It is no secret that none of us would be where we are today without the strong personal relationships that hold us accountable and propel us towards success. Crazy ideas and all.
Great people have great friends and even greater relationships.
Getting to where you want to be requires that you have healthy personal relationships with people who can inspire, support, critique, and motivate you to get out of your own way and do hard things that you wouldn’t ordinarily have the guts to do.
“IMPROVING YOUR PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS ISN’T SOMETHING THAT YOU DO, IT’S WHAT YOU ARE ALWAYS DOING.”
Here are a few ways to do that like a champ:
1. Create Healthy Boundaries For Yourself
In a relationship, it is very important to know what you will and what you will not do for love or friendship.
Knowing yourself and creating healthy boundaries are important steps in having healthy relationships. Being able to effectively stand up for yourself and say “NO” without feeling pressured or scared, is a huge victory in personal development.
Not allowing others to control how you think, feel and behave and not trying to do the same to others will allow all of your relationships the growth necessary for the long haul.
You won’t be successful for long without strong personal boundaries.
2. Shut Off Your Phone
It doesn’t matter if you are at brunch with your best friend, on a first date, or 15 years into marriage, distraction is the enemy of intimacy.
Leave your phone in your bag, in your pocket, or in your car. Sure, you are important and you may miss an important call, but isn’t the person sitting next to you or in front of you just as deserving of your attention as your 500+ Facebook friends?
Your lack of distraction says volumes about your interest in the person you are with.
Just as your focus on your phone sends a clear sign that you would rather be doing other things or be spending time with other people.
3. Check in to Discuss the Relationship
Are you meeting your partner’s expectations or are you falling short? It’s good to check in from time to time and ask how your partner is feeling about the state of your union.
I’m not just talking marriage either. In dating, in parenting, in friendship — it’s perfectly OK to ask, “How can I be a better parent, friend, lover, son, or daughter?”
It is actually a really good idea to try and figure that out. And while you are at it, talk about your relationship goals. Where are you headed? What’s the best case scenario? The worst?
“IT’S A BIG MISTAKE TO ASSUME THAT YOU KNOW WHAT OTHER PEOPLE NEED FROM YOU.”
Even if you are doing what you consider to be the best you can do, you may be overlooking something small thing that would mean so much to those around you. So ask. And then try to do.
4. Heal Yourself
Once upon a time, you were a whole human. You weren’t broken in pieces. You didn’t have a burden of hurt weighing you down. There was nothing to pick up.
You can’t rely on someone else to put the pieces of your life back together. You have to be responsible for your own togetherness.
You can’t be the best for someone else if you are not already your best self. If that means yoga, meditation, running, therapy, or self-help books — do something to put you on the path of wholeness.
Otherwise, you will find that you are unhappy with every person you choose to spend time with. Never realizing that the source of your unhappiness has nothing to do with the person sitting across from you and everything to do with the person looking back at you in the mirror.
5. Figure Out If It’s A Fact or Feelings
Take a moment to think about whether you are basing your reactions on facts or on the way the situation made you feel.
It’s natural to react based on your feelings. On the way someone else made you feel in the past.
And although your feelings are valid, make sure you are considering the reason you feel that way.
You may be projecting your feelings of hurt onto others.
Some people don’t think it’s terrible to be five minutes late, while others may feel outraged after one minute of you being late. How you feel about something factors tremendously into your relationships.
It all goes back to communication.
6. Follow Through On Your Promises
If you say you are going to do it, then do it. It doesn’t get much simpler than that.
Your good intentions aren’t good enough.
“THERE IS NOTHING MORE DESTRUCTIVE TO YOUR PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS THAN BEING UNRELIABLE.”
Show up for the event. Make it home in time for dinner. Go to Saturday brunch. Make the phone call when you say you are going to. Although they are small and seemingly meaningless tasks, the gesture alone will show that you are committed to the relationship.
You are trying. And you will follow through on your promises.
7. Take Some Space
It is important to take some space for you. Spending quality time with the people who matter in your life is great. But sometimes you just need to unwind or spend time alone decompressing from a long day.
It’s perfectly fine to say, “I don’t feel like talking right now.” or “I don’t feel like having company.”
You should be comfortable expressing that. And you should be comfortable accepting that need for space.
The same is true for friends and relatives. At some point, your kids are going to want space from you.
It’s important that they learn how to spend time alone. It will benefit their personal relationships when they get older and will stop them from falling into an unhealthy relationship.
Try treating everyone in your life like that best friend who can disappear for three weeks but when they come back around, things just pick up where they left off.
8. Develop More Empathy
If you want to change your world, learn how to empathize. It’s a talent most people do not possess.
You see things your way. You expect others to see things your way. It’s not natural that you will automatically want to take a step back and see things from the other people’s perspective.
But what if you did? Amazing things would start to happen.
Showing empathy does not mean agreeing that the other person is right. It just means that you go out of your way to try to see it from their perspective.
You acknowledge the importance of the topic. You embrace their belief. Not because you want to believe what they believe, but because that person is important to you.
And understanding where they are coming from is a gift you can give that costs you absolutely nothing. But gains you so much more.
9. Show Your Loyalty
It’s important that you let your partner know that you believe there is nobody in the world who can be all the amazing things they are for you.
You have to let them know that it doesn’t cross your mind to ever find someone else to fill their shoes.
“STOP COMPARING THE PEOPLE YOU LOVE TO OTHER PEOPLE AROUND YOU. NOT YOUR KIDS. NOT YOUR SIBLINGS. NOT YOUR PARTNER.”
Let them know that if you had a choice, you would always choose them.
And even though you have a life outside of them, it’s important they know that you will always be there for them in their time of need.
Whether that means canceling an event to show up for them or taking care of them during an illness or devastating injury.
10. Identify Shared Goals and Values
Although it’s entirely possible for an atheist and a Christian to be friends, at some point those misaligned values are going to put a strain on the relationship.
The same is true in relationships where other core values and life goals are not shared.
It’s fine to have differences in the activities you like to do. It’s fine to share some and keep some for yourself.
However, when it comes to the big ideas in life like where you may want to raise kids — religion, goals, recreation, values, marriage, and much more — you have to surround yourself with people show can support you. And make you better.
If there are important topics that you can not or will not bend on, it may mean that you need to re-evaluate that relationship.
Because when you truly believe in something, usually you want the people you spend the most time with to be in agreement with you on the importance of that.
The success of your life is directly related to the success of your relationships.
When you focus on the little things that keep your relationship healthy, you get exactly what you are looking for, little changes.
“WHEN YOU DO MORE, YOU GET MORE.”
Use this list as a guide to create even greater connections and healthier personal relationships.
You life revolves around relationships. Personal. Business. Chance encounters, even. Happiness can be measured by the quality of your relationships and by the work and effort you are willing to put into them.
How hard are you working to make yours successful?