How To Improve Them
Ten Tips for Making More of Your Friendships
Human relationships have the capability of being the
most fulfilling part of our lives as well as the most heart breaking.
But whether the people you deal with day to day are business colleagues,
parents at the school gate, or your nearest and dearest, the following
tips will certainly add quality to your interactions at whatever level
Speak to people. There is nothing as pleasant
as a cheerful word of greeting, whether that’s to the postman
or to a grumpy teenager who is at the ‘grunt only’ phase
of life. You might even raise an eyebrow or two in work. You know
the saying: I used to wake up grumpy, but now I let him (or her)
Smile at people. It takes seventy-two muscles
to frown, and only fourteen to smile. How about smiling at the harassed
person at the pay till instead of growling about the size of the
queue? Particularly the older generations remember a time when you
could smile at a stranger without having our motives questioned.
Why not revive that custom? You will be pleasantly surprised at
the response you get … I hope!
Call people by name. Music
to anyone’s ears is the sound of his/her own name. It shows
an interest in who the person is, not just a role or function they
perform. Simple but deeply meaningful.
Be friendly and helpful. Positive actions release
positive emotions which in turn release positive ‘happy’
Be pleasant. Speak and act as if everything you
do is genuinely a pleasure, and if it isn’t, learn to make
it so. The happiest people in life are those who can find pleasure
even in the most mundane tasks.
Be genuinely interested in people. You can like
almost everybody if you try. At times it may seem to take more effort
to see the positive in someone else – we tend to focus on
the negative in others all too quickly (while overlooking our own
weaknesses to about the same degree!) – but the effort will
always be rewarded by more positive relationships. People are fascinating
and each has a different story to tell of their lives – a
‘soap’ is a pale reflection of the reality!
Be generous with praise and cautious with criticism.
Trust is built slowly but can be devastated with a few ill chosen
words. But someone who is known to be an encourager is always popular.
As my granny used to say, If you’ve nothing good to say, say
Be considerate with the feelings of others.
There are usually three sides to a controversy: yours, the other
person’s, and the right one. There are some battles which
are not worth undertaking, and others which are not worth winning
… even if you are in the right. “I’m sorry”
can be the two hardest words to utter – but the most powerful.
(I know there are really three words there!)
Be ready to help others. What counts most in
life is what we do for others. This might be a new thought but if
you think about who the most admired person in history is, very
often it is someone who has spent their life on behalf of those
less fortunate. Helping others can also help us keep our own lives
in perspective – there really are so many more people worse
off in the world then we are!
Add to all of this a good sense of humour (directed
at oneself at times!), a big dose of patience and a dash of humility.
The sum total of these can only improve your relationships!
While all relationships, at whatever level, will improve from these
simple and relatively easy-to-do suggestions, others, as we all know,
can be just a bit more complicated! At times it is hard to know where
to begin and this is where coaching can help you. Your coach can guide
you to take a closer look at troublesome relationships, examine your
expectations as against the present reality, explore what belief structures
and feelings you have within those relationships, and help you decide
what your next steps might be. A huge advantage of discussing relationships
with someone you don't already know - whether that is on the phone,
by email or face to face - is that your coach is an impartial listener
and accepting sounding board. The other person cannot be changed by
coaching, but your perspective and approach can. So if you are struggling
with a particular relationship (or more!), why not get in touch today.
Written by Myra Harris,
Coach & consellor, published with permission.
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