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How to Develop Great Relationships- No, this is not Dating Advice

How to develop great relationships

Of course, they didn’t teach this one in school unless you want to count the introductory course on communication skills. As well all know, to live a full life, you need to create productive relationships, both professionally and personally. You have to learn through self-education how to create and maintain good relationships. I recently conducted a test to see what really matters in my life and having meaningful relationships was a top priority (I recommend that you take this test too). By meaningful relationships I mean good relations with your parents and siblings, a healthy relationship with your significant other, and fruitful friendships.

When you have created great relations around you, you get a support system whereby the people around you support who you are and what you do. Having toxic relationships can deny you all the peace of mind that you need to live a full life. Remember also that you could be the toxic one around your loved ones and you’re the one that stirring the water and ruining joy for everyone. You can read books on creating effective relationships (recommended: How to win friends and influence people, emotional intelligence {interpersonal relationship section}, Today matters) which can be achieved by having the right attitude, giving more than you receive, being a better listener and communicator to reduce conflicts, dealing with moods and disappointments in a healthy way among others.

To be part of a healthy relations, ask yourself questions such as; How do you become a person that others can count on so you can count on them as well? How do you detach yourself from unhealthy relationships?

I think having good relationships around me gives me so much stability that I am able to focus on the positive things in my life. My parents and my siblings are my best friends and biggest supporters, as I am to them. I have a few friends who I can count on and I want to believe they think the same about me. I am lucky to have developed a healthy relationship with my significant other who is a friend, a cheerleader, a supporter and most of all, knowing they have my back should I fail and I have theirs. These kind of people send ‘positive vibes’ enabling you to prosper.

How do you achieve great relationships?

In this book Emotional intelligence, Daniel Coleman says interpersonal intelligence is the ability to understand people. It is understanding what motivates them, how they work, how to work with them (other people). People with high interpersonal intelligence create effective relationships with others.  Here is how you can develop interpersonal intelligence and create develop effective relationships

Learn to recognize your emotions

Through self-awareness, you learn how to recognize your emotions and therefore have control over your emotions. Imagine if you are angry and in a bad mood and then you take it out on the person next to you, whether it is your spouse, sibling, colleague or parent. This is not fair to them at all, is it? Taking out our negative emotions to others damages the relationship we have with these people, because, who wants someone damping down their day, literally all the time? These people are likely to get away from you or avoid you when they see that you are having a terrible day and before you know it, a rift will be created between you and them. And yet you need these people in your life. Recognizing your emotions will help you learn how to control them so that you don’t burden or push the people around you by always being grouchy or angry.

Learn to recognize the emotions of others

This is called empathy. Empathy builds from self-awareness such that just as you are aware of your feelings, you are able to recognize the feelings and emotions of others as well. If you are emotionally tone-deaf, you are likely to recognize when those close to you are going through something and therefore you are not able to empathize, or simply, put yourself in their shoes.

Let’s say for example you come home and find your spouse not being their jovial self. How do you react? Do you ignore them and think, “not again! is he moody today“? Do you think it is all about you and ignore them as well? Do you ask them whether they would like to talk about it and sit and listen? Recognizing what they need at that moment is really important. Sometimes they want to talk about it, sometimes they don’t. Imagine if they don’t want to talk about it, but you start pushing making statements like, “you never tell me anything!!” or “you are messing with my mood as well” does this solve the situation or make it worse? These statements come from someone who is overreacting without even taking time to assess where the other person is coming from.

Recognizing the emotions of others is important since you will know how far to step into their space and whether to leave them. In another example, a colleague is having a bad day and tells you about it, yet in your mind, you don’t think the problem is as bad as they put it? How do you act? Empathizing means you try to put yourself in their shoes even when such a situation does not seem significant to you. Remember, this is about them, not about you. That is how empathy works and when you learn it, it will help you create functional relationships at work and at home.

The art of expression

How do you express yourself? There is a saying that goes,

It is not about what you say, it is how you say it.

I know people who say, “I don’t sugar coat anything, I tell it like it is”. They use this to justify their being mean or insensitive of other people’s feelings. How you express yourself really matters and influences the kind of relationships you develop with others. I learned a lot on how to express myself from Dale Carnegie’s How to win friends and influence people.

“if you want to gather honey, don’t kick over the beehive”.

If you want to communicate a message to someone, no matter how difficult it is, you should a find a way to express it such that the other person feels that you put their feelings into consideration. For the longest time, I used to think that saying my truth meant I had to say it bluntly. Over time however, I have learned that I can still say my truth, but in a subtle and considerate way. This has helped me say what I want to say to the people around me in a way that they listen to me and they don’t get offended. Learn how to express yourself in such a way that you protect the feelings of those around you and watch your relationships blossom.

Any other tips on how to create great relationships?

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