By definition, a relationship is the way in which two or more people or organizations regard and behave toward each other.
Relationships surround us, whether it be our roommates, co-workers, friends, and/or family, and have an extraordinary effect on our perception, emotional wellbeing, and self-worth. In fact, according to Harvard research, studies also show that people with satisfying relationships have happier lives, fewer health problems, and live longer. So for the sake of your health, it’s important to have positive, meaningful relationships with others.
When looking at our own relationships, the reality is pretty much all of them could be improved in some way or another. Below you’ll find 12 ways to start improving your relationships today.
Plan a trip together
Planning something together can be just as fun as the actual trip! Have you and your friend/co-worker/romantic partner talked about something for a while but never took action? Was it a camping trip? A lunch trip to get your nails done? Checking out the car show this weekend? Reach out to that person now and facilitate the conversation.
Although you may be tempted to criticize someone for his/her wrongdoing, it’s more beneficial to approach it from a different avenue. Austin divorce attorney Abraham Kant notes, “There’s a big difference between helping someone grow, and needless criticism. In any relationship. Both parties should build each other up while also helping each other recognize their flaws constructively.”
Pick up the phone
But please not while you’re driving! It’s easy to get lost in the whirl of day to day life, but with the accessibility of social platforms and technology, it’s easier than ever to get in contact with people. Give someone a call (not text) today, just because.
Whether your time, money, experience, or advice, there are many ways to give! A relationship should be a two-way street of give and take. Giving today could mean ordering your friend your favorite book of Amazon, sending a Starbucks gift card, or even writing an old-fashioned letter to be sent in the mail.
Implement a regular activity
Something as small as a weekly walk or bi-weekly volunteering opportunity! Doing an activity together and on a regular basis helps keep you in touch with that person and lets you have “your time” together. Text him/her today to see what day works best.
Have an open mind
We don’t always see eye to eye with everyone, but we can appreciate what’s good and different in others. Let go of any anger, past transgressions, and start the healing process today to help foster a more open mind.
Simple, yet effective. When asking how someone’s day was, really listen and engage.
Consider your tone
Dr. Fulbright, a certified sexologist, professor, and author, recommends keeping your tone in check, especially in casual everyday interactions. She recommends people be glad to be making small talk, and during tense conversations, to avoid using domineering, hostile, or sarcastic tones.
If it’s genuine, compliments are always positive! People appreciate being appreciated, so don’t be shy to tell someone if you like what they are doing (being appropriate, of course).
A wise person once said, “Check yourself before you wreck yourself.” Being healthy in a relationship with yourself is important to sustaining healthy relationships with others. Do you need a day to yourself? Do you need to cool off before you respond to that text? If so, that is totally A-OK.
Do a chore together
Doing something you don’t like with someone you do like can improve your outlook on the task at hand and gives you time to hang out with a friend! Washing your car, cooking dinner (and doing dishes), grocery shopping, picking up lunch at work, and running errands are great examples. Chances are, the person you want to improve your relationship with needs to do these things, too.
Do them a favor
Without asking, go out of your way to help them in a small way! It could be as simple as putting away dishes or wiping down an office common area.
Healthy, fulfilling relationships are vital to living a positive life and with these tips, you can start bettering your relationships today. So what are you waiting for? This is your sign to start now!