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25 Tips to Help You Improve Any Relationship In Your Life

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25 Tips to Help You Improve Any Relationship In Your Life

Humans are social creatures, and we thrive in small and medium-sized groups. Even the loners out there have a few family members and some friends in their close social circle. This means that we have to work hard on developing good relationships with those around us—our family, friends, lovers, coworkers and bosses. Here are a few nifty little secrets that will help you become a better people person and improve any relationship in your life.

1. Acknowledge the opinions, feelings and needs of others

It’s very easy to get caught up in our own little world. Sometimes we feel so eager to express our feelings and point of view that we neglect the opinions and feelings of others. If you want to build strong, long-lasting relationships you need to start letting people express themselves. And always respect their right to an opinion, even if you don’t think they are right.

2. Be more open to suggestions and compromises

Making the right decision and choosing a course of action that benefits everyone requires input from everyone involved. Try to be democratic when deciding on things like where to go for dinner or dividing tasks amongst colleagues. Understand that you will often have to compromise, and that this sometimes means giving up a lot of ground in someone else’s favor.

3. Give 100% of your attention to the job

Doing your job as best you can not only improves the relationship between you and your colleagues, it also means less stress and more peace of mind during your free hours. This will make you less irritable and more energetic when you hang out with your friends, family, and lover.

4. Spend more of your free time out with people instead of locked up at home

Getting to spend some quality time with your friends, partner, and even colleagues is an essential part of getting to know them on a deeper level. It also allows you to relax and share all kinds of information. Spending more time outside with other people is also a good way to improve your mental health by talking about the problems you might have with your partner or friends—problems that would otherwise eat away at you and put a strain on those relationships.

5. Get a grip on your emotions through regular practice

toddler crying

    In order to keep a discussion from escalating into an argument and to deal with the emotional outbursts of others, you need to be able to keep a level head. This means controlling your emotions. With exercises like bikram yoga you can get physical health benefits while learning to stay calm and breathe properly. Sometimes a good run can help clear your head and release bottled up frustrations.

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    6. Work on overcoming your insecurities

    If you go into a discussion with someone and you have tons of insecurities weighing you down, you will always be nervous and looking for the right thing to say. In fact, it may be difficult for you to open up or meet new people. Spend some time each day working on coming to terms with your appearance and lifestyle choices and start making some small positive changes. It will greatly improve the way you interact with others.

    7. Learn people’s emotional triggers and avoid setting them off

    Just like you have fears and insecurities, so does everyone else. There are topics and even specific words that will trigger a strong negative emotional response. As you get to know someone, try to pick up on these touchy subjects and avoid hitting these triggers when you interact with that person. They will greatly appreciate this and you will fight less often.

    8. Goodhearted banter is fine, but keep things positive

    Although joking and teasing may not set off any big triggers, if you are always critical and mocking, people will start thinking less of you over time. You want people close to you to actually enjoy your company, so be sure to have a healthy balance of banter and positive comments and don’t dish out more than they can take.

    9. Start saying sorry more often

    acrobatic apology

      Let’s face it, we all mess up sometimes and end up upsetting a friend, family member or partner. It is important to accept the blame and say that you are sorry. A simple “I’m sorry” can go a long way towards maintaining good relationships and mending ones that have taken a bad turn.

      10. Learn to forgive

      This one goes hand and hand with apologies. You can’t just keep asking for forgiveness from others, while holding grudges and pouting. Sure, you will need some time to cool off, but you need to allow people to apologize so you can move on. If someone extends a hand in a gesture of peace, don’t slap it away.

      11. Free yourself from emotional baggage

      This point builds on the previous one. Sometimes people won’t approach you for truce negotiations or even say they are sorry for something bad they have done. You don’t need to bend over backwards to rekindle shattered friendships and relationships, but try to let go of all that emotional baggage, let your wounds heal and keep going forward without being resentful and blaming others for all your problems.

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      12. Encourage healthy discussions instead of fights

      Important issues will often come up and you will have to address them with your significant other or your friends and acquaintances. This is normal, but a screaming match where everyone is red in the face will only drain your energy. Instead, try staying calm. This is where all that meditation and yoga breathing comes into play, and discuss your issues without raising your voice or interrupting each other.

      13. Stop sweating the small things

      Hades goes crazy

        Small issues should never even get to the discussion and problem-solving stage. If it is a benign issue, then just drop it and never look back. It may irk you for a while, but you’ll soon forget it and it will save you minutes or hours of arguing.

        14. Stop taking things personally

        Not everything someone says is a veiled insult or clever insinuation directed at you. People don’t always have some deep and hidden meanings in mind, nor are they constantly plotting to achieve a sinister goal. Shut your negative inner voice up and take things at face value without making huge logical leaps based on scant information. This will make you seem more relaxed and attentive, and help you avoid embarrassing misunderstandings and big fights over nothing.

        15. Don’t jump to conclusions

        Being cautious and suspicious are deeply rooted in human nature, but sometimes people go way overboard with insane theories and play out scenarios in their heads that only serve to enrage them and become resentful of another person who may not have even done anything wrong. Don’t let jealousy, anger or your insecurities cloud your judgment and focus on more effective communication that fosters trust.

