Humans and the human condition have made relationships quite complicated. However, they can be relatively simple if we follow basic relational skills.
- Be kind, help others.
- Be compassionate, learn to be empathetic. Learn to put yourself in the others shoes, situation, conflict or predicament.
- Be understanding and not judgmental.
- Actively listen to others. Look at them in the eyes, listen, don’t feel obligated to have to solve their problems. Just listen and let them know that you are there for them, be supportive. Don’t dismiss their feelings, empathize, but do not be sympathetic. There is a huge difference between the two.
- Respect others. Respect who they are and how they think, feel and believe. Everyone has the right to have their opinion, values, and vision of how they perceive life.
- Don’t try to change others. Accept them as they are.
- Communicate clearly and directly.
Discuss the issues to be addressed. Don’t escape difficulties, don’t dismiss the issues. Solve the problems shared, together in agreement.
- Do not betray others. Be loyal.
- Do not break the trust between you and others. Trust is not easily regained. Breaking trust can severely and forever change your relationship with others.
- Be honest. Don’t lie to try to please or avoid conflict.
- Set boundaries. You have a right to have your space, your thoughts, and beliefs as do they. You are entitled to say “no”, “I don’t want to”, “I am not going to,” ” I will not.”
- Manage your Anger. Don’t allow anger to disrespect your relationship nor the other. Address your anger appropriately. Give yourselves the time and space necessary to resolve the anger and come back calmly to readdress the issues to be resolved.
- Share often. Share your time, your thoughts, your wants, and dislikes. Let them know how you feel and think. Don’t keep them guessing or wondering.
- Be giving. Give based on what they need and want. Meet their wants and needs, not yours.
- Be Caring and Affectionate. Let them know how much you appreciate them. Show it with your actions, say it with your words.
- Reciprocate. Don’t just take and don’t always be the giver. Balance is important for both parties.
- If you are in a Romantic Relationship with the other, be tender, express your fondness, touch them, hug them, romance them. Keep your relationship alive, passionate, and loving, endlessly.
- Treat others as you would like to be treated, that can help. Although, recognize that everyone has different needs and wants.
If we learned to stay in the here and now and practice the above mentioned, we would not have as many difficulties and conflicts. It really can be that simple even within the human complications of our existence.
Learning these skills are necessary. If you want to maintain good relationships, with family, peers, co-workers, and partners, recognizing you don’t have these abilities is a great start. Mastery is crucial.
Seek help, you most likely will need it. Don’t shy from requesting help from a professional. It takes courage and strength but you will not regret it. Remember that it is those that seek help and learn to strengthen these necessary skills and master them are far healthier and more successful than those that do not.
Madeleine Maya, MA, Psy.D.
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