Whether you want to or not, we all have relationships in our lives. We have relationships with our families, with loved ones, with friends, with colleagues, with customers, with suppliers and even with strangers. Sometimes these relationships are good, and sometimes they are strained or even broken. We may love them, or we may hate them, but one thing we can’t do is ignore them.
It’s important to recognise that it’s only a relationship when it’s a two-way street. You have to both be invested in the relationship to make it work. And work is what you’ll need to do to make it a happy one. It’s easy to blame the other party for a miscommunication or a breakdown, but don’t forget to look at your behaviour to see if you can improve something. A good relationship is a joy to behold, and a bad relationship can have far-reaching effects on our health and happiness, so it’s worth putting in an effort.
Here are some things you can do to improve or strengthen a shaky relationship:
1. Take the first step
Always be the first to hold out a helping hand. Don’t wait for the other party to contact you, pick up the phone and give them a call. They may have been wanting to get in touch but feeling foolish or angry. When you take the first step, they are more likely to want to do something positive in return.
2. Assume the best
You don’t know what the other person is thinking, so don’t assume that it’s all bad. Always assume that they have the best of intentions, but that something might have just gotten in the way. Wait until you hear their story before making up your mind.
3. Be kind and compassionate
Everybody has their own struggle to deal with, and you don’t always know what theirs is. Be kind and compassionate, even though it isn’t always returned. It will not only make the other person feel good, but it will also make you feel good about yourself.
Truly listening to someone is a bit of an art form that isn’t actually that easy. Most people start to interject with “Oh that happened to me” or they start giving advice. But if you’ve ever been really listened to, you know how powerful that is. So sit down with the other person and just let them speak. Give them time to formulate their thoughts and wait before you give a reply or start your story – it will do wonders for the relationship.
5. Know when to give up
Sometimes no amount of work on your part can improve the situation, and it’s just as important to recognise that certain people are better out of your life than in it. Don’t be afraid to walk away from a truly toxic relationship, as the negative energy needed to maintain it will suck the life out of you. Surround yourself with people that have a positive influence on your life, and always strive to be a positive influence in other people’s lives.
And remember: a good relationship is for life, not just for Christmas. Take care of your turtle doves and they will take care of you.