Healthy Relationships

Building Healthy Relationships

1. Speak a little less, listen a little more

Most people get tremendous pleasure from speaking about themselves. But, here we have to be careful; if we always speak about our achievements or tribulations, people will get fed up with our egoism.

If we are willing and able to listen to others, we will find it much appreciated by our friends. Some people are not aware of how much they dominate the conversation. If you find you are always talking about yourself, consider the advice of the Greek philosopher, Epictectus:

“Nature gave us one tongue and two ears so we could hear twice as much as we speak.”

2. Which is more important being right or maintaining harmony?

A lot of problems in relationships occur because we want to maintain our personal pride. Don’t insist on always having the last word. Healthy relationships are not built through winning meaningless arguments. Be willing to back down; most arguments are not of critical importance anyway.

3. Avoid Gossip

If we value someone’s friendship we will not take pleasure in commenting on their frequent failings. They will eventually hear about it. But, whether we get found out or not, we weaken our relationships when we dwell on negative qualities. Avoid gossiping about anybody; subconsciously we don’t trust people who have a reputation for gossip. We instinctively trust and value people who don’t feel the need to criticise others.

4. Forgiveness

Forgiveness is not just a cliché, it’s a powerful and important factor in maintaining healthy relationships. However, real forgiveness also means that we are willing to forget the experience. If we forgive one day, but then a few weeks later bring up the old misdeed, this is not real forgiveness. When we make mistakes, just consider how much we would appreciate others forgiving and forgetting.

5. Know When to Keep Silent

If you think a friend has a bad or unworkable idea, don’t always argue against it; just keep silent and let them work things out for themselves. It’s a mistake to always feel responsible for their actions. You can offer support to friends, but you can’t live their life for them.

6. Right Motive

If you view friendship from the perspective of “what can I get from this?” you are making a big mistake. This kind of relationship proves very tentative. If you make friendships with the hope of some benefit, you will find that people will have a similar attitude to you. This kind of friendship leads to insecurity and jealousy. Furthermore, these fair weather friends will most likely disappear just when you need them most. Don’t look upon friends with the perspective “what can I get out of this?”. True friendship should be based on mutual support and good will, irrespective of any personal gain.

7. Oneness.

The real secret of healthy relationships is developing a feeling of oneness. This means that you will consider the impact on others of your words and actions. If you have a true feeling of oneness, you will find it difficult to do anything that causes suffering to your friends. When there is a feeling of oneness, your relationships will be free of jealousy and insecurity.

For example, it is a feeling of oneness which enables you to share in the success of your friends. This is much better than harbouring feelings of jealousy. To develop oneness we have to let go of feelings of superiority and inferiority; good relationships should not be based on a judgemental approach. In essence, successful friendship depends on the golden rule: “do unto others as you would have done to yourself.” This is the basis of healthy relationships.

8. Humour

Don’t take yourself too seriously. Be willing to laugh at yourself and be self-deprecating. This does not mean we have to humiliate ourselves, far from it — it just means we let go of our ego. Humour is often the best antidote for relieving tense situations.

9. Work at Relationships but don’t over analyze

Maintaining healthy relationships doesn’t mean we have to spend several hours in the psychiatrist’s chair. It means we take a little time to consider others, remembering birthdays and anniversaries etc. But, it is a mistake to spend several hours ruminating and dissecting relationships. This makes the whole thing very mental; it’s better to forget any negative experiences. Good friendships should be built on spontaneity and newness, sharing a moment of humour can often do more benefit than several hours of discussion.

10. Concern and Detachment

Healthy relationships should be built on a degree of detachment. Here, people often make a mistake; they think that being detached means, “not caring”. However, this is not the case. Often when we develop a very strong attachment we expect the person to behave in a certain way. When they don’t we feel miserable and try to change them. A good friendship based on detachment means we will always offer good will, but we will not be upset if they wish to go a different way.

