Whether it’s family, friends or coworkers, we’re surrounded by people that in some form or fashion, we have a relationship with. How we let those connections grow and flourish can significantly impact our own happiness and those around us. For some people, maintaining healthy relationships has never been an issue. But for most people, it is challenging and a constant work in progress. If you’re stuck and wondering how to improve your relationships, here’s an actionable guide for taking your connections further:
Focus on Your Strengths
Your strengths were given to you for a reason! Why not focus on them to enhance your relationships? It’s a very easy way to boost your efforts of building great connections. For example, if you know you’re great at serving others, why not offer to help one of your friends or coworkers who has told you they are struggling? Brainstorm ways you can serve them – maybe it’s as simple as calling them to check in and offering an ear to listen or bringing them takeout so they don’t have to cook dinner. There’s so many ways you can use your strengths to both benefit those around you and in turn, enhance your relationships.
Come to Terms With Your Weaknesses
We all have weaknesses and as soon as you face yours, the better off you’ll be in your relationships. It’s easy to go through the motions and either not notice or be willing to admit out loud your weaknesses. This can happen for many reasons, but often people find themselves too prideful to admit when they are wrong, scared, hurt or confused. Like it or not, your weaknesses can have a huge impact on each relationship you have. Of course no two people are alike. It takes practice and being intentional about what challenges you face in different areas of life to build strong relationships. Maybe you’ve never been willing to admit that you are an impatient person, but once you allow yourself to own that, you can work to improve it. The enneagram test can be a helpful and insightful tool to discover your weaknesses.
Like most things in life, one of the best ways to improve your relationship skills, is to practice daily. If you are scared to talk to others or begin a conversation, all the more reason to try every single day. The longer you wait to put these skills to use, the more frightening it will become. If you work in a profession where you are not around others, consider getting a side job that requires social interaction or volunteering.
Maybe it’s serving tables at a restaurant or working part time at the local coffee shop. These types of places present you with opportunities to interact with others and meet people. If this sounds like a scary first step, try playing online games that are multi-player. You’ll practice talking to others, making friends and even forming a relationship by working through the challenges in the game. In fact, according to a recent survey, 1/3 of people who play online games report building relationships as their favorite part. However you choose, it’s important to put yourself in situations that you might otherwise avoid – to truly build your relationship skills.
Self Love is Important
A big component of having healthy and successful relationships, actually comes from within. Communication and being social is important, but you can wear yourself down and experience negative effects if you don’t take care of yourself first. It can even impact your professional relationships. If you don’t practice loving yourself, it can make you an unhappy and bitter person. Of course this will look different for everyone, but it can include taking time to relax, retraining your mind to think positively about yourself or doing things that bring you joy. If you don’t know where to start, check out this guide. Take time to find out what these things mean to you and make it a habit to come back to them.
At the end of the day, relationships are a two way street – make sure you’re improving on your end and being the best friend, partner and coworker you can be. The rest is out of your control!