Since we were first born most of us have been seeking contact with other people. We have been reaching out and trying to establish relationships with other people. The nature of these relationships evolves over time and each relationship is made up of a number of different needs. There are those based on companionship, the sharing of experiences, interests and concerns together. There are those with whom we add a level of intimacy with, which involves being able to give and receive comfort and a new level of honesty and trust. There are also those with whom we organise a shared life with, we may have a house together, share money, and shared responsibility for social decisions. It could be that you are looking for all of these in the one person or you get these things from many different friends in your life. Regardless of the type of relationship you have you need 3 basic elements for any relationship to be healthy:
1. Communication – this is more than talking to someone. It involves your tone of voice, body language and active listening skills. It is about being able to make the time to share your thoughts and feelings and listen to your partner express their own thoughts and feelings. It is a time to talk about what you need and want in the relationship and being able to compromise and negotiate them boundaries of your relationship together. In every relationship there will be difficult conversations to have. If you want some tips for how to prepare for these click here.
2. Trust – to build trust you need to show the other person that you are honest with them, that you are reliable, responsible and dependable. Don’t make fun of them, belittle them or judge them in any way. Behaviour which may lead to a break down of trust is second guessing them, not believing each other, not keeping their secrets, betraying them or obsessively checking up on them.
3. Respect – Respect is about accepting someone for who they are even when they are different from you. Let them have the freedom to be themselves and express their own opinions. Respect their boundaries and encourage them to spend time apart from you and build their self esteem and other relationships as well. Don’t intimidate or pressure them to do things they don’t want to do.
Healthy relationships with family and friends help us develop the skills we need for other types of relationships, like the student – teacher relationship, colleagues, employer-employee or parent- child relationship. Regardless of the purpose and type of relationship these basic tips will help you navigate the course of the relationship.