Hi, friends! I hope you're all doing well. A friend of mine asked that I included some relationship advice on the blog, and I thought that was an interesting topic! It's been a recurring theme in my life lately, navigating friendship, dating, and work relationships, and I want to share with you what I've learned. I've got SIX keys to a successful relationship of any kind, and I think they're stellar.
1. Listen. Don't just take turns speaking. Really listen to what the other person is saying when there's a conversation. A lot of times, we spend a conversation just waiting for the other person to stop talking. Try really listening. Have conversations to learn, not to teach all the time. Relationships can grow-- and even surprise us-- when we take the time to really hear and learn what the other person is saying.
2. Show Empathy. A step further than listening is to really try and put yourself in the other person's shoes. Think "When have I felt that way?" when someone is sharing their life with you. Empathy can really grow relationships when we genuinely try to look at where the other person is coming from. Don't try to outdo them or tell them to "suck it up", but really go there with them and help them where they stand. This is GREAT for learning more about a person and for navigating arguments. Trust me. :)
3. Be Sincere. People can tell when you care and when you don't. In romantic relationships, in friendships, and in work relationships, it's important to really care. Thoughtfulness and sincerity go such a long way in building and maintaining relationships. When people know that you're sincere in what you say and do, they'll be more honest and open with you.
4. Ask Questions. Truthfully, people love talking about themselves. Ask them questions (but still make note of the first 3 points). In all types of relationships, it helps to be a "Learn It All" instead of a "Know It All". Take the chance to learn something-- nobody, not even you, has all the answers anyway.
5. Be Empowering. This is a concept that I think is really important. A lot of people think that friendship is a free pass to tear each other down, and that can be hurtful. Surround yourself with people who lift you up, but also remember to be uplifting to others. This is SO important. Words can have a great effect on us, and if it's not constructive then it's better left unsaid. If there is something that you need to approach, like an argument or issue, offer constructive criticism instead of taking the opportunity to tear them down.
6. Offer Compliments. Make them specific, but everyone likes to know when they're doing a good job. Make a point to remind your friend that she's a great listener or that she's really funny. Give specific compliments, and make them deeper than surface level! Be appreciative. Be nice for no reason.
These are a few things that may seem like no-brainers, but they're proven to be keys to successful relationships. I'm never the best at relationships, but I'm making an effort to grow and be a better friend, sister, and teammate. I think that there's always room to grow and improve, especially when it benefit those you love. These six things help us become energy givers instead of draining to be around.