Knowing how to effectively build relationships is an essential skill if you want to be successful and happy. Unfortunately, everyone isn’t born with natural relationship building skills. For some, social situations can be very intimidating and even scary. Being vulnerable and sharing a piece of who you are with others takes courage, confidence and the willingness to be hurt. You may be shocked as you read “willingness to be hurt” because most people don’t want to be hurt but that is a chance we take in every relationship.
I have learned that people come into our life for a lesson, season or a lifetime. Everyone you encounter is a teacher in your life. Once that can be understood, it can take the edge off any pain that may come up in the relationship. Most people however are looking to create relationships that last. Here are a few tips that can help you build relationships that are fulfilling no matter how long they last.
1. Be an active listener: Everyone wants to be heard and feel like what they say matters. So often when we are in a conversation, we are not actively listening because we are preparing what we are going to say next. When you are talking with someone, use non-verbal cues like nodding your head or appropriate facial expressions that indicate you are listening. You can also acknowledge what you have heard them say by restating it, this is especially effective in conflict situations. Think about ways that help you feel like you are being heard and practice that when listening to others.
2. Be supportive: Being supportive first shows up in your listening. When someone you care about has an accomplishment, celebrate with them and use language that expresses your support for them and their situation. Sometimes, support comes in the form of showing up to special events or simply giving a hug. Find out what support looks like for your loved one by asking what they need from you.
3. Be a good communicator: Nothing can kill a relationship like poor communication. Communication is not just what you say but how you say it and the body language that accompanies it. Good communicators, know how to align their words, tone and body language so there is no misinterpretation. Be open and honest in your communication even in difficult situations. You will find this practice will build trust and closeness in the relationship because one knows they can count on you for the truth. Remember to always be sensitive to the level of emotions during your time of communication.
4. Be fun, positive and authentically you: No one wants to hang out with someone who is always complaining, being the victim or is always talking about other people. Be known as a person who is optimistic, inspiring and positive. Most importantly, be yourself not a version of someone you think people would like, trust me it’s a lot easier.
5. Be trustworthy and honor your word: This is probably the second most important tip for having relationships that last. Be a person that is known for never sharing ones personal secrets or even what they share with you. What you may think is a little thing may be big to someone else. Consider your conversations sacred. Additionally, keep your word, its gold. Once people believe they cannot trust you or your word, the relationship is broken. If you cannot keep your word, communicate with those involved to maintain your integrity.
6. Be a source of wisdom when it is requested: We all want to be a source of wisdom for our loved ones. The only advice I have here, is to only share your wisdom when it is requested or appropriate. I am guilty of this myself. The people we care about will hesitant to share their situation because they didn’t want your wisdom, they only want you to listen. So I recommend asking permission before you share your wisdom.
7. Be willing to be vulnerable by sharing who you are: Last but not least, be willing to share who you are, and what you have been through with others as you grow your relationship. It builds connection and trust.
Let me know what tip resonated with you the most or which one you have the most difficulty with and why. I’d love to hear from you.
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