Do you know of someone that just seems to get along with everyone? Who just knows how to deal with people and has many good relationships both at work and in their personal life?
You might think that they were born with the innate ability to connect with others. But more than likely, they work at this skill. This is good news for you because it means that you, too, can cultivate this ability.
Would you like to improve your relationships? Would you like to learn how to have deeper connections with the people in your life?
Here are seven key things you need to remember:
1. Learn the Art of Listening
They call listening an art because it takes more than just hearing a person for it to count as listening.
When you listen effectively, you watch body language and pay attention to not only the words but also the tone of voice. These can all help you tune into the emotions behind the words.
You want to listen with a goal of understanding the other person. Don’t listen selectively — as in listening only for information that’s pertinent to you — but listen to everything they’re saying.
In order for someone to feel heard, you need to emit body language that proves you are listening. Make eye contact. Don’t try to do something while you are listening. Instead, give them your undivided attention.
When they are done speaking, repeat back to them the main ideas you got from their words. This will not only let them know that you heard what they were saying, but it’ll ensure you didn’t have any misinterpretation of their thoughts.
When people know that you will listen to them, they won’t hesitate to go to you with their thoughts and concerns. You will build trust with them, and your relationship will grow.
2. Find the Common Interest
No matter how small, there is something you have in common in every person on this planet. It’s your job to find that common interest.
Once you find that thing that connects the two of you, build on that to create a bond that you can call a friendship. Over time, your one small connection can multiply to numerous shared interests, often due to the first connection you made.
3. Don’t Find the Time, Make the Time
Life is busy, and if you wait for time to spend with others, it will never come. You must be proactive if you want to spend time with those in your life who are important to you.
Ever said, “Hey, we should get together sometime!” to someone?
Have you ever followed through on that?
What if you instead said, “Hey, I have lunch free on Wednesday. Would you like to join me at noon at our favorite spot?”
Unless your invited guest had prior arrangements, you’ll have a much better chance of having time together if you set a time and place from the get-go.
Basically, you can’t hope for time to pop up. You have to make spending time with people a priority. You can’t build relationships without it.
4. Be Positive but Genuine
Happy, positive people attract others. No one enjoys spending their days thinking about all the gloom and doom in the world. When you spend time with someone who can always spot the silver lining, you also get better at seeing the sunny side.
However, you don’t want to have someone shove happiness down your throat. Just as much as genuinely positive people attract others, fake people don’t. Even if you are a good actor, people’s intuitions are pretty good at spotting a fake.
So don’t overdo your positivity, but be a source of strength by identifying the good and the bad in any situation, but focusing on the good.
People will enjoy your view on the world and take comfort in looking at things through your viewpoint.
5. Be Generous
Most people think they are being generous by writing a check.
But, while monetary contributions are certainly a noble gesture (and can make you feel good), they won’t always help you build relationships.
The kind of generosity that builds relationships involves giving more than money. You can be generous with compliments, effort, and your time.
These types of generosity will turn the good feelings back on the person receiving your generosity. People feel special when you give them time and effort.
When you stop and compliment others on their accomplishments, they know that you appreciate and notice their efforts.
And when it comes to generosity, don’t wait to be asked. Look for the need or opportunity to give it and follow through. This type of unexpected generosity is what really touches people’s hearts.
6. Admit Your Mistakes
It can be hard to admit your mistakes. It can be even harder to admit them before others call you out.
If you really want to strengthen your relationships, say that you are sorry before you are asked to do so.
When you notice that a certain thing you said stung, or that you let someone down, they might not come to you with a complaint, but you still know how they feel. It was evident in their demeanor.
When you apologize, explain what you did wrong. Let the other party know that you aren’t just aware of the hurt, but that you were the cause of it. Ask them what you can do to make things right or just take the initiative and fix it on your own.
Don’t ever say, “I’m sorry, but …” This turns the blame around to the other person. Take full responsibility for everything you did, and do what you can to repair the situation.
7. Set and Manage Boundaries
No relationships will thrive without proper boundaries. You must set and manage social boundaries to keep yourself and others happy and comfortable.
These boundaries will ensure that resentment doesn’t grow in the relationship.
If the relationship is business-oriented, you should have set times and manners of contact that are allowed. If the relationship is personal, you both need to let your desired boundaries be known and validated.
With healthy boundaries in place, you’ll have healthier relationships.
The relationships that we have in our lives, whether professional or personal, really shape everything else. The people we love and we work with can all add value to our day.
If you want a better life, you should strive to have better relationships. These seven helpful reminders are important to keep in the forefront of your mind when meeting new people and spending time with those you already know.
Caitlin Sinclair is the business manager at Broadstone Vintage Park, a luxury apartment community in Houston.