Tejvan Pettinger is a member of the Sri Chinmoy Meditation Centre. He lives in Oxford where he works as a teacher. He also offers mediation classes as a community service and updates a blog at Sri Chinmoy Inspiration a collection of articles on meditation and self improvement. Photo: Tejvan Pettinger.

  • Dave

    Good tips. I especially agree with #3. Gossip kills relationships and is a terrible personal habit.

  • http://www.stephenmartile.com Steve

    Nice Tejvan,

    I’ve got to admit, the best advice I’ve gotten is to speak once and listen twice!

    I’ll be reeling out a power of posts on the benefits of listening this week.

    Stay tuned,

    Stephen Martile
    Personal Development Made Simple
    http://www.stephenmartile.com

  • http://www.dougwoods.com Douglas Woods

    For me, tip #1 is very much the most important. Listening, really listening, is something we could all do much more often.

    • JOSEPH

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  • http://manicproductivity.wordpress.com Justin Davey

    Hi Tejvan:

    Great advice. Relationships are key to happiness in life, yet one of the most difficult areas for people to excel at, never mind master. I’ll trackback to you article tomorrow when I write about repairing relationships at Manic Productivity!

  • http://www.profitwealthonline.com/vakat1955 Kat

    While I appreciated all on the list, #2 caught my eye. I read not too long ago in an article to “pick your battles carefully.” If your need to be right all the time is all-consuming, life will be miserable. Learn to stop and say, “You are right!” for those times when it truly does not matter that you “win.” These words – and you have to use the full phrase for the greatest effect – stop people in their tracks. End of problem. :)

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  • http://improvlifestyle.com/ Taylor @ ImprovLifestyle

    I totally agree with the over-analyzing bit. It’s one thing to be concerned with how others might feel, but it’s another thing to be totally passive, and not confident in your decisions. Furthermore, assumptions about how another person feels is trouble. Communication is key.

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  • http://lovesagame.com/ Eddie Corbano

    I think that “10. Concern and Detachment” is a very important one. This may to be a sacrilege for couples who feel great love for each other.

    However, detachment does not mean to love less, it means that you are comfortable with yourself, which is for me the main ingredient for a healthy relationship: self-love.

  • Max Stirner

    The correct word is “ego[T]ism.” :-)

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  • http://forgetmeneversolutions.com/ Cathy Dipp

    Yes thats true. I totally agree that these are few ways of what i call maintaining relationship. Most important of these are remembering Birthdays and Anniversaries. It is really important to make some one feel special by just wishing them at least. There is one such website which can help you with remembering Birthdays it is http://forgetmeneversolutions.com/ . It is very useful. Go ahead and try it.

  • http://www.dougwoods.com Douglas Woods

    Great tips and advice. I feel the first one is really the key. All too often we are too eager to get our own view across and reluctant to really listen to those of our partner.

    • http://twitter.com/BrianKPSMark Brian Mark

      I completely agree with you Douglas. Taking the selfless road is always the right decision; usually also the hardest.

  • Ryan Williams

    In response to #10

    I know this feeling, expecting someone to do something and feeling miserable when they don’t. Now I understand it is selfish to expect this all the time. But what about once you realize they never do, that maybe you just aren’t that important to them. They say they care, and for the most part they show it, but no matter how many times you go out of your way to do something special for them and make them feel important to you, the favor is never returned?

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  • tobsi

    @ 1. Speak a little less, listen a little more

    I always get told the opposite, especially from females, that I need to talk more. Any advice for me? :)

  • Diane

    I agree that we all need to have a sense of “detachment”. That is a healthy way to say I can be me without you and you can be you without me. We don’t “need” each other but we enjoy and desire to be together.

  • http://guideforyourheart.com/ theWoman

    While I agree with all of your points I think that one should be added – and that’s embrace the love. All to often I find that people try to play it safe and by the “rules” that are supposedly established. But when it comes to love and great relationships, I say go bold and embrace them. For example, the “rule” that a man shouldn’t call immediately after a first date but should wait a little or the “rule” that says women shouldn’t be the first ones to call. I think it’s time we tossed out those rules and stopped playing games.

