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Simple Tips to Improve Your Relationships Starting Today

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Simple Tips to Improve Your Relationships Starting Today

Never take your relationships for granted–whether at home, at work, or with family or friends. Your happiness depends on them. You might think that fight from last night is over, but it doesn’t take long to realize that it ruined the next day (or possibly the whole week).

Relationships are one of the top causes of stress. The positive effects of peaceful interactions are pure bliss. However, the disagreements, conflicts, and harbored resentments can knock you down and keep you there. Your body gets out of sync when stress takes it hostage.

Follow these 9 simple steps to improve all of your relationships starting today:

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1. Watch your words.

The old saying “think before you speak” still holds true. Your impulsive multi-tasking ways have caused your thoughts and words to jump out unexpectedly. Slow down and ask yourself, “How would I feel if someone said that to me?”

2. Respect differences and opinions.

Every person thinks his or her opinion is important. Instead of jumping in with “No! I disagree. You’re wrong.” take a minute to realize the other person thinks it’s valuable. Try to respect what someone else is saying, even if you disagree with it.

3. Look for the positive hiding behind the negative.

Each character trait has a positive and negative side to it. Your structured and organized girlfriend plans an awesome summer vacation, but can be a real pain when she wants the refrigerator kept in order like a filing cabinet. If you are a disorganized and creative person, and your partner is structured and organized, don’t expect hime or her to change, simply look to see how those traits make your life easier.

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4. Pick your battles.

Every disagreement does not have to become an argument. Silence has gotten a bad rap lately. Speaking up and standing for what you believe in are important actions to take, but sometimes they seep into other areas of relationships and cause damage. Is this really worth a fight? If the answer is yes, wait until the negative emotions subside before you sit down and talk it out respectfully. Silence is truly golden when it stops a ridiculous argument from ruining your relationship. Some disagreements are just a waste of hurtful words.

5. Give people the benefit of the doubt.

You never know what’s going on in someone else’s life. Things are not often as they appear. You jump to conclusions without thinking about the other side of the story. We don’t go around telling around everyone our deep, dark secrets. Sometimes relationships are guessing games. We don’t always get to see what’s going on inside someone’s head. When you give someone the benefit of the doubt, and judge him or her on the brighter side rather than the darker side, you can see the bigger picture. There’s usually more to most situations.

6. Practice compassion.

Everyone has his or her own personal history, dramas, and character traits. I can’t be you for five minutes and you can’t be me. Let people have their own past, as long as it’s not destructive to your life.

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7. Give compliments.

This is the simplest and quickest way to change a person’s mood or attitude. A compliment says a lot. Notice how you feel the next time someone compliments you. It’s an instant mood lifter.

8. Say thank you.

Practice gratitude. These two words carry a lot of power. Thank you says, “I appreciate you.” Gratitude benefits the one who delivers it, as well as the one who receives it. If you see something worth appreciating, it means that you see the good. Grateful people are happy; complainers are unhappy. Gratitude washes away negativity.

9. Value people.

People are precious. Negative reactions cause emotional amnesia. When you are angry or hurt, you forget all the wonderful things someone did for you in the past. You forgot when they gave you a shoulder to cry on, or came over at 3 a.m. when you didn’t want to be alone.

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Once you realize how easy it is, you can make these simple steps a new habit. Just like going to the gym every day keeps your body healthy, strong, and rock hard, strengthening your relationships can also become a daily habit.

Changing your perspective immediately improves the relationship. Your happiness depends on it.

Featured photo credit: Detailed view of a young couple holding hands/Peter Bernik via shutterstock.com

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June Silny

ADHD Coach, Writer, ADDitude Magazine featured contributor

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Last Updated on November 18, 2021

10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

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10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

We all fall into the trap of judging a person’s character by their appearance. How wrong we are! All too often, the real character of the person only appears when some negative event hits them or you. Then you may see a toxic person emerging from the ruins and it is often a shock.

A truly frightening example is revealed in the book by O’Toole in Bowman called Dangerous Instincts: How Gut Instincts Betray Us. A perfectly respectable, charming, well dressed neighbor was found to have installed a torture chamber in his garage where he was systematically abusing kidnapped women. This is an extreme example, but it does show how we can be totally deceived by a person’s physical appearance, manners and behavior.

So, what can you do? You want to be able to assess personal qualities when you come into contact with colleagues, fresh acquaintances and new friends who might even become lifelong partners. You want to know if they are:

  • honest
  • reliable
  • competent
  • kind and compassionate
  • capable of taking the blame
  • able to persevere
  • modest and humble
  • pacific and can control anger.

