Want a BETTER RELATIONSHIP? Then, you can start by doing these FOUR THINGS.
Almost everyone I know wants a better relationship with SOMEONE.
Usually, it’s a spouse or significant other, but many of us ALSO want better relationships with their direct reports, boss, or peers. At home, we often want better relationships with our parents, our kids, or friends.
These 4 PRACTICES work to build better relationships with ANYONE.
1) Think of (and use) LOVE as a VERB. Not as a noun.
2) Regularly ask (and talk) about FEELINGS.
3) When you screw up, apologize authentically and genuinely.
4) Recognize and respect the other person wasn’t brought up like YOU WERE.
Some additional context on each:
1) Love as a verb.
Don’t wait for love to come to you. Don’t wait for others to do things that MAKE you feel love. CHOOSE love. Act lovingly. When we SHOW others love, it’s amazing how much more we’ll simply FEEL the emotion of love. Love is something we choose to create, feel, and show- just like happiness. It’s not something to be “found”.
2) Discuss Feelings.
So often, when there’s a difference of opinion, we forget to both ask AND share how people FEEL about. Saying: “I feel alone, betrayed, hurt, angry, disappointed, frustrated, surprised because of X” is much different than saying: “I don’t like it when you do X”.
Talking about our feelings is like emotional oxygen and psychological air for most of us. When we get to talk about our feelings, we often feel seen, heard, valued, and appreciated. Don’t forget to both ASK about how others feel and ALSO share and volunteer your OWN feelings. Once feelings are on the table, it’s amazing how quickly we can move towards solutions.
3) Apologize authentically.
We are human. We all make mistakes. When you do, apologize. Get specific. Don’t just say: “I’m sorry for what happened Saturday night.” Instead, let others know you are truly sorry for EXACTLY what happened by STATING it OUT LOUD. Also, take the time to (once again) state how you imagine (or know) the other person FELT. Acknowledge how your behavior affected them. Finally, make a point to COMMIT to CHANGE. Talk about what you’ll do to ensure that the same thing won’t happen again.
4) Recognize you were raised differently.
All too often, people say things like: “She shouldn’t have done this. I would NEVER do that.” We tend to think that OUR way is the ONLY way- or the RIGHT way. Don’t fall into this trap. Beliefs, values and paradigms are NOT universal. Remember that the person you’re interacting with probably learned different social norms than you did when you were growing up. Take the time to ask questions and learn about WHY someone does what they do.
Then, respectfully talk through your way of doing it (and, YOUR why, too). The best relationships are ones where two people or a group decide TOGETHER, as a team, what the established norms and rules for this relationship should be.