We live in a virtual age where even friendship and love, the most prized human relationships, are built online. We may not have too many “real” friends to speak off but we send out friend requests by the dozen everyday on social networking sites. We hesitate in smiling at an acquaintance in the elevator but meticulously frame messages to send out to our digital friends. Therefore, it is not surprising that we are slowly getting tuned out as far as “real” relationships are concerned. The building blocks of good relationships are simple, if only we’d apply them.
* Listen – Listening is the most important ingredient in any good relationship. You can never figure out what is ailing your friends or why someone is behaving differently with you until you listen. Although it may appear to be an easy task but listening is not the same as hearing. You must pay attention to what others have to say and analyze it before offering a feedback or opinion. Sometimes, you may have to go beyond words to really understand what the other person is trying to convey. Cluing yourself in to body language, non-verbal signals, tone of voice and context will help you avoid misunderstandings and make you more receptive to other people’s feelings.
* Communicate – Don’t just listen to what everyone else has to say; present your thoughts as well. When you actively interact with your friends, colleagues and relatives, they start understanding you better and become familiar with your feelings and opinions. A healthy relationship is always based on honest communication, and no matter how difficult it may seem, communication is the only way you can build bridges and establish trust in relationships.
* Control your anger – Venting out your anger may seem like the only way out in the heat of a moment, but if you can control it instead, you can avoid a lot of resentment and hurt in the long term. To build good relations with anyone, you have to strive to become more approachable and amicable. A person who is short tempered is not always seen in the most companionable light.
* Forgive and Forget – Despite your best efforts, you may find yourself in situations which will test your patience and foster long term bitterness. Although you may find it much easier to hold a grudge, forgiving an offending friend and forgetting the incident can be much better for your peace of mind and the health of your relationship.
* Strive to be happy – Your happiness is your own responsibility and if you consciously cultivate good humor, you will find it easier to diffuse conflicts in a relationship and tide over any negativity or resentment.
* Be transparent and straightforward – Honesty and transparency is the best way to establish a trusting relationship. That, however, doesn’t mean that you have the right to say whatever comes to your mind, with no consideration of how hurtful it could be. Truth and diplomacy must always go hand in hand when you are trying to build a good relationship.
* Help those in need – It may be a matter of principle, but if you are capable of helping those in need of some guidance or assistance, never hesitate. Sometimes, that is all it takes to break the ice and embark upon a new and rewarding relationship.
Visual Courtesy: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lac-bac/