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  • joanie

    I am looking for some ideas on how to not talk about previous relationships, i met a very special guy , we have been dating about 3 months now , and he asked me to please not talk about previous affairs , but they seem to keep coming up , it seems as if i want him to know everything about me including what i have been through ,with previous lovers , I really want to put the past behind me ,any suggestions as to how i can zip my lips to those parts of my life ?

    • Clint

      Joanie.. just realize that when you talk about past relationships it makes him think 1. your still thinking of those guys 2. maybe your not over them 3. maybe you still talk/flirt/hookup with them 4. am I just “one more guy” in her long list of boyfriends?

      Mainly its just disrespectful. Now once in a while bringing them up is okay, not all the time.

      I know this cause i dated a girl that would not SHUT UP about past boyfriends.. its like she had a million of them. it also felt that we were just “friends” and not dating.. because friends talk about past relationships.

  • http://psocl.com ABDUL MANNAN

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  • http://lilihonghong.blogspot.com Li Hong

    I can relate with the detachment point. I’m rather attached to my boyfriend and if he isn’t as warm as usual, I get disappointed and depressed, which isnt healthy for our relationship. I’m working on it, thanks =)

  • http://www.theyoumovement.com Barbara

    I especially like the one about gossip, because if our relationships are based on what OTHER people are doing and simply talking about them… then what is the point of the relationship? Evaluating our relationships every once in a while is good too. Great site!

    Barbara
    http://www.theyoumovement.com

  • geri

    so HOW do you become detached?? so that when others aren’t as warm and fuzzy as you EXPECT them to be, you don’t get your feelings hurt? For instance, my boyfriend often cries the blues about money issues, therefore I have offered to pay to go out to dinner, or I bring him food for us to eat together. And then last night he went out to eat with a male friend after work. Of course my first thought was that he has money for that but not for me, and then I think that he does deserve to go out with a friend….I can’t help but to be hurt by this. It’s small in the scheme of things, I know, and I know I could let it go, but It still hurts.

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    Good tips. I especially agree with #4!

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  • http://themasterssecretkey.com Candace

    Listening is very important for your communications. If you really listen others whether it be family, friends or spouses will tell you how they really are feeling or what they need. This allows you to be actively supportive and play the necessary roles you need to.

  • http://timelesslessons.com Valeria | TimelessLessons

    I feel the first one is really the key. All too often we are too eager to get our own view across and reluctant to really listen to those of our partner. Great advice again!

  • http://www.2knowmyself.com farouk

    i strongly agree especially with honesty which is a crucial ingredient for healthy relationships

    • fraadie

      get a life u al thing the world revolves around bf and gf… trhe world is much more than that…think more of life and less of sex!!!!

  • ervin

    I also like the fact, that you dont always have to prove that your right all the time allow others to have their opinions as well .That thinking is making into a better person.

  • rachel

    I’m guilty of not doing any of these right. Great advice and I will be following it to the best of my ability asap. Thanks!

  • http://www.thelifeuncommon.net Nacie Carson

    Hi Tejvan,
    I must appreciate your mindset and your way of presenting your views on “Building Healthy Relationship”.
    I liked it and mostly the part of forgivness and avoiding gossips can build healthy relations was my best.
    If these are practically undertaken in one’s life it will be really good for all of us.
    “Thanks for sharing your views with us!”

  • http://www.thelifeuncommon.net Nacie Carson

    Tejvan, thanks for this post, I really enjoyed it! This post was really interesting – thanks so much for sharing! This post really made me stop and think. Awesome job, thanks so much for putting it out there! Love your blog, and posts like this really illustrate why. Thanks for sharing, and keep up the good work!

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    There is some good advice in this article about relationships. Thanks for the excellent read.

