Relationships, like anything else in life, require work. But not in the negative way we often perceive our jobs or other obligations. Relationships require work in the sense that anything you desire won’t always come easy. But when you care about someone, you want to pour all of yourself into them and the bond you have.
As an emotional and intuitive person, I’m always looking for ways to share my heart and deepen the connections in my life. In the busyness of our day-to-day lives, making time for the people we love can be difficult. There’s so much that’s taken for granted and overlooked!
But if you’re looking to strengthen the relationships in your life and be a better friend, lover, or person in general, here are some easy ways to live a little more selflessly.
1. Go out of your way to tell the person you love that you love them each week.
When was the last time you told a person in your life that you love them, I mean really love them?
Maybe you’ve said it in passing as you ran out the door for work, or quickly before you hung up the phone. Chances are, you haven’t really said it with meaning, or said it intentionally (and randomly) to bring a smile to your person’s face.
The challenge is to take a moment, each week, and be really intentional about those three words.
Perhaps you can tap into your person’s love language and share the sentiment in a way that matters the most to him or her. Maybe you can leave a little note somewhere the person can discover, or slip it into conversation when it’s least expected. Regardless, find a way to go beyond the simple saying and do a little more showing.
2. Seek out a conversation where all your energy is focused on the other person.
How often are your conversations self-focused? Although it pains me to admit it, sometimes I have phone calls with family members or friends where I do most of the talking! Not only can this be really frustrating for the person who’s trying to be there for me, but it lowers the quality of my relationships because they’re largely one-sided.
The people you care about won’t be willing to open up if you’re the one stealing the show all the time. If you’re using all your interactions to brag or complain about events in your life without letting them speak, it’s annoying, too!
Pay close attention to the conversations you’re having and make sure that at least half (if not more) are focused outwardly, rather than on you alone.
3. Be an active listener.
Showing someone you’re there and listening makes all the difference in the world. It’s not enough to simply say, ‘I’m here for you.’ Being a real friend, family member, or support system is about showing up. And showing up means listening without distractions, interruptions, or changing the topic.
4. Find a productive outlet for venting your frustration before sharing with the other person.
An easy way to strengthen the relationships in your life is to give yourself time and space before exploding when you’re upset.
People are human and you’re bound to have human reactions to things that bother you. Try, though, to be a little less reactive and a little more reflective.
When you give yourself time to experience and process things, you may discover that you’re not actually as mad as you thought you were. You might also realize that what was a major problem at first, is really just a little blip at the end of the day.
Give yourself time and a productive outlet to vent (aka not to another person). This is a simple way to build your bond while decreasing unnecessary arguments and confrontations.
5. Embrace imperfection while still holding high standards.
Relationships are all about building us and the people we love into better versions of ourselves. With that comes embracing imperfections because not a single one of us is perfect.
Embracing imperfection is all about giving people grace. It’s about understanding that the people we love will inevitably let us down at times, but that doesn’t make them any less loveable or worthy.
As you accept the people in your life for who they are, it’s important to still hold them to high standards. Giving grace doesn’t mean letting yourself get walked on. It also doesn’t mean lowering your standards to allow someone to keep making the same mistakes.
When you keep high standards, you encourage the people you love to rise up to them. And you both grow together.
Above all, know that relationships require work—and this is a beautiful thing.
Relationships aren’t perfect and that’s what makes them beautiful! When you love someone, you’ll invest the time into making things better and stronger.
Whether this is a romantic partner, friend, family member, coworker, or other important figure, hopefully these small tips can help you strengthen the your bonds. And hopefully they will grow you into the best version of yourself for them, too.
Featured Image Credit: Andrea Vehige