Graphic by Natalie Landes
Relationships are a huge part of human interaction. They are complex connections between two people that are not easily broken. However, realistically most relationships will go through hardships with time, so it is important to know how to keep those bonds strong and untouched.
Give your undivided attention. You should always give your undivided attention to other people when they are speaking to you. By doing so, they will respect you greatly and furthermore want to talk to you and keep that relationship with you because they know that you will listen to them.
Learn to trust your friends completely. While many people have difficulties trusting others because they have been hurt in the past due to being trusting, it is critical to remember that trust is a very valuable and important component in a healthy friendship or relationship. You must learn to trust people to be able to depend on them when you need to confide in someone to receive comfort and support.
Learn how to be a good listener. This is one of the most important characteristics of a good friendship. Ideally, you want to be a friend that someone can confide in during difficult times. A person who will offer an ear and advice.
Check-in with your friends/partner. Ask them how they are doing as often as you are able to. While they may sometimes find it annoying, it gives them a chance to communicate with you and discuss any problems they have or emotions they may be feeling that are preventing them from being in a state of happiness.
Share memories. From time to time, share a favorite memory you have with your friend/partner. It will help remind them that you still think of them even when you are not physically together. This reminder will show them just how big of a role they play in your life and will make them want to keep creating memories with you for many years to come.
Hang out often. Make it a point to hang out with your friend/partner often. Although many friendships are able to thrive over text/call/FaceTime, it is critical to see your friends face-to-face as much as you are able to. Seeing your friends in person will allow for a stronger and more intimate connection, whether it be romantic or just in a friendly manner.
Share goals. Exchange personal goals you and your friend/partner have been working on and attempt to be accountability partners for each other. When you encourage your friend/partner to accomplish their goals they will be able to do the same for you in return and you both will be able to thrive and exceed your goals.
Always remember to think before you speak. Even if you are angry or frustrated, it is best to choose your words wisely because one wrong phrase could lead to the demise of your friendship/relationship and surely you would rather keep your friendship than lose it over a small argument that really isn’t as big of a deal as you may think.
Avoid constantly giving unsolicited advice to your friends. Giving advice when they ask for it is more than okay but don’t try to influence their every decision. Let your friends make their own choices. They will likely appreciate your advice, but in certain situations it is unnecessary.
Most importantly, be yourself. Don’t put on a facade. Even though it’s tempting to hide the parts of yourself you are insecure of, it will do you no good pretending to be someone you are not. Your friend/partner will appreciate that you are vulnerable with them and will hopefully reciprocate that vulnerability with you.