12 Simple Secrets to Great Relationships

Human relationships can be tricky, but they don’t have to be. While each of us is unique and needs to be treated individually and differently, there are several habits that are very important to develop when dealing with other people. These habits are universal and if you are able to develop them and use them effectively, they will help you to improve all your relationships. The more you work on establishing these habits, the more they will become second nature for you.

As you read through the list of habits below, you will see that most of these are based on common sense. They mostly have to do with applying and living by the Golden Rule: treat others as you would like to be treated. These habits are the secrets to really great relationships.

#1: Be respectful
In order to have great relationships, you have to be respectful of others. This is especially true when their opinions differ from yours. Don’t try to impose your own opinions or beliefs on other people, particularly when it comes to contentious topics such as religion, politics, finances, and raising children. Everyone likes to be heard, and likes to know that their feelings, thoughts and opinions are respected. Allowing others to feel comfortable expressing themselves around you will go a long way to improving your relationships.

#2: Be present when you are with others
One really effective way to improve any relationship is to be fully present and engaged when you are interacting with other people. Don’t be distracted by whatever else is happening around you. Don’t check your phone or let your eyes wander during your conversations. Give the other person your undivided attention so that they will know that they are important to you. You will soon see how beneficial this practice will be to all your relationships.

#3: Be a good listener
Being a good listener is an extension of the two previously listed habits. To be a good listener you have to be present. And you also have to be respectful. But beyond that, you also have to care. Someone who is a good listener has the ability to empathize with other people. A good listener knows when to give advice and when to simply provide a friendly ear, or a shoulder to cry on. If you become known as a good listener, you will soon see that others will feel comfortable speaking to you when they need to just get something off their chest. And as a result your relationships will become deeper.

#4: Be quick to compliment
We all don’t receive nearly enough compliments.You will be amazed how much a small compliment can brighten someone’s day, and how much it can improve how that person feels about you. There are too many generous and thoughtful acts that go unnoticed. Too often someone does a good job at a task and never gets the proper credit for it. If you see that someone has done something well, let them know it. If they have gone out of their way to be helpful to you, thank them so they know it did not go unnoticed. You should also make an effort to notice and compliment good qualities in other people. It always feels good to know others have noticed something positive about us. It could be something as small as a new outfit or a few pounds recently lost. Or it could be something bigger like how well we cook or what a great singing voice we have. Don’t be shy about handing out well deserved compliments. It will definitely improve your relationships, plus you will feel great doing it.

#5: Be helpful
People always appreciate a helping hand. Help is even more appreciated when it is offered before it is requested. To improve your relationships, be observant of the needs of others. Look for opportunities where you can be helpful to them. It can be small favors. Something as small as helping someone carry a bag or parcel, or just opening a door will be noticed. In fact, if you do a lot of small favors, it can have a bigger impact on your relationship than doing one big favor because the frequency of your favors will make a lasting impression.You will become known for your helpfulness, which will definitely be a boost to all your relationships.

#6: Be generous
Generosity is a quality that goes one step beyond helpfulness. It happens when whatever you give is given with no expectation of getting anything in return. If you are the type of person that regularly gives more than you receive, then you will definitely have genuine appreciation from people in your life. That appreciation will have a huge positive impact on all your relationships. People will know that you don’t have any ulterior motives and that you are giving out of the kindness of your heart. Plus it will have the added benefit of making you feel great about yourself.

#7: Be quick to apologize
We all will do things we regret at one time or another. Sometimes we do things that unjustly hurt others. These may be done both intentionally and unintentionally. But regardless, if we have done something that we later wish we hadn’t, the best thing to do to salvage a relationship is to apologize as quickly as possible. For some of us apologizing is not easy. It feels like a blow to our ego. Or perhaps we prefer to just sweep whatever it was under the carpet and hope that it either went unnoticed, or will quickly be forgotten. But why take a chance that neither of these will happen? Why take a chance that an oversight or thoughtless action on our part has hurt or upset someone who matters to us? Why risk unnecessarily damaging a relationship? Those three little words, “I am sorry”, can be extremely powerful. They can go a long way toward healing a relationship, especially if they are said quickly and without prompting. Think about a time when someone has apologized to you before you even told them that you were hurt. You probably felt better much faster, and forgave them more easily because their apology was genuine and heartfelt. Practice apologizing in this same manner to those who matter to you.

#8: Be quick to forgive
Just as it is important to be quick with your apologies, it is also important to be quick with your forgiveness. Once someone has apologized to you, treat them as you would hope to be treated when the situation is reversed. Accept their apology and believe that it was given with sincerity. Understand that it may have been difficult for them to apologize. Appreciate their effort and let them know they have been forgiven. Forgiveness does wonders to heal relationships because it helps both parties to feel better about the situation.

#9: Be appreciative
It is important to not only feel appreciation for the love and friendship that others bring into your life, but also to display that appreciation. Express your gratitude for everything that others do for you, no matter how small. Showing your appreciation and gratitude will not only benefit the relationship, but it will also make you feel better overall. Gratitude has multiple benefits and is one of the easiest and fastest ways to help any relationship. But it only works when it is expressed sincerely. Otherwise not only will the other person likely see through it, but it will not bring you the happiness and contentment that can only be achieved with genuine appreciation.

#10: Be honest
At first it may seem counterintuitive that being honest will help to improve your relationships. It may seem that what will happen instead is you will be opening a door to more hurt feelings and resentment. But honesty that is applied correctly will deepen any relationship and increase the respect that you have for each other. Nobody respects someone who is deceitful. And nobody feels comfortable opening up to someone who will not give them honest support and advice. Before you speak your mind truthfully, consider how your message will be received. Perhaps the other person isn’t ready for the truth at that precise moment. Honesty is not something that happens at the expense of tact and empathy. It may be best to simply provide a shoulder or ear right now, and reserve your honest opinion and advice for a better time. If you wait to share your message at a time when the other person is better prepared to receive it, it will be much more appreciated and the entire experience will improve and deepen your relationship. The other person will know that you are someone that they can come to in the future for honest, thoughtful and caring advice.

#11: Be dependable
Dependability is an essential trait to healthy relationships. If you tell someone that you will meet them at a certain time, or you will do something for them by a certain date, then they have every right to expect you to keep your word. Failing to keep your promise is likely to put a strain on your relationship. Giving a valid excuse once or maybe even twice will probably get you off the hook, but once others get the feeling that you can’t be relied on to do what you say you will do, they will stop trusting you. Once that happens, it will be really hard to change your reputation and fix that relationship. The best practice is to be reliable from the start and keep your word as much as possible.

#12: Be flexible
Flexibility and the willingness to be accommodating of others is another sign of respect. If you are willing to not always have your way, and to sometimes allow others to choose where you will go for dinner, or what movie you will watch, it shows that you respect them and their opinion. It also shows that you enjoy making them happy. Someone who is too rigid in their ways can find it difficult to maintain great relationships because they will be seen as intolerant and sometimes even selfish. Try to be more flexible when dealing with others and you will soon see the improvement in your relationships with them.

If you find that you are having trouble with any of your relationships, identify an area where you could improve and become a more enjoyable person to be around. See which of the above habits you could start developing in order to have better relationships.You will find that as you implement these habits, they will become easier and easier to employ. Eventually they will become completely natural to you, just as a habit should be, and you won’t even have to make an effort to use them. They will just become part of your nature, and part of how you treat others on a daily basis.

So how many of these habits have you already developed? Which ones do you use on a regular basis? And which ones are you going to start working on today?

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