Humans are social creatures, and we love just being around others. Social interaction can bring immense benefits to our mental and physical wellbeing. Not to mention, hanging out with people you love is just a lot of fun!
Building and maintaining positive relationships with friends, family, co-workers, classmates, or partners is essential. However, it can sometimes be daunting to go out of the way to facilitate conversations and strengthen these bonds.
But have no fear, because help is here! Let’s take a look at some easy, fun, and exciting ways to enforce positive relationships with the people in your life.
Why Are Positive Relationships Important?
There’s nothing better than connecting with others through small talk, deep conversation, or games. Forming bonds with those around us is essential for a healthy, happy life.
For one, healthy relationships can lead to less stress and lessened feelings of isolation. If you feel like your social circle is limited or lacking, it might cause you to spend much more time alone. This can lead to an increased risk of developing depression or anxiety.
It can help relieve stress if you have a good number of people who you can trust. When you’re feeling down, having a positive friend, family member, or partner is a great way to seek advice and let your feelings be heard.
Humans naturally want to feel needed and strive for a sense of purpose or belonging. Being engaged in great relationships with other people can allow you to feel like you’re improving the world in some way, because you are! Being a positive force in someone else’s life can be just as exciting and wonderful as having someone who cares about you.
Positive relationships are mutually beneficial. So, how can we form them?
1. Communicate Openly
For romantic relationships as well as platonic, one of the most important factors in ensuring healthy maintenance is clear, frequent, and non-judgemental communication.
Communication can help you meet your needs, and it’s important to be precise and specific when it comes to communicating with others. This can help avoid misunderstandings that may otherwise cause anger, resentment, sadness, pain, or confusion.
Everyone has different communication needs and styles, so take some time to understand exactly how to approach conversations with specific people. Try to put aside the phone, think about what you say, and be clear in your messaging to truly show someone that they have your undivided attention at any given time.
And when you successfully communicate, you’ll start to notice that other people will do the same right back at you. Being fluent regarding your wants and needs is one of the best ways towards strengthening the bonds of any relationship.
On top of that, it’s just important to keep in touch with people whose relationships you’d like to foster. Reach out often and try to find mutual talking points to keep your conversations new, fun, and interesting.
2. Be a Good Listener
As important as it is to speak your mind and be clear, it’s equally important to listen to another person when they’re talking to you. No matter how well you know another individual, showing them that you’re capable of listening to what they have to say is a great way to build a positive bond.
Being a good listener not only means you absorb the information that another person tells you, but it also means that you respond to them appropriately. This can help create a sense of trust and respect that will become mutual, so you can bet that they’ll be willing to listen to you just as easily.
With this said, everyone zones out every now and then. You might miss specific information that another individual says to you. Instead of just nodding along, politely ask “I’m sorry, could you repeat that last part?” This will show that you genuinely care about what is being said.
3. Have a Sense of Humor
Everyone loves to be around someone who will make them feel good. Having a great sense of humor is a very attractive trait, because people love laughing and smiling.
In fact, the act of physically smiling has actual health benefits, such as lower blood pressure, longer life, and balanced mood. So if you can be a funny force in someone else’s life, you’re actually helping to make them feel better inside and out!
Some people are naturally funny, able to use certain situations and ideas as fodder for funny jokes. Other people might not have the same type of funny bone in their systems, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have an amazing sense of humor. Laughter is contagious, so laugh at your friend’s jokes, find mutual material that you both think is funny, or spend some time watching a funny show.
If you can laugh, you’ll start to notice that the people around you will start to laugh as well. If you can be a positive force towards making people feel their best, you’ll strengthen your bonds to an unimaginable degree.
4. Remember Little Details
One of the best ways to prove that you want a relationship to stay healthy and strong is by showing that you truly care about it. You can do this by paying close attention to the details of their past and present.
In a conversation, if you bring up something that they may have mentioned days or weeks ago, it’ll be a sure sign that you listen carefully and are able to retain information that is told to you. This is an impressive trait, and it will definitely make your relationships feel more genuine and thoughtful.
You can try to enhance your memory by relating their experiences to your own. For example, if a friend mentions that they went to school in a certain town, you can try to figure out how that town might relate to your own life. Maybe it’s something like “Oh, I used to live in that state” or “I toured that school before applying!” This will give their information a personal connection, so you’ll have a better ability to correctly bring it back up in a future conversation.
5. Plan Fun Activities
Especially when it comes to fairly new relationships, it can be hard to keep the conversation going. And while awkward silence is normal and generally expected, it’s not usually the goal.
You can help this by doing fun, healthy activities together. If you decide to go bowling, rock climbing, hiking, etc., you’ll have a game or purpose in which you can focus your attention if the conversation ever runs dry. And on top of that, the activity itself might be able to spur further material for you to discuss.
This is especially great for first dates, as it can lessen the pressure and reduce the anxiety that is often associated with this huge stepping stone. Choose a fun activity that will still allow you to get to know someone while also keeping your mind occupied.
6. Devote Time to Others
Life is busy. Between work, school, housework, and leisure, it’s tough to find time in the day to do anything else. With that said, strengthening relationships will only occur when you can spend some time with another person to connect in new ways.
Devoting time to someone else doesn’t mean you need to drop everything and spend a whole day with them. While that will definitely bring you closer, it’s understandable if you’re a bit busy. Something as simple as a quick phone call, lunch date, or walk around the block is enough to show someone that you care about forming a more positive bond.
If you both have a ton of work to get done, you can even go to a local library or cafe and bang out some projects together. Just being physically near someone can be helpful for your productivity, and you can have someone to talk to during breaks.
Building positive relationships can come naturally to some, but there’s a lot involved in ensuring that a mutual bond is successfully growing. However, having good relationships with others is immensely important for physical and mental health.
When it comes to strengthening ties, it’s important to be communicative and a good listener. This will show that you genuinely care about what is being said, while also being clear about your wants and needs. Active listening will also let you remember little details about a person’s life, which can be thoughtful ways to incorporate material into future discussions.
Having a sense of humor is also great, as laughing and smiling is an attractive trait in humans. If you can cause others to laugh, either through your own jokes or by laughing at others, you will be someone that people always want to be around.
With all of this said, the most important thing to do is just be yourself! You’re amazing, and you’re not going to have to work hard for people to see that.
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