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Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.

Nelson Mandela

Life Coaching..
Building Focus, Energy & Courage - to Make a Better Life for You

Relationships &
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 they are.

    1. 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) sleep in!
    2. 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!
    3. 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.
    4. Be friendly and helpful. Positive actions release positive emotions which in turn release positive ‘happy’ hormones.
    5. 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.
    6. 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!
    7. 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 nothing!
    8. 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!)
    9. 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!
    10. 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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