        16. Ask more questions and pay attention when someone speaks to you

        By simply sitting a person down, saying what’s on your mind and asking them what you want to know will help you avoid a lot of problems. Also, when someone wants to talk to you, take the time to close your mouth and listen to what they have to say. Take mental notes and ask questions afterwards. This is the key for effective communication and building a strong bond between two people.

        17. Make criticism constructive

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        zoidberg giving a compliment

          When you want to point out some flaws in a person’s performance, strive to give them feedback instead of just criticizing, i.e., tell them what they can do to improve. You should also throw in small compliments to numb the effects of criticism. When it comes to partners, telling them you like something that they do will often motivate them to practice, improve and do it even better.

          18. Spend some time with your family in fairly regular intervals

          In order to keep your relationship strong you need to actually spend time with people. Family often takes a back seat to other obligations, but you should definitely make the time to see your parents, visit relatives or spend quality time with your partner and kids. Make sure you devote several quality hours to the people you love at least once a week for your nuclear and once a month for your extended family. You can always just call and have a chat.

          19. If you’re a man, “She is always right” is the golden relationship rule

          Women usually tend to take firm stances on some things, and on a societal level it is acceptable for them to be more emotional and take charge when it comes to running the home. Men are expected to be calmer and can save themselves a lot of trouble by just admitting to the woman that she is right. Of course you will need to speak up on important issues and draw some lines, but don’t try to use logic to prove that you are right – you stand to gain absolutely nothing from it.

          20. If you’re a woman, “He really doesn’t get some things, cut him some slack” is the golden relationship rule

          Ladies have a very different way of thinking then men, and are generally more emotionally driven, intuitive and more receptive to body language ques. You don’t need to be looking for a complex reason for why a man is behaving a certain way – it is usually the simplest explanation, and they really can’t grasp certain things. Just cut them some slack from time to time and know that they really are trying hard, their brains are just not wired the same way.

          21. For both same sex and heterosexual couples: pick your battles and let your partner win from time to time

          Concede defeat card

            No matter what your sexual preference or relationship status – if you are in it for the long term you’ll need to realize that you will at times get the short end of the stick. Swallowing pride and gracefully losing of an argument and admitting that you were wrong – even if you are objectively right – as well as saying sorry for getting mad for clearly being wronged are both necessary sacrifices that you have to make to keep the peace.

            One of you might end up doing this most of the time, while the other only occasionally does it, but as long as it’s just the little things and you are generally happy, it doesn’t really matter.

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            22. One roommate/partner will take on the lion’s share of the work in some areas, and that’s OK

            Speaking of getting the short end of the stick, when it comes to things like keeping the house clean, preparing meals, trips to the store, ironing or fixing things around the home, one partner or roommate will be more capable or have a greater attention to detail than the other.

            It will quickly become apparent who is neat and tidy, who is the handyman and who is a bit of a slob, but can fix the computer, etc. Let everyone do the lion’s share of the work in an area they are good at and that they find natural, instead of trying to divide all chores and tasks right down the middle.

            23. Don’t nag people, preach or give them unwanted lessons

            If you want something done, just tell people that. If you are displeased with something, tell them about it. Just don’t preach or insist that things be done the exact same way you do it, just because you are used to it and there is no logical or tactical reason not to do it any other way. Be concise when expressing your displeasure and don’t take up a confrontational tone right off the bat.

            24. Never make rash decisions or start conversations when you are feeling angry or moody

            Never go to bed angry with your partner, never make a phone call or start a conversation when angry or moody and never make any serious decisions until you have cooled down – live by these rules and you will do a lot less dumb things that you end up regretting.

            25. Do some traveling and experience other cultures

            Flying on a plane

              You can go on a trip with friends, your lover, your family or a combination of any or all of these. Being able to enjoy yourselves free of stress and your usual obligations, all while experiencing a whole new culture will help strengthen and revitalize your relationship, and you may learn some things about each other you never knew before.

              None of this is all that difficult to grasp, but some points may be difficult for people to accept and they will definitely be very difficult to implement. It takes a whole lot of devotion and patience, but if you stay focused and try to follow these rules every single day, your life will slowly change for the better and you will become much happier.

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              Featured photo credit: Padlock/ Moyan Brenn via flickr.com

              More by this author

              Ivan Dimitrijevic

              Ivan is the CEO and founder of a digital marketing company. He has years of experiences in team management, entrepreneurship and productivity.

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              Last Updated on July 20, 2021

              How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

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              How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

              You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

              Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

              Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

              Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

              1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

              According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

              “Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

              Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

              Warming up

              If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

              If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

              Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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              1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
              2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
              3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

              Stay hydrated

              Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

              To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

              Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

              Meditate

              Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

              Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

              Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

              Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

              2. Focus on your goal

              One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

              Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

              Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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              Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

              If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

              3. Convert negativity to positivity

              There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

              ‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

              It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

              Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

              Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

              Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

              4. Understand your content

              Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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              However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

              “No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

              Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

              Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

              One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

              5. Practice makes perfect

              Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

              In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

              Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

              6. Be authentic

              There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

              Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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              Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

              To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

              With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

              Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

              7. Post speech evaluation

              Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

              Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

              We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

              You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

              Improve your next speech

              As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

              Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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              • How did I do?
              • Are there any areas for improvement?
              • Did I sound or look stressed?
              • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
              • Was I saying “um” too often?
              • How was the flow of the speech?

              Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

              If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

              Reference

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