you can’t just take and take in relationships. If you don’t give back something of equal or greater value, there’s no reason for other people to stay around you.
That’s why investing yourself into relationships works so well. Make people feel good; gift them your undivided attention; make time for those who really matter. Giving value is the best way to be appreciated by the people around you.
5. Let Go Of The Need To Be Right
If we disagree with a person, we get angry. If we disapprove of something, we judge. If we feel we know best, we give unsolicited advice. In short, being right feels good; being wrong feels bad.
But when you think about it, nobody likes being told what to do. Unless a person explicitly asks for advice, they want to be understood – not lectured. When dealing with other people, let go of the need to be right.
That means you don’t force your opinion on other people. Don’t be pushy, self-righteous and judgmental– no matter how you might feel. Even when you think you’re right, understand that different people have different opinions!
Accept other people for what they are, right or wrong, and they’ll love you for it.
In today’s world, it’s always about “me, me, me.” This is why our relationships with friends, family and romantic partners are weak. You can’t connect with other people if you’re thinking about yourself all the time!
The best way to build better relationships with everyone is through positivity. From listening to other people to letting go of the temptation to judge, the tips in this post are all based on being a good person.
Now apply these techniques to your life and build better relationships with everyone.
Did you find any of these tips useful? Do you have more ideas on building better relationships with people? Leave a comment; I’d love to hear from you!
Photo credit: ‘Shaking Hands‘ by Big Stock