1 – Do a relationship 'stock take'
It may seem weird to reduce relationships to inventory but, honestly, take a good, hard look at who you are spending your time with. These are the people who influence you the most and who will ultimately shape some of your most vital beliefs and characteristics. It has been said that "you are the average of the people you spend your time with".
Ask yourself these questions:
- Who lifts you up when you are with them? Inspires you? Leaves you feeling positive and cheerful?
- Who brings you down? Who leaves you feeling down or negative?
When you distinguish this, it will be easy to see which relationships you want (or need) to devote most of your attention to. When you clear out relationships that are destructive or negative, you will be able to focus your energy on those who are most important to you.
2 – Be the best 'you' you can be
Conversely, if you've gone to the effort to make sure your relationships are quality ones, you should ensure that you are giving as good as you get – if not better.
Every interaction is a chance to either build up or tear away at the relationship.
Do you support your friends and family or do you always criticise them? Do you boost them up with positive encouragement or do you make snide remarks? Do you dump all your problems on those around you and refuse to listen to them, or do you share the load and provide a sympathetic ear when they need it?
Treat people the way you want to be treated.
3 – Disagreements Happen – It's Not The End
Sometimes fights happen. Emotions get complicated, stress blows little things out of proportion, misunderstandings are almost inevitable. But, consider this:
'Every passing moment is a chance to turn it all around' – Sophia, Vanilla Sky.
Is the fight worth it? What are you gaining from staying angry or holding a grudge? Is the relationship more important than the silly disagreement?
If you ask yourself these questions, it will be much easier to move on. Take a few minutes to cool down and then break the ice as soon as possible – you don't want that bad feeling to grow in either party and there is NOTHING to lose in being the first to speak. Being stubborn is silly.
Be the bigger person.
4 – Respect and Trust
Relationships are built on two things – respect and trust. Let me add to that – MUTUAL respect and trust. They are the framework of strong bonds between family, friends, partnerships, marriages and it is imperative for the longevity of these relationships that it is mutual. You can get through anything together if you can maintain these fundamentals.
Always endeavour to show the people in your life (coworkers, lovers, even strangers) that you trust and respect them, their abilities, and their judgement.
5 – Relationships are a two-way street
All relationships involve give and take on both sides. If you are always the one compromising, giving everything you can and not getting anything in return, you are likely being taken advantage of. This shows a major weakness in the relationship on both sides – someone is taking too much and someone is giving too much – and that is against one of the fundamentals of relationships – respect.
Part 2 will be up later in the week, check it out here! But for now, please share your best relationship tips!