Relationships are the life-blood of our daily experience. There is no avoiding them. We’re constantly thrust together with people at work, socially, in public and in family situations who we don’t always enjoy the best of relationships with. But that doesn’t mean it has to be that way. Relationships are dynamic. You can change the tone in an instant with some minor tweaks in how you approach them.
Learn to Be an Active Listener
The key to listening is doing so with intent. Not the intent to get your own point across as soon as there is an opening. But instead, to acknowledge you’ve heard what the other person has said and to offer a thoughtful response in return. This is how you create rapport and understanding, beyond simply listening to speak.
Build People Up as Much as You Can
You can take either one of two choices in your inter-personal relationships. You can choose to build people up with compliments or criticise them at every turn. The more encouragement you can offer someone, the more your peers will begin to respond in all areas of their life with positivity. You can be the reason someone decides they’re worthy.
Let go of the Small Things
Sometimes, you need to speak out on something that’s important. Other times, it’s best just to let things go. Every minor infraction doesn’t always require your input. You can often do more damage by speaking out at every available oppurtunity. But over time, you may be seen as being pedantic or overly critical.
Become Aware of and Respect Other’s Boundaries
We all have boundaries. Some of us enforce them better than others. Some people would like to, but often don’t have the will power or social skills to do so. Practice picking up on what people are saying to you through their body language. Learn the cues of those who aren’t as well-equipped to lay out their personal boundaries. Meet people where they’re at.
Don’t be Afraid to be Humble and Apologise
Offering an apology is one of the most powerful gestures you can give. It can be even more effective when you’re not the person in the wrong. When you concede ground, it defuses a situation. Acknowledging that you’re at fault removes the onus of shame, blame and guilt and is a great way of stepping out of your ego.
Be Inclusive in Your Choice of Language
When you’re constantly making references to “I” and “You,” it can be hard to form a meaningful connection because of the implied sense of separation. Obviously, you can’t scrub these word entirely from your vocabulary. Try using the term “We” where ever possible, especially in decision-making processes, although try not to overdo it. You can risk enacting a sense of forced inclusion if you’re too liberal with collective pronouns.
Ask Questions Instead of Assuming
One of the biggest issues that arise for any relationship is a lack of communication. We assume so often what the other person is thinking without bothering to ask their views on a subject. It can often lead to some serious wires being crossed and unnecessary tension that could easily have been avoided by asking that person where they stand.
Empathise: Put Yourself in the Other Person’s Shoes
It’s easy to believe you’re the centre of your own universe, but you’re not the centre of everyone else’s. If you’re in the middle of a dispute, try placing yourself in the position of the other person. What are they going through? What’s their perspective relating to their own unique set of circumstances. How would you like to be treated in that situation?