I often find that if I take a look at the points in my life when I am feeling less fulfilled, I can attribute it to less time spent working and growing my interpersonal relationships. So what can you do to improve your relationships?
We are social beings and whether our list of loved ones spans two or 20, we should always be working to keep our relationships alive and well.
As we move throughout our lives, keep these things in mind to develop, nurture, grow, and improve your relationships.
Here Are 15 Ways to Improve Your Relationships:
1. Listen More
Waiting in anticipation to share your thoughts naturally blocks your ability to hear someone else’s. Spend more time listening and making people feel heard. Malcolm Forbes said, “The art of conversation lies in listening.”
2. Expect Less
People aren’t mind readers. They are often too busy to pick up on what their loved ones need. We should try our best to get better at asking for it instead of expecting others to figure it out.
We are all complex and our lives are complex. The motives behind someone’s actions are unknown. We should not spend our time assuming that their actions were designed to hurt us and instead focus on forgiving them. Our relationships cannot grow if we keep anger and resentment in our hearts.
4. The Golden Rule
Would you like people to remember your birthday? Remember theirs. Do you hope that your friends will call you after a breakup? Do the same for them. Are you waiting for your husband to surprise you with a date night? Plan one instead.
We may not influence everyone around us to act more considerately, but how fair is it to expect those things if we aren’t doing the same? While on that note, be okay with doing for others without expecting something in return. Practicing the Golden Rule is key!
5. Admit When You’re Wrong
Beyond forgiving others for their actions, reflect a little on yours. Admit when you are wrong and apologize with sincerity. It is one of the most vulnerable things we can do, yet it can make a world of difference in our relationships.
6. Commit to Clear Communication
Expressing our grievances in an open and genuine way can do much more for us than when they are laden with a sarcastic or passive agressive tone. Sarcasm can be a dangerous mask to hide behind, and sarcasm usually evokes sarcasm. Speak your thoughts clearly and open up the line of communication!
7. Speak Highly of Them in Their Absence
Everyone has flaws and we all need a space to vent, but make a conscious effort to speak positively of the people you value most. Talking badly about them will unfairly influence others’ perceptions of them. Even further, we have more positive feelings for people when we are saying positive things about them.
8. Speak Highly of Them When They’re Around
Being publicly praised for a quality or action is incredibly uplifting. Instead of putting your significant other down in front of your friends, find a reason to commend him or her for something.
9. Be Happy for Others
Comparing our journey to someone else’s can drive wedges the size of the Grand Canyon through our relationships.
It can be incredibly difficult to feel genuine happiness for someone when what you really feel is jealousy. Admit to yourself you are struggling with it, recount your own blessings, and remember that when good things happen to you, you would like people around to celebrate with you.
10. Express Gratitude
We have people in our lives that would go to the end of the earth to make us happy. Who are those people in your life? When was the last time you said thank you?
11. Tell Them Why You Love Them
You have kept these people in your life for a reason. Take a minute and tell them why. If telling them in person feels uncomfortable, use alternative methods. Write a note, send a text, get creative!
12. Take an Interest
We might not care much for weight lifting, positive psychology, or football, but the people we care for could. You probably have a lot in common, but they also have their own unique interests. Ask about them.
13. Spend Quality Time
This seems like a given for someone we see often. Truth is that staying close to the people we live with can be just as hard as with people we see once a year. We can be sitting in a room with someone and feel no connection to them at all. Unplug, remove distractions, and spend quality time together.
14. Choose Being Kind
We’ve already discussed the Golden Rule, the importance of forgiveness, and of showing our love and gratitude. And when it comes to our relationships, it really all boils down to being kind.
Sure, you can have disagreements, miscommunications, or botched plans. That’s life! But instead of getting angry or harboring resentment, remember why this person is in your life in the first place, and choose kindness as your response.
15. Work on Yourself
It can be nearly impossible to foster genuine connections with others when we aren’t happy ourselves. Keeping relationships involves times of being selfless and putting others’ needs before our own.
This is a lot easier to do when we are feeling good and coming from an emotionally congruent place.
Improve Your Relationships to Improve Your Total Quality of Life
It is a lot to keep track of all at once, but keeping these in mind will definitely enhance the quality of the relationships you hold near and dear.
Washington Irving said, “Love is never lost. If not reciprocated, it will flow back and soften the heart.” Relationships are what add color to our lives. Embrace them!
Please comment below with any additional ways to be mindful of your relationships or feel free to share how one of these tips has helped you enhance a relationship in your life. We love hearing from you!
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