Menanteau Serfontein – 15 October 2021
Some people are inherently better at building good relationships with others. This is not necessarily related to our intellect, talent, knowledge, skill and individual brilliance, however the quality of our relationships is just as important as these other factors to succeed and to live a meaningful, satisfied and fulfilled life.
Fortunately, there is hope for those of us who are not naturally gifted in this area, because relationship building skills can be learned and mastered if you recognize the need and take the time and effort to develop these skills.
Below are Some of the Skills that are required to Build Good Relationships with others:
- Become A Great Listener
Effective listening skills play a key role in the quality of our interpersonal relationships. One of the most important elements of two-way communication is your skill to listen well, in order to demonstrate your genuine interest and to accurately receive and understand what someone is saying.
Guard against being a perpetual talker who always wants to speak and “have all the answers”, hardly allowing the next person to get a word in sideways. Although this might sometimes be entertaining, the perpetual talker misses out on what others think and feel, resulting in the talker making poor assumptions about what others are like and what their views are – this could lead to people feeling that they are unimportant and inferior in the eyes of the talker.
We naturally bond easier with people who really listen and hear us. (Read the Linked Article on the website entitled “Effective Listening”)
- Show Genuine Interest and Ask Questions
The best way to let people know that we hear them is to make sure that we first understand what they are saying. To do this, we dig deeper and ask questions. We repeat back to them what they said in our own words, to make sure that what we heard makes sense to us. One possible way of making this happen is to say, “What I hear you say is . . .”
When others sense that we are making a sincere attempt to understand them, they tend to open up and share more with us. This deepens the relationship and places us in the category of people they want to seek out and talk to.
- Pay Attention to the Whole Person
When someone is speaking, focus not only on the tone of their words, but also their facial expression and body language. Notice when someone’s words don’t match their facial expression or body language. This will open doors to having deeper, more meaningful conversations that will lead to developing trust and stronger connections.
- Remember Things That are Important to Others
Most people like the sound of their own name. Remembering people’s names is the first step to relationship building and remembering other important aspects about them continues the building process. They will tell us what is important in their lives – all we need to do is listen, pay attention and do our best to remember.
We don’t have to remember everything about them, but at least focus on their names and one or two important pieces of information.
Some people who are known for building good relationships, keep written notes of important information about significant people in their lives so that they will have a written record to refer to in order to the keep facts accurate.
- Be Consistent and Manage Emotions
People whose mood regularly swings from hot to cold, have a difficult time creating meaningful relationships. Regardless of how we are feeling, we need to be able to temporarily put those feelings aside, in order to fully listen and engage others that are important in our lives.
If we are going through a period where we are experiencing strong emotions that keep us from being fully present with the other person, we are better off letting this individual know what is bothering us, rather than pretending to listen. They will appreciate our honesty and openness.
(Read the Linked Article on the website entitled “Self-Control and Self-Restraint”)
- Be Open and Share When the Time is Right
We all know people who tell us their whole life story in the first five minutes of meeting us, totally oblivious to the fact that we are likely to have absolutely no interest in hearing it. To build strong relationships, we need to be able to pace ourselves and share when it’s appropriate and at a level that is consistent with the depth of the relationship.
Good relationship builders show that they are sharing the feelings of the other by mirroring the emotions of the person speaking. Sharing excitement, joy, sorrow, frustration and disappointment, helps to connect us to others.
When possible, share a situation from your own experience to show that you can relate to the other’s experience, but never so that it overshadows or competes with their experience. This requires empathy and sensitivity to their feelings.
(Read the Linked Article on the website entitled “Emotional Intelligence”)
- Be Genuine, Humble, Honest, Reliable, Trustworthy and Positive
A genuine, humble, honest, reliable, trustworthy and positive person can be trusted and depended upon – his “word is his bond”; a person whose “yes is yes” and his “no is no”. If he says that he will be doing something, you can trust him fully that he will do what he promised to do.
Do your best to be positive and optimistic – the majority of people tend to avoid those who are negative and always complaining.
Don’t gossip about others and keep what others tell you in confidence.
(Read the Linked Article on the website entitled “Humility vs The BIG ME” as well as the one entitled “Duty, Trustworthiness, Reliability, Dependability and Faithfulness”).
- Treat People with Respect, Dignity and Kindness
Treat people with respect, thoughtfulness and kindness. Words matter – choose your words carefully, taking into consideration the feelings, emotions and dignity of others.
When we do so, people will feel safe with us and will tend to trust us, resulting in us being able to be a calming influence and playing the role of peacemakers rather than creating storms, turmoil and conflict.
- Demonstrate Empathy and Compassion
The empathetic and compassionate person will express and demonstrate understanding and sympathy and provide encouragement, hope, re-assurance, and comfort. When someone needs understanding, empathy and compassion, pray with the person (where appropriate), or assure the person that you will be praying for him/her.
(Read the Linked Article on the website entitled “Empathy and Compassion”)
- Take Responsibility
When you become aware that you have said or done something inappropriate or hurtful to someone else, you should admit it, apologize sincerely and go out of your way not to repeat the same mistake.
(Read the Article on the website entitled “Taking Personal Responsibility”)
- Forgive and Forget
When a friend or acquaintance said or did something that hurt you or that you are unhappy with, you often have to just let it go and move on.
If it is something more serious or if there is a regular repeat of something minor which is annoying or inappropriate, then raise it at the right time and in the right manner, expressing what the issue is and how you feel about it. Then both of you should set it aside and move on in a spirit of “forgive and forget”.
- Deal with Disagreements and Conflicts
No relationship is perfect and there are always ups and downs, disagreements and conflicts.
In any relationship, there should be “give-and-take” on both sides.
In most cases when disagreements and conflicts arise, one should let it go and move on. However, if it is something really important and of significance, it is essential to address it by raising it and talking it through in a constructive manner.
In most instances, the issue will be resolved amicably. However, if mutual agreement is not achieved, then one should “agree to disagree” and move forward.
In extreme cases, if a severe conflict or disagreement in respect of a fundamental issue of principle occurs that could have a serious detrimental impact on the relationship going forward, then it might be better to cool or even terminate the relationship in a constructive way, without becoming enemies.
- Stay Connected
Out of sight, out of mind.
For most relationships to flourish, a key ingredient is to have frequent contact and to communicate regularly, preferably in person and if that is not possible, to at least communicate telephonically, on digital media or even in writing through email, etc.
Some of the content of this article was derived from a paper entitled “7 Key Habits for Building Better Relationships” written by Harvey Deutschendorf, who is an emotional intelligence expert, author and speaker. https://www.fastcompany.com/3041774/7-key-habits-for-building-better-relationships
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