The secret is to reserve judgment and take your time. Observe them in certain situations; look at how they react. Listen to them talking, joking, laughing, explaining, complaining, blaming, praising, ranting, and preaching. Only then will you be able to judge their character. This is not foolproof, but if you follow the 10 ways below, you have a pretty good chance of not ending up in an abusive relationship.

1. Is anger a frequent occurrence?

All too often, angry reactions which may seem to be excessive are a sign that there are underlying issues. Do not think that every person who just snaps and throws his/her weight around mentally and physically is just reacting normally. Everyone has an occasional angry outburst when driving or when things go pear-shaped.

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But if this is almost a daily occurrence, then you need to discover why and maybe avoid that person. Too often, anger will escalate to violent and aggressive behavior. You do not want to be near someone who thinks violence can solve personal or global problems.

2. Can you witness acts of kindness?

How often do you see this person being kind and considerate? Do they give money to beggars, donate to charity, do voluntary work or in some simple way show that they are willing to share the planet with about 7 billion other people?

I was shocked when a guest of mine never showed any kindness to the weak and disadvantaged people in our town. She was ostensibly a religious person, but I began to doubt the sincerity of her beliefs.

“The best index to a person’s character is how he treats people who can’t do him any good, and how he treats people who can’t fight back.”

Abigail Van Buren

3. How does this person take the blame?

Maybe you know that s/he is responsible for a screw-up in the office or even in not turning up on time for a date. Look at their reaction. If they start blaming other colleagues or the traffic, well, this is an indication that they are not willing to take responsibility for their mistakes.

4. Don’t use Facebook as an indicator.

You will be relieved to know that graphology (the study of that forgotten skill of handwriting) is no longer considered a reliable test of a person’s character. Neither is Facebook stalking, fortunately. A study showed that Facebook use of foul language, sexual innuendo and gossip were not reliable indicators of a candidate’s character or future performance in the workplace.

5. Read their emails.

Now a much better idea is to read the person’s emails. Studies show that the use of the following can indicate certain personality traits:

  • Too many exclamation points may reveal a sunny disposition
  • Frequent errors may indicate apathy
  • Use of smileys is the only way a person can smile at you
  • Use of the third person may reveal a certain formality
  • Too many question marks can show anger
  • Overuse of capital letters is regarded as shouting. They are a definite no-no in netiquette, yet a surprising number of  people still use them.

6. Watch out for the show offs.

Listen to people as they talk. How often do they mention their achievements, promotions, awards and successes? If this happens a lot, it is a sure indication that this person has an over-inflated view of his/her achievements. They are unlikely to be modest or show humility. What a pity!  Another person to avoid.

7. Look for evidence of perseverance.

A powerful indicator of grit and tenacity is when a person persists and never gives up when they really want to achieve a life goal. Look for evidence of them keeping going in spite of enormous difficulties.

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Great achievements by scientists and inventors all bear the hallmark of perseverance. We only have to think of Einstein, Edison (who failed thousands of times) and Nelson Mandela to get inspiration. The US Department of Education is in no doubt about how grit, tenacity and perseverance will be key success factors for youth in the 21st century.

8. Their empathy score is high.

Listen to how they talk about the less fortunate members of our society such as the poor, immigrants and the disabled. Do you notice that they talk in a compassionate way about these people? The fact that they even mention them is a strong indicator of empathy.

People with zero empathy will never talk about the disadvantaged. They will rarely ask you a question about a difficult time or relationship. They will usually steer the conversation back to themselves. These people have zero empathy and in extreme cases, they are psychopaths who never show any feelings towards their victims.

9. Learn how to be socially interactive.

We are social animals and this is what makes us so uniquely human. If a person is isolated or a loner, this may be a negative indicator of their character. You want to meet a person who knows about trust, honesty and loyalty. The only way to practice these great qualities is to actually interact socially. The great advantage is that you can share problems and celebrate success and joy together.

“One can acquire everything in solitude, except character.”

Stendhal

 10. Avoid toxic people.

These people are trying to control others and often are failing to come to terms with their own failures. Typical behavior and conversations may concern:

  • Envy or jealousy
  • Criticism of partners, colleagues and friends
  • Complaining about their own lack of success
  • Blaming others for their own bad luck or failure
  • Obsession with themselves and their problems

Listen to these people talk and you will quickly discover that you need to avoid them at all costs because their negativity will drag you down. In addition, as much as you would like to help them, you are not qualified to do so.

Now, having looked at some of the best ways to judge a person, what about yourself? How do others see you? Why not take Dr. Phil’s quiz and find out. Can you bear it?

Featured photo credit: Jacek Dylag via unsplash.com

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