So much of our happiness is tied to how we feel about our relationships with other people. These may be family members, significant others, co-workers, friends, classmates, and neighbors. Habits can strengthen and provide greater meaning to these relationships, whether it’s through outward behaviors or through internal reflections.
Strengthen your Relationships through these behaviors:
- Cultivate empathy and compassion; make it an automatic habit to put yourself in someone else’s shoes.
- Develop your ability to listen well and ask engaging questions.
- Be proactive and deliberate about maintaining communication and spending quality time with loved ones.
- Don't be shy about expressing gratitude and appreciation directly to those who deserve it.
- How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie
- Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brené Brown
- Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success by Adam Grant
- Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ by Daniel Goleman
- Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most by Douglas Stone Bruce Patton, and Sheila Heen
- Call a friend or family member you haven’t spoken to in awhile each week. With how easy it is to stay in touch, we still often neglect relationships that are important to us. While technology does make the act of staying in touch easier, it doesn’t necessarily enable us to more easily remember to do so in the first place. We still might lack the motivation and will to initiate these important conversations. Getting in the habit of talking to friends and family deepens those relationships in the age of surface-level Facebook-only interactions and brief text messages. To reduce the cognitive burden, you can choose a specific time each week that typically works, like 8PM on a Sunday.
- Start conversations with open-ended questions and then commit to listening. You can learn so much by actually listening to people. Learn to ask open-ended questions like “why do you feel that way” and let people talk before jumping in. By starting with open-ended questions you can get people to tell you how they really feel. If you’re not used to listening you’ll be surprised at how much people will tell you if only they were given the opportunity!
The Other Elements