Ten Tips for Relationships that Work

Often, when we talk about relationships, we refer to romantic partners, but there are many other types of relationships in our lives that we must nurture. To be happy, we don’t just need relationships in our life, we need relationships that work. Here are ten tips for relationships that work that come from a survey of over 1,000 peer-reviewed research studies.

1) Manage conflict. Ignoring a problem doesn’t make it go away. Figure out a way to move through conflict such as accepting, agreeing to disagree, compromising, or apologizing.

2) Help each other. Sharing work builds relationships. Lend your time and talents to the relationship; pitch in and help.

3) Soothe stress. When people are stressed, they are not at their best. This can make things even worse on top of the stress. Find ways to soothe stressed people you care about. This can be as simple as saying, “I know you have a lot of stressful things going on right now, would you like to get a drink and talk?”

4) Be generous. Those random acts of kindness can mean everything in our relationships. Be generous without thought to being repaid. This can look like picking up the tab for coffee, giving a small gift, or performing an act of service.

5) Show gratitude. Be grateful and show it — say thank you. Tell the person why you appreciate them.

6) Pray for them. While people of faith usually only need to be reminded to pray for the people in their lives, for people who don’t believe, it might look more like mindfully and compassionately thinking about them.

7) Communicate, communicate, communicate. Keep lines of communication open and resolve barriers to communication. Don’t let things get in the way of clear, consistent communication.

8) Respond to each other. Being there for the other person is so important. Don’t ignore calls and texts, when you’re together put down the devices and really focus on the other person.

9) Use humor. Who doesn’t love funny? Humor can bring people together and cement the bond. Just ask anyone who’s ever had an inside joke with someone that they’re still laughing about years later. Just remember that there’s a dark side to humor that can strain relationships; sarcasm and mocking should be avoided and if used, only carefully.

10) Do fun things together. Everybody wins.

While these tips offer a basic starting point for DIY relationship strengthening, if your relationship(s) need more help than this, please reach out. Talking to a therapist can make a world of difference. You don’t have to figure it out alone.

Reference: Luscombe, B. (2017, September 17). A Guy Read 50 Years Worth of Relationship Studies. He Came Up With 17 Strategies. Time. Retrieved from http://time.com/4927173/relationships-strategies-studies/

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