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25 Tips to Help You Improve Any Relationship In Your Life

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

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              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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              Published on May 18, 2021

              How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

              How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

              We have two ears and one mouth for a reason—effective communication is dependent on using them in proportion, and this involves having good listening skills.

              The workplace of the 21st century may not look the same as it did before COVID-19 spread throughout the world like wildfire, but that doesn’t mean you can relax your standards at work. If anything, Zoom meetings, conference calls, and the continuous time spent behind a screen have created a higher level of expectations for meeting etiquette and communication. And this goes further than simply muting your microphone during a meeting.

              Effective workplace communication has been a topic of discussion for decades, yet, it is rarely addressed or implemented due to a lack of awareness and personal ownership by all parties.

              Effective communication isn’t just about speaking clearly or finding the appropriate choice of words. It starts with intentional listening and being present. Here’s how to improve your listening skills for effective workplace communication.

              Listen to Understand, Not to Speak

              There are stark differences between listening and hearing. Listening involves intention, focused effort, and concentration, whereas hearing simply involves low-level awareness that someone else is speaking. Listening is a voluntary activity that allows one to be present and in the moment while hearing is passive and effortless.[1]

              Which one would you prefer your colleagues to implement during your company-wide presentation? It’s a no-brainer.

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              Listening can be one of the most powerful tools in your communication arsenal because one must listen to understand the message being told to them. As a result of this deeper understanding, communication can be streamlined because there is a higher level of comprehension that will facilitate practical follow-up questions, conversations, and problem-solving. And just because you heard something doesn’t mean you actually understood it.

              We take this for granted daily, but that doesn’t mean we can use that as an excuse.

              Your brain is constantly scanning your environment for threats, opportunities, and situations to advance your ability to promote your survival. And yet, while we are long past the days of worrying about being eaten by wildlife, the neurocircuitry responsible for these mechanisms is still hard-wired into our psychology and neural processing.

              A classic example of this is the formation of memories. Case in point: where were you on June 3rd, 2014? For most of you reading this article, your mind will go completely blank, which isn’t necessarily bad.

              The brain is far too efficient to retain every detail about every event that happens in your life, mainly because many events that occur aren’t always that important. The brain doesn’t—and shouldn’t—care what you ate for lunch three weeks ago or what color shirt you wore golfing last month. But for those of you who remember where you were on June 3rd, 2014, this date probably holds some sort of significance to you. Maybe it was a birthday or an anniversary. Perhaps it was the day your child was born. It could have even been a day where you lost someone special in your life.

              Regardless of the circumstance, the brain is highly stimulated through emotion and engagement, which is why memories are usually stored in these situations. When the brain’s emotional centers become activated, the brain is far more likely to remember an event.[2] And this is also true when intention and focus are applied to listening to a conversation.

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              Utilizing these hard-wired primitive pathways of survival to optimize your communication in the workplace is a no-brainer—literally and figuratively.

              Intentional focus and concentrated efforts will pay off in the long run because you will retain more information and have an easier time recalling it down the road, making you look like a superstar in front of your colleagues and co-workers. Time to kiss those note-taking days away!

              Effective Communication Isn’t Always Through Words

              While we typically associate communication with words and verbal affirmations, communication can come in all shapes and forms. In the Zoom meeting era we live in, it has become far more challenging to utilize and understand these other forms of language. And this is because they are typically easier to see when we are sitting face to face with the person we speak to.[3]

              Body language can play a significant role in how our words and communication are interpreted, especially when there is a disconnection involved.[4] When someone tells you one thing, yet their body language screams something completely different, it’s challenging to let that go. Our brain immediately starts to search for more information and inevitably prompts us to follow up with questions that will provide greater clarity to the situation at hand. And in all reality, not saying something might be just as important as actually saying something.

              These commonly overlooked non-verbal communication choices can provide a plethora of information about the intentions, emotions, and motivations. We do this unconsciously, and it happens with every confrontation, conversation, and interaction we engage in. The magic lies in the utilization and active interpretation of these signals to improve your listening skills and your communication skills.

              Our brains were designed for interpreting our world, which is why we are so good at recognizing subtle nuances and underlying disconnect within our casual encounters. So, when we begin to notice conflicting messages between verbal and non-verbal communication, our brain takes us down a path of troubleshooting.

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              Which messages are consistent with this theme over time? Which statements aren’t aligning with what they’re really trying to tell me? How should I interpret their words and body language?

              Suppose we want to break things down even further. In that case, one must understand that body language is usually a subconscious event, meaning that we rarely think about our body language. This happens because our brain’s primary focus is to string together words and phrases for verbal communication, which usually requires a higher level of processing. This doesn’t mean that body language will always tell the truth, but it does provide clues to help us weigh information, which can be pretty beneficial in the long run.

              Actively interpreting body language can provide you with an edge in your communication skills. It can also be used as a tool to connect with the individual you are speaking to. This process is deeply ingrained into our human fabric and utilizes similar methods babies use while learning new skills from their parents’ traits during the early years of development.

              Mirroring a person’s posture or stance can create a subtle bond, facilitating a sense of feeling like one another. This process is triggered via the activation of specific brain regions through the stimulation of specialized neurons called mirror neurons.[5] These particular neurons become activated while watching an individual engage in an activity or task, facilitating learning, queuing, and understanding. They also allow the person watching an action to become more efficient at physically executing the action, creating changes in the brain, and altering the overall structure of the brain to enhance output for that chosen activity.

              Listening with intention can make you understand your colleague, and when paired together with mirroring body language, you can make your colleague feel like you two are alike. This simple trick can facilitate a greater bond of understanding and communication within all aspects of the conversation.

              Eliminate All Distractions, Once and for All

              As Jim Rohn says, “What is easy to do is also easy not to do.” And this is an underlying principle that will carry through in all aspects of communication. Distractions are a surefire way to ensure a lack of understanding or interpretation of a conversation, which in turn, will create inefficiencies and a poor foundation for communication.

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              This should come as no surprise, especially in this day in age where people are constantly distracted by social media, text messaging, and endlessly checking their emails. We’re stuck in a cultural norm that has hijacked our love for the addictive dopamine rush and altered our ability to truly focus our efforts on the task at hand. And these distractions aren’t just distractions for the time they’re being used. They use up coveted brainpower and central processes that secondarily delay our ability to get back on track.

              Gloria Mark, a researcher at UC Irvine, discovered that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds for our brains to reach their peak state of focus after an interruption.[6] Yes, you read that correctly—distractions are costly, error-prone, and yield little to no benefit outside of a bump to the ego when receiving a new like on your social media profile.

              Meetings should implement a no-phone policy, video conference calls should be set on their own browser with no other tabs open, and all updates, notifications, and email prompt should be immediately turned off, if possible, to eliminate all distractions during a meeting.

              These are just a few examples of how we can optimize our environment to facilitate the highest levels of communication within the workplace.

              Actions Speak Louder Than Words

              Effective communication in the workplace doesn’t have to be challenging, but it does have to be intentional. Knowledge can only take us so far, but once again, knowing something is very different than putting it into action.

              Just like riding a bike, the more often you do it, the easier it becomes. Master communicators are phenomenal listeners, which allows them to be effective communicators in the workplace and in life. If you genuinely want to own your communication, you must implement this information today and learn how to improve your listening skills.

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              Choose your words carefully, listen intently, and most of all, be present in the moment—because that’s what master communicators do, and you can do it, too!

              More Tips Improving Listening Skills

              Featured photo credit: Mailchimp via unsplash.com

              Reference

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