That’s kind of a big title for this little post. It might make a better title for a book because there are many things that go into building meaningful human relationships. For the purposes of this post however we’re going to look at four ideas that can make a positive difference in your relationships.
I make no distinction between business and personal relationships. When you’re good at building relationships you understand that there are more similarities than there are differences in those two types of relationships.
If you want strong, healthy and meaningful relationships with other people you first need a strong healthy relationship with yourself. You will need to understand the vast difference between loving yourself (very healthy) and being in love with yourself. (not so healthy)
The best builders of relationships, especially long-term relationships, are comfortable with themselves. They know what they know and even more important they know what they don’t know. The don’t hold unrealistic expectations for themselves and have no need to be “better” than everyone else.
They do their best in any given situation and let the chips fall where they may. These people make the choice to be happy as often as they realistically can. They have no expectation that other people or “stuff” will make them happy. They don’t look to others for their happiness, they look within.
People who build the strongest relationships practice healthy amnesia. They forget the slights and pettiness of other people. They remember how easy it is to take someone for granted. They don’t hold it against someone else if that person sometimes seems to take them for granted. They know when to overlook the faults of others. They work hard at “forgetting” to share those faults with a third party. They understand that you cannot build meaningful relationships by gossiping.
People build meaningful relationships by maintaining a positive attitude. They tend to light up a room when they enter it. People look forward to interacting with positive people and actually seek them out. Relationship builders do their best to make the other person feel better about themselves and their situation. One of Dale Carnegie’s principles from How to Win Friends and Influence People says that we should be genuinely interested in other people. That describes a characteristic of all great relationship builders.
If you want to build meaningful relationships then don’t wait to be asked for help. Don’t offer to help and then do nothing when your offer is declined. Just help! Don’t be a pest, don’t force your help on someone, but be creative and find a way to help. Don’t worry about getting “credit” for helping, just help. That caring attitude will come through in every interaction with other people. They will be drawn to you.
I know that helping other people before being asked, or before receiving permission, may seem like “butting in.” It may offend someone. You should know that building any relationship comes with risks and helping other people is a risk worth taking. I’ve asked many people “if” I could help hoping that they would say no or not answer at all. “Be sure to let me know if there is anything I can do” is too often a hollow offer of help.
Say “I want to help so I’m going to_________________, and then do it!
Meaningful human relationships are the treasure that makes life worth living. Like anything of value it takes effort to keep them meaningful. I can promise you that it is effort you will never regret.