Building strong relationships – A guide

WELCOME to the New Year and to get things started in the New Year, It is expedient that relationship is high on that list. Afterall, that is the currency we all spend. The right relationship can open the right doors and this is not limited to just romantic relationships. This is why the attention this week will be on building relationships that work.

How do you build your relationships and get them to work? The tips below will work:


Accept and celebrate differences

One of the biggest challenges we experience in relationships is that we are all different. We can perceive the world in many ways. Certainly, a stumbling block that we come across when we try to build relationships is a desire or an expectation that people will think as we do and, in this way, it is so much easier to create a rapport. We feel more comfortable when we feel that people “get” us and can see our point of view. Life, however, would be very dull if we were all the same and, while we may find it initially easier, the novelty of sameness soon would wear off. So, accepting and celebrating that we are all different is a great starting point.

If you are looking at building stronger relationships with people this year, you must understand that there will be people who think differently from you. It is just normal, it is not something to be afraid of.


Listen effectively

Listening is a crucial skill in boosting another person’s self-esteem, the silent form of flattery that makes people feel supported and valued. Listening and understanding what others communicate to us is the most important part of successful interaction and vice versa.

Active or reflective listening is the single most useful and important listening skill. In active listening, we also are genuinely interested in understanding what the other person is thinking, feeling, wanting, or what the message means, and we are active in checking out our understanding before we respond with our new message. We restate or paraphrase our understanding of their message and reflect it back to the sender for verification. This verification or feedback process is what distinguishes active listening and makes it effective. As you communicate and listen, be sure you are doing both actively and not as a chore.


Pay attention to the whole person

We tend to remember and appreciate the people who ask us if everything is okay, even if we haven’t told them that anything is wrong. This tells us they are paying attention to us, and we all want that.

When someone is speaking, focus not only on the tone of their words but also their facial expression and body language. Notice when someone’s words don’t match their facial expression or body language. This will open doors to having deeper, more meaningful conversations that will lead to developing trust and stronger connections.

Remember things that are important to others

There is no more beautiful sound to our ears than the sound of our name. Remembering people’s names is the first step to relationship building and remembering other important aspects about them continues the building process. They will tell us what is important in their lives, all we need to do is listen and pay attention.

When they are speaking about a family member, an event, or a hobby and their faces light up, remember this factoid, as it is important to them. We don’t have to remember everything about them, just focus on their names and one important piece of information.

Some people known for building relationships keep a small portfolio of important information on significant people in their lives so they will have a written record to refer to keep facts accurate.


Be open and share when the time is right

We all know people who tell us their whole life story in the first five minutes of meeting us, totally oblivious to the fact that we likely have absolutely no interest in hearing it. To build strong relationships we need to be able to pace ourselves and share when it’s appropriate and at a level that is consistent with the depth of the relationship.

Good relationship builders show they are sharing the feelings of the other by mirroring the emotions of the person speaking. Sharing excitement, joy, sorrow, frustration, and disappointment helps connect us to others.

When possible share a situation from your own experience to show that you can relate to the other’s experience, but never so that it overshadows or competes with their experience. This requires empathy and sensitivity to their feelings.


Give people your time

Giving time to people is also a huge gift. In a world where time is of the essence and we are trying to fit in more than one lifetime, we don’t always have the time to give to our loved ones, friends, and work colleagues. Technology has somewhat eroded our ability to build real rapport and we attempt to multi-task by texting and talking at the same time.

Being present in the time you give to people is also important, so that, when you are with someone, you are truly with someone and not dwelling in the past or worrying about the future. The connection we make with other people is the verytouchstone of our existence, and devoting time, energy, and effort to developing and building relationships is one of the most valuable life skills.

In the end, building strong relationships is hard work. The good thing is that it always pays its dividends.

Next week, the question up for consideration will be; do you think asking for a DNA paternity check on your ward is as a result of lack of trust? What is your take? To be part of the next edition, send your response to 08133601345.



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