What are relationships?

“You never lose by loving. You always lose by holding back”-Barbara de Angelis

 

Personally and professionally, relationships are at the centre of who we are. Whether they are with a parent, partner, or child, or your boss, team, co-worker, or business partner, your most important relationships are worth the time and care you put into them.

Great relationships not only make working easier; they also improve productivity. Deeply connected relationships cultivate trust and mutual respect.

Relationships take effort and hard work, but like anything important in our life, they’re well worth preserving.

 

There are several characteristics that make up good, healthy relationships:

 

  • Trust – This is the foundation of every good relationship.
  • Mutual Respect –Working together, you can develop solutions based on your collective insight, wisdom and creativity.
  • Mindfulness – This means taking responsibility for your words and actions. Those who are mindful are careful and attend to what they say, and they don’t let their own negative emotions impact the people around them.
  • Welcoming Diversity – People with good relationships not only accept diverse people and opinions, but they welcome them.
  • Open Communication – All good relationships depend on open, honest communication.

 

Some communication skills worth enhancing include:

 

  • Empathy. This is the ability to understand and express interest in another person’s feelings and point of view. This does not mean you have to agree with it. Just acknowledge it and try to understand. It shows the other person that you care.
  • Acceptance. Recognize that you can’t make your friend or partner change. You should take responsibility for your own feelings, attitudes, and actions rather than trying to change the other person. Others will enjoy your company a lot more when you do this.
  • Valuing others. Be aware that people want to be valued, appreciated and in control of what is around them. Pay attention to your interactions with friends and try to foster these feelings in them.
  • Listening. Last but not least, be a good listener. This means keeping good eye contact and an open posture by not crossing your arms or legs, and being able to paraphrase what the speaker has said before giving your opinion.

 

Healthy relationships are a vital component of health and well-being. There is compelling evidence that strong relationships contribute to a long, healthy, and happy life. Conversely, the health risks from being alone or isolated in one’s life are comparable to the risks associated with cigarette smoking, blood pressure, and obesity.

 

When building relationships on a day-to-day basis, we really only have two distinct choices we can make:

 

  1. We can choose to build positive, meaningful, healthy, and productive relationships with the people we interact with.
  2. Knowing how to maximize the positive relationships and minimize the negative relationships is key to living a happy and satisfying life.

 

Why are they important?

 

Human beings are naturally social creatures – we crave friendship and positive interactions, just as we do food and water. So it makes sense that the better our relationships are, the happier and more productive we’re going to be.

What’s more, good relationships give us freedom: instead of spending time and energy overcoming the problems associated with negative relationships, we can, instead, focus on opportunities.