Developing and maintaining healthy relationships is essential for our happiness and well-being. Numerous research studies have shown that strong social connections make people happier and help them cope easier with stress and negative emotions. Moreover, studies have demonstrated that people with satisfying personal relationships live longer. Healthy professional relationships are also crucial for finding purpose at work and gaining access to better career opportunities.
Read on to learn more about developing healthy relationships with friends, family, coworkers, and romantic partners.
Accept that People Are Different
To develop healthy relationships, embrace the fact that people have different personalities, values, and opinions as something positive rather than negative. By respecting these differences instead of seeing them as a source of tension, you will feel more comfortable in your relationships. Being tolerant of personality differences also allows you to forge satisfying relationships with diverse people from different walks of life. Educate yourself on personality types to understand why people act and think differently. The Myers–Briggs type indicator test is an excellent tool for learning why you react to a situation in a certain way while other people react in vastly different ways. The more aware you become of the differences between people and their natural dispositions towards certain attitudes and behaviors, the more understanding you will become towards them. And this empathetic stance will considerably improve your relationships.
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Pay Attention to How You Communicate
Relationships get messy because we often make assumptions about what the other person thinks or feels based on what we think or feel. When we neglect to take into account that the other person is a uniquely complex being with their own set of values, attitudes, and opinions, we come across as selfish or inconsiderate, even if that’s not our intention at all. To avoid generating tension in your relationships, pay attention to how you communicate. Instead of making assumptions, ask questions. Share your opinions in a gentle and considerate manner. Remember that honesty is essential in a healthy relationship. However, don’t confuse honesty with cruelty. Even if that negative thing you want to say it’s true, make sure your tone and wording don’t come across as hostile but rather sympathetic.
People develop relationships by spending quality time together. Hence, a good way to develop and maintain healthy relationships is to make sure the time you spend with the people you care about is satisfying for both of you. Simply put, be present. But what does it mean to be present in a relationship? The answer is simple: listen genuinely without interrupting, share information, offer warmth and affection, be affirming, and ask questions. Presence is the capacity to be there for someone without an ulterior motive. People notice if you do it, they appreciate it, and they respond similarly.
Relationships can be complicated, but they’re also incredibly rewarding. Communication and empathy are your most helpful tools for developing healthy relationships with people around you. Recognize that people are different, and learn to see the differences as inspiration for personal growth.