We make so many relationships in our life, some by choice and some by birth. They are suppose to be our strength and support system yet sometimes keeping them healthy gets messy. It usually happens because we assume that our close ones would always understand us and unconditionally stay by us. But like Oliver Wendell Holmes said “Don’t flatter yourself that friendship authorizes you to say disagreeable things to your intimates. The nearer you come in relation to a person, the more necessary to tact and courtesy become.” There are always some basic things to keep in mind to build healthy and strong long term relationships.
So what might some of these things be? How can we get our dear ones to love us and understand us better and grow closer to us? Here are a few tips to begin with.
‘Don’t Play The Blame Game’
Most of us have a nasty habit of blaming, cribbing and complaining when things go wrong. More often than not we don’t even notice how we contributed to the situation but are quick to find fault and criticize the other. Take a simple example; you didn’t like your friend negatively commenting on the clothes you’re wearing. How do you react? Do you snap saying something to the effect “look at your clothes before commenting on mine” or “you never like what I wear, all you do is criticize, you are insensitive and proud”? Chances are that if you’ve reacted in this manner your friend would get defensive and a long argument would follow. There would be lots of blaming and fault finding ending in anger and hard feelings. Does this mean you keep quiet and ignore your friends comment? NO. You must express your feelings at all times but you can change your style of expression. Try using what is called the ‘I’ language. Try saying “I guess my clothes don’t look that great but I feel good in them. Also I would really like it if you could avoid criticizing my dress sense since it really hurts me when you do so. I know, you probably do it for my good but it would make me very happy if we didn’t discuss this.” Notice, at no point in the above statements do you blame your friend. You don’t get back at your friend and at the same time clearly state that you don’t like the negative comments.
‘Do Express Positive Emotions Freely’
There are also a few “do’s” to make relationships stronger. Do compliment, appreciate and praise your dear ones as much as you can. It is inherent to all humans that we seek recognition. You love it when someone compliments you… don’t you? All of us feel the same. The more compliments you dish out, the more affection flows back. However, there is a catch here. If your compliments are not genuine you’ll get caught sooner or later. Then people will begin to think of you as the cunning fox who says good things to try and get their way. They would not trust you or your words. You will make more enemies than friends, so make sure you find the strengths of the other person and highlight that only rather than just say nice things to sound nice.
‘Wear Their Shoes’
We all want things to go our way. Most of us believe that we are always right and that often leads to either a battle of egos or one person feeling victimized by the other. So what is the way out? Get onto the mind of the other person. Try and figure where they are coming from and if they were to choose to think in the way you do, what is in it for them. Like Henry Ford said, “if there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other persons point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own.” If you can get others to want what you want by showing them the advantage of your thinking rather than just stating it to be true, you are more likely to influence and win their confidence and respect. Professor Overstreet said, “First arouse in the other person an eager want. He who can do this has the whole world with him. He who cannot walks a lonely way.”
‘Be Yourself and Communicate Clearly’
Pleasing people does not guarantee a strong and healthy relationship. More often than not it leads to greater frustration and distance. The secret to great friendships and lasting relationships is clear open communication. No blaming, lots of praising and trying to see things as much from the others point of view as your own. Make the change in approach and then compliment your coach!