We form so many bonds in our lives: with our partner, with our children, with our family, and with friends. However, sometimes bonds become strained. You might know someone whose relationships are suffering–or maybe your own relationships are suffering too. There are many reasons that this could be the case. Maybe you two don’t see eye to eye lately, or maybe you are too busy to maintain the connection.
Did you know that research shows that people are happier, healthier and more content when taking care of or “attending to” their relationships? If you could use some advice in supporting yourself and others in your relationships, consider these tips:
- Show interest - stay present and attentive to the person or people you are with. Put your phone down, engage in the conversation, ask questions, and show interest. It will show that you care and mean a lot more than you think to the person speaking.
- Be fair to yourself and others – Be thoughtful in the moment. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes for a broader perspective.
- Stick to your values – Try not to cross your own boundaries just to make the other person happy. Stay true to what you believe in, so that you don’t feel resentful and guilty about straying from what you value most.
- Be genuine – Be authentic and real; act as your true self. In today’s society, being genuine will go a long way.
- Validate others' experiences – Acknowledge what you heard without judgement. Doing so will show that you respect their opinions, which will only strengthen the relationship. It’s important to understand that validating other’s experiences does not mean that you have to be in agreement with them or condoning behaviors you disprove of. Rather, it’s a way of acknowledging their feelings.
- Use an easy manner – Use humor when you can, be sure to smile and try to be easy going. Being more relaxed in a conversation will encourage others to feel more at ease too.
Relationships can be challenging to navigate. No matter what you do, they will always have their ups and downs. By integrating the tips above into your daily life, you can feel more like you’re in control of how you engage in your relationships. Simply showing another person that you care about what he or she has to say and respecting other’s beliefs can make a huge difference. If you put your best foot forward in your relationships, you can likely expect the same in return.