Over the course of a long-term relationship there will be ups and downs. I challenge anyone saying any different.
A relationship takes work, much like any long-lasting partnership. The reason why there is a divorce rate of around 50% in the US is testament to the fact that a lot of people give up.
We all strive for a better standard of living, more happiness, and someone we can share all the good times with.
If you have a partner, you have all of these things at your fingertips. You just need to find a happy medium between the two of you and make it happen. But how do you do this?
Well, whatever the relationship is with the person in question; sibling, parent, life-partner, friend, colleague, there is a lot you can do to help yourself, and the other person, to make a more harmonious relationship.
Reading this you’re probably immediately thinking, “It’s always their fault”. This is a fairly normal reaction, it’s our ego’s getting the better of us. But try and put yourself in their shoes and take a look at yourself, see anything?
Whether you think it’s the other person, or you that needs to change – you can make the difference. By changing how you act and behave around others, you can make a huge difference to how they respond to you.
Obviously there is a balance to be found. But by being mindful and taking a step back from being you for a moment, you can see the bigger picture.
Here are 9 tips to strengthen friendships and relationships:
Understand That You Can Make a Difference
Like I mentioned briefly above, you always have the power to make a difference. You don’t have to accept any relationship the way it is, you have a voice and should use it.
If you are less than happy in a relationship, or don’t think the dynamics are equal – say something to the other person. Be tactful, always access the situation first and approach it in an appropriate manner.
It’s beneficial to be on a self-development journey as you go through life. We should all be looking to learn more, do better, and work on our weaknesses. By improving yourself you will improve your relationships.
Don’t be too hard on yourself, or dwell on the past too much. If there is a grudge or an issue from the past, learn how to let go. Freeing yourself of past regrets and building on your relationships from today will help you have a much more enjoyable relationship.
Learn to Accept Others as They Are
Everyone is different, that’s what makes us so special, right? We all have our own personality traits, ways of doing things, and mannerisms. Steering people onto the right path and helping them is the right thing to do, trying to change someone to mold with you isn’t.
Learn to accept people for who they are and the way they act. You can know when not to press someone who gets stressed, or when to walk away from a heated argument. Make adjustments for the people you can about.
Learn to Be Humble
Being humble is a great way to learn and develop as a person. Those who are arrogant and think they know it block their ability to learn. Plus, no one likes someone who gloats or points out others faults, do they?
Don’t pick at others faults. Point out their faults at an appropriate time and give them some reassurance. Offer solutions and ways they could handle situations differently, ways you would both benefit from.
Always Look for a Reasonable Explanation First
Disagreements and differences in opinion will come up between two people from time to time. The worst thing you can do is fly off the handle and start throwing accusations around. Always take a moment to look for a reasonable explanation first.
People are not usually trying to offend another person, yet it still happens. Take into account some of the other point in this article, ask yourself if you should be blaming anyone. There is often a reasonable explanation, even if it means you don’t fully agree with it.
Find Your Common Goals
Have you actually stopped and discussed your goals with your partner or friend? There is a good chance you have some common ground, meaning you can help each other. There are few experiences more bonding than working towards goals with someone else.
If you feel like you are out of sync with the other person, maybe your goals have shifted. This is something that needs to be discussed openly. Then take it from there.
Focus on What Can Be Fixed
If you are going through stormy times with someone close to you, look at what can be fixed first. It’s like building blocks, fix what you can block by block. Working towards these small wins is a big step in the right direction for the overall picture.
Finances are often a big source of problems between couples. Money is never something worth arguing over, that doesn’t help put more money in the account. Instead, sit down together and draw up a budget.
Show Your Friends You Appreciate Them
When was the last time you did something to show a friend or loved one how much you appreciate them? I’m guessing most people reading this are feeling a little embarrassed right now.
It’s never too late. Buy a gift or do something they will appreciate spontaneously. We all live busy lives and happily go along without doing things for others unless asked, make an effort and you will see the rewards.
Make Time to Talk
Ah, the forgotten art of talking. As we all go about our busy daily lives, spend time on our laptops and phones, we don’t talk as much as we used to. Communication can solve almost anything, you just need to make time to talk.
This means making a compromise as much as the other person, it takes two to talk. Listening is also a key skill, don’t just rattle off all you have to say and draw a line under it. Listen to what the other person has to say, and look at what you can change.
By being more mindful and using these 9 tips to strengthen friendships and relationships you will find your connections more rewarding.
Take some time to be self-aware, and to evaluate what you are getting out of your relationships with others. If you see room for improvements, start taking action to make them.
Try not to be over critical, and like I pointed out above – everyone has faults, that means you too. Work with yourself and others to better yourself every day.
Phil lives in England, UK, and has around 20 years experience as a professional life, career and executive coach. He started this blog to help others find and define their own self development journey. Blogging about a wide range of topics to help facilitate a better future.