10 Steps to Healthier Relationships for Life
We all know that relationships are an important – if not the most important – part of our lives. During Connections Month here at Ascentim, I want to share some strategies to help you build and maintain healthier relationships with others. It would be impossible to overstate the influence of the people around you on your overall happiness and success. It’s worth your while to nurture these connections.
To be clear, we’re not just talking about romantic relationships. These 10 tips will help you forge strong ties to friends, family, colleagues, and other people in your sphere of influence as you work to expand your network.
The Starter Pack
What do you do when you’re branching out into a new community or building a network to support your success? Here are some thoughts for starting on the right foot.
- Like Attracts Like: What kind of people do you enjoy spending time with? Probably people who are more positive than negative. People with healthy hbits who are motivated and successful, considerate, and have a generosity of spirit. To attract these kinds of people into your life, practice those habits and embody the qualities you seek and admire in others.
- Make An Offer: Any healthy relationship is a two-way street, where each party gets as much as they give. With this in mind, forget about approaching new relationships with a ‘what can you do for me?’ mentality. Instead, consider what you can offer that may be of value – like an introduction, an old family recipe, or a tennis lesson!
- Find Commonalities: The fastest way to develop a level of comfort is by discovering what you have in common. By asking thoughtful questions about someone’s background, family, hobbies, and interests, you can quickly zero in on the spaces where you connect. Then use those to deepen the relationship. For example, you both love yoga – so invite them to your favorite Vinyasa class.
You’ve done it! You have a new connection, and whether it’s professional, platonic, or romantic, it will take some effort on your part to make sure it grows and blossoms.
- Go Deep: The weather and the baseball game will only take you so far when it comes to conversation. For your new connection to feel connected to you in a meaningful way, you’ll need to get under the hood a little bit. That means sharing personal details about your own life and being genuinely interested in theirs.
- Kindness Counts: The little things add up. Birthdays and work- or friend-aversaries are lovely things to acknowledge. A thoughtful note of encouragement on the day of a nerve-wracking presentation or an interview for a dream job. By paying attention to these details, you’ll show the people in your life that you see and hear them, which is a very big thing.
- Share the Good: Meet people where they are at and build them up. How you make someone feel will truly define the relationship – and determine whether it’s one they choose to invest their time in. Honest compliments and genuine reassurance will foster warm feelings that give your connection longevity.
- Ghost-Not: It’s not much of a relationship if you can’t count on the other person. Strive to be dependable. If you don’t fulfill your commitments or if you ignore phone calls and texts, chances are good that your new friend won’t wait around. Ain’t nobody got time for that!
The Long Haul
Well done, you! Your network is growing, your relationships are getting deep, and you’re starting to realize the value of having these people in your life. Make it last for a lifetime with these final three tips.
- Love Thyself: Be there for others as much as you can, but don’t forget to fill up your own cup. If you don’t take the time to nurture your body, mind, and soul, you’ll have less to offer others. Treat yourself as kindly and gently as you would your closest friend.
- Practice Acceptance: There will be bumps in the road in any relationship. After a disagreement, try to root out the underlying cause and offer forgiveness. If your connection needs to unburden their soul, provide a safe and judgment-free zone, only providing an opinion or advice when asked. Often, we need a shoulder and an ear more than anything.
- Make the Time: Real connections only deepen when we spend real time together. Life is busy, and that’s why it means so much when you carve out time for the people who matter most to you. Creating a monthly or weekly cadence of coffee, lunch, or a morning walk can help you connect regularly for relationships that last a lifetime.
Healthier Relationships are Worth the Work
It may sound like a lot of work, but A. it’s totally worth it! and B. I promise it won’t feel like work when you find the people who feed your soul and restore your energy and passion. We, humans, are wired to connect – so get connecting!
And if you’re unsure where to start when it’s time to expand your inner circle, please consider me as a connection coach.
Lisa L. Baker is a professional life coach, career strategist, and keynote speaker. Lisa is the founder of Ascentim – a Maryland-based coaching practice that utilizes a unique G.R.O.W. process to help clients gain clarity, realize new possibilities, overcome obstacles, and win at life. Lisa shows high-performing professionals how to Level Up and Live the Life of Their Dreams.