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  • http://www.tasneemrocks.wordpress.com Tasneem R

    Thanks is all I can say for this meaningful blog post of yours! The points are very innovative and worth trying out ! Well we all want our relationships to last long and for this to happen our relationships should be healthy . Relationships are very hard to maintain and need nourishment consistently. :)
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  • http://www.reviewthemagicofmakingup.com Michael Finlayson

    Hi Tejvan,

    I quite agree with you about the amazing power that humour can have. It never ceases to amaze me how humour can completely tear down boundaries and connect people who would never normally talk to each other.

    Have fun,

    Mike

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  • Bingkay

    I especially jotted this down on a large white paper and planned to post it in my room as a reminder…. I need to practice all of these things because I almost forgot what it takes to be a “sane” person again… I mean I was almost blinded by fury, anger, pride and hurts that I just didn’t care anymore to what I say or do even if it’s not right anymore and I’m hurting my loved ones…

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  • http://dropshippingsuccess.com DropShip

    I totally agree with the over-analyzing bit. It’s one thing to be concerned with how others might feel, but it’s another thing to be totally passive, and not confident in your decisions. Furthermore, assumptions about how another person feels is trouble. Communication is key.

  • http://romancerookie.com Bret

    Great advise…especially point number 2. I usually struggle with wanting to be right. Winning the battle and losing the war is not a great strategy for building romantic relationships.

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  • abhi

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  • Narendra

    I really thank the one whon has written this.It has really motivated me.

    THANK YOU

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  • http://evanfleischmannnd.com Evan

    I think the first piece of advice, about listening, is the most important indeed. Listening is key, in not only to understand someone, but also in when you actually speak, to say something meaningful.

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  • http://www.relationshiprepaircoach.com Marcelina Hardy

    A healthy relationship has a lot to do with how people interact with their partners and how they live their lives outside of the relationship. It has to do with just as much of the inside of the inside of the inside of the relationship as the outside of it. If you don’t allow yourself to have a life outside of your relationship, you can’t have a life inside of your relationship.

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  • Love Advice and Tips for Women

    Such a great tips and i like your blog.

  • http://twitter.com/BrianKPSMark Brian Mark

    I love this article.

    I like how you talked about “What’s better; being right or maintaining harmony.” I find the biggest issue I run into when developing my relationships is knowing when to back down and when to step up and defend my personal boundaries. Useless arguments used to plague my friendships.Coming from a place of depression to a place of passion, I can say that my relationships leveled up because of the Right Motive notion. I believe that when I stopped seeing the relationship from my perspective and started seeing it from the perspective of another, I leveled up the relationships in my life immensely. Taking the time to see the world from the perspective of another has a profound effect and I found that the more value that I gave into the world, the more that I received.Great post. Thanks for the inspiration, keep up the good work.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1222114820 Rick Pua Pila

     Remember, you ultimately want more from this relationship, so don’t slow down. You can’t email roses or surprise your user with a nice perfume, but you can express the same sentiments. Give them something every once in a while. Send them something special that only they (and their other registered users) can benefit from.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1222114820 Rick Pua Pila

     Remember, you ultimately want more from this relationship, so don’t slow down. You can’t email roses or surprise your user with a nice perfume, but you can express the same sentiments. Give them something every once in a while. Send them something special that only they (and their other registered users) can benefit from.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1222114820 Rick Pua Pila

     Remember, you ultimately want more from this relationship, so don’t slow down. You can’t email roses or surprise your user with a nice perfume, but you can express the same sentiments. Give them something every once in a while. Send them something special that only they (and their other registered users) can benefit from.

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  • Aneesahaseem

    these are terriffic comments  

  • Twinkle

    feel very good to read the tips and will surly gonna adapt these strategies in my relations :) xoxo

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    Oh I’ve been fortified n very happy after I red. I have a lot to say but my english isn’t enough. I’d be more expressive in french. Sorry

  • Barbara

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