Maintaining a positive relationship with others can be a tricky thing. We all have those people in our lives who make things more difficult than they really need to be. Perhaps we are even guilty of doing some of these things ourselves. There are however three simple strategies we can put in place to develop deeper and stronger relationships with those around us.
Positive Relationship Builder #1
Years ago, before mobile phones, I was meeting friends at the cinema to watch a movie. We hadn’t quite decided which movie we would watch but we had a plan to meet in town at 7pm. One of the girls simply did not show up. She had a habit of being late so we were not particularly worried. We waited for her as long as we could. We then made the decision that we would have to continue without her.
Upon returning home I discovered that she had called my house at seven to tell me she would be late. Since there was no way to get this message to me, it was a waste of time really. When I next saw her she complained that she had been searching town trying to find us. It was impossible to get her to understand that by the time she had arrived we were already watching a movie. No amount of searching was going to help.
What annoyed me most was her belief that it was somehow my fault. In her mind she had informed us she was going to be late, therefore we should have waited for her. To keep people waiting is extremely rude, even in this age of mobile phones where it is easy to contact someone to let them know where you are. In a one off situation where something unforeseen has happened, of course we understand. I have much less patience however if someone is regularly late simply because they have failed to plan their time appropriately.
Be on time
When we are on time we show other people that we have respect for their time too. When someone keeps us waiting it demonstrates that they believe their time is more important than ours. They show us that they do not value our time because they are quite happy to waste it for us. If we want to show someone that we have respect for them, it is important that we are where we say we are going to be when we say we are going to be there.
As someone who is always on time or early, I used to find it difficult to understand how people could be constantly late. I have since discovered that it’s usually because they underestimate the amount of time it takes to get ready.
If this is a problem for you, check out this simple worksheet and teach yourself to be on time today.
Trust me, your friends will really appreciate it.
Positive Relationship Builder #2
Another positive relationship building strategy I try to implement is to listen. We have all met those people who believe they are having a conversation with you but who never actually allow you to get a word in. They can talk about themselves, their children or their work for hours on end and never seem to pause for breath. I find this extremely frustrating.
To me, a conversation is something that evolves as you are having it. Maybe you start off talking about one thing but by the time you are finished you have talked about many different things. Each person has bounced off something the other person was saying and it has evolved for there. This to me is a true conversation. I often wonder how people who monopolise the talking ever learn something new to talk about.
The old saying “Listen twice as much as you talk’ is a good one. Taking the time to listen to what others around you have to say. This shows that you are interested in them. It allows you to consider your current viewpoint and decide whether you need to alter it based upon the new information. It allows you to connect more deeply with that person.
Think of each conversation as an opportunity to learn a little more about the other person. One mistake to avoid is be looking for a spot where you can jump in with another example. Truly listen to what they have to say with no agenda of your own.
Positive Relationship Builder #3
Lastly, a simple strategy to develop positive relationships with a spouse or child in particular is to make time to spend with them one on one. Being able to spend quality time with each of my children is something I particularly enjoy. It can be as simple as having a conversation in the car with my daughter on the way to circus school or playing cards with my son after everyone else has gone to bed.
By doing this I am able to get inside their heads and find out a little bit more about how they tick. It happens naturally as a result of simply spending uninterrupted time together because I am not distracted by the wants and needs of the other child. This also helps them to see me as an individual rather than just their busy mother.
Spend one on one time
Everyone likes to feel special and being able to share time with you without having to compete with others allows this to occur. Spending quality time together, just the two of you is very important. This could mean having a regular date night with your spouse. It could be spending time doing something with only one of the children.
On a date night with your spouse you are able to complete a conversation without any distractions. You can discuss topics that are not appropriate for the children to hear. You can rediscover each other as individuals, not just as the mother or father of your children.
If you want to improve the quality of any relationship with others then I recommend you try out these three tips today:
1) Be on time
2) Actively listen
3) Spend one on one time together
Remember that relationships are always a work in progress and it’s OK to make mistakes. The important thing is not to give up. Keep trying and keep improving.
I would love you to comment below to let me know something you do that builds your relationships with the important people in your life.