Relationships are essential if you want to live your life to the fullest. In fact, relationships should be your top priority. That’s why we all need to learn how to build good relationships. Good relationships not only help us meet our needs but also make our life more fulfilling.

One way to build good relationships is by learning their characteristics. By understanding their characteristics, we will be better equipped to build good relationships in our lives.

Good relationshipsHere I use the term “relationships” in its broad meaning. Why? Because the principles of good relationships are universal. They apply not only to romantic relationships, but also to friendship and business relationships.

If you look at the points below, you will see an underlying characteristic of good relationships. Good relationships involve “both sides”. While one side can take initiative, it still requires the other side to make the relationship a good one. Only by working together can a relationship reach its full potential.

Without further ado, here are seven characteristics of good relationships:

1. Both sides see the relationship as an opportunity to give

One of the basic relationship problems is selfishness. How does selfishness occur? In my opinion, selfishness occurs when someone focuses more on getting rather than giving. The more someone focuses on getting, the more selfish he or she becomes. That’s why the willingness to give is essential for good relationships. Both parties should see the relationship as an opportunity to give. This is the foundation upon which the other points below are built.

2. Both sides are willing to change

Nobody is perfect but everyone can grow. In a good relationship, both sides are willing to change. They realize that they are not perfect and there is still a lot of room for improvement. Instead of blaming their partner when something goes wrong, they look inside to see if there is something they can change. When both sides have this attitude, the relationship grows stronger and stronger.

3. Both sides are willing to admit mistakes

In a good relationship, both parties aren’t afraid to admit mistakes. Instead of being defensive, they openly admit the mistakes they make. They can then work together to correct the mistakes. This, of course, is not easy to do. It takes a humble heart to admit mistakes.

4. Both sides are willing to listen first

In a good relationship, both sides are good listeners. They are willing to understand their partner’s position first before trying to get understood. Doing this is much easier when both sides see the relationship as an opportunity to give (characteristic #1).

5. Both sides support each other

Not only are both sides willing to listen, but also they give what their partner needs. The law of reciprocity states that when we do good to others they will also do good to us. We reap what we sow. By supporting each other, both sides in the relationship get what they need.

6. Both sides are open to each other

Misunderstanding is one of the basic relationship problems. That’s why it’s essential that both sides are open to each other. When they have something they don’t like about their partner, they should communicate it rather than just keeping it in their heart. Of course, they should do so in a respectful way so as not to offend their partner. Part four of How to Win Friends and Influence People (which I review last week) gives us tips on how to do that.

7. Both sides have integrity

In a good relationship, both parties act in line with what they think and say. They keep their promises. This is important because they can then trust each other. This trust makes the relationship strong.


Relationships that have these characteristics will grow stronger over time. The relationships will be rewarding not just for the people involved, but also for the people around them. Why? Because by working together they can produce more value than they can ever do by themselves. People around them will get the benefit of this increased value.

Now that we’ve seen some characteristics of good relationships, what should we do? How can we build good relationships? The answer is we should start with ourselves. It’s difficult to change someone else, but we can always change ourselves. Start applying the characteristics above in your life. If you do that, people who relate with you will notice and eventually do the same to you.

Looking at the above points, here are what you should do:

  1. See the relationship as an opportunity to give
  2. Be willing to change
  3. Be willing to admit your mistakes
  4. Listen first
  5. Support your partner
  6. Be open to your partner
  7. Have integrity

If you do them, you will be a good relationship builder.

This article is part of August 2008 theme: Relationships

Photo by …” ?” ¡?µ?

Categories: Relationship

Please use your real name and note that I reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments.

  • Donald Latumahina

    Yes, one-sided relationship could cause a lot of problems. It’s definitely not a good relationship.
    It’s nice to know that you even wrote an e-book about it. Thanks for the information!

  • janelle

    Great advice, Donald. Personally, I know that relationships are definitely a challenge. Any good relationship takes time, patience and understanding. Most of all, good communication is absolutely essential. If two people are in a relationship and are helping the other to grow in a positive way, then you know you’re golden :)

  • Donald Latumahina


    Any good relationship takes time, patience and understanding.

    I agree completely. I guess that’s why it’s difficult to build good relationships :)

    Most of all, good communication is absolutely essential.

    Again, I agree with you. Good communication can solve a lot of problems. Bad communication, on the other hand, can cause a lot of problems.

  • GreatManagement

    Very effective post, Donald. Simply excellent.

    My wife and I (married for 24 years) recently started to learn ballroom and latin dancing. Our relationship has been ‘put to the test’ during this time and we have come throught it.


    Supporting and listening to each other!


  • Donald Latumahina

    It’s great that you have passed the “test”. Supporting and listening are easier said than done, but you and your wife make it!

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    • Kaushik Parla

      Will you Help me..! I have a some small problem

  • Aesthetic Thoughts

    I found these 7 tips very refreshing for me. Thank you :)

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  • axel g

    That’s beautiful!

    Successful relationships call for selflessness and consideration…

  • Lorie

    Wow. Reading this has literally changed my life. I am a young widow. My husband died from a very sudden cardiac arrest despite being healthy, fit, and active. I’ve had one relationship since his death with a man who has treated me horribly. I think I’ve allowed that treatment because that pain was less than feeling the pain of my husband’s death. I had a wonderful relationship with my husband. I really needed to be reminded of what a good relationship is like. I should know already because I had one, but the pain is so heavy that it doesn’t leave room for anything else.

    From my heart, thank you!

    • Ellie Batdorf

      I feel your pain and I understand how you feel. I went through that after my husband died of cancer. You deserve the kind of treatment of common respect and curtisy!!! If a man needs thinks to be explained to him to understand, tell him to check out this site, open his mind. If you can do that perhaps the heart will follow. If not don’t waste your time unless you think it is worth the time????Goodluck hope to hear from you!

  • samcooper

    I remember the quote that says “NO MAN IS AN ISLAND”
    we are meant to create and have relationships with other people. whether it be a relationship with our family members, friends, partner or even connections with other people.

    But its not just about creating a relationship. but its about having a meaningful relationship. and the points and list that you outlines in here are great and simple ways we can develp our “ideal relationship with other people.

    Thanks for the advice.

  • Conceição.

    Hello people, i am from Brazil and i love to talk to american people and who ever speaks english.

    I loved what i read, but other important point should be foccus is “respect”. When it has respectful in a relationship everything works.

    I liked this:”Misunderstanding is one of the basic relationship problems”.
    Many relationship doesnt work because people becomes afraid to say what they think about other person and most of time they becomes upset and the relationship starts not work.

    I loved the adives,thanks!

  • ashley

    I think that was a good view on how relationships should be and I totally agree with you.

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  • Debbie Scott

    Good advice–if both partners are reasonably healthy, neurotic as opposed to personality disordered. But giving can sometimes be just one way, and to give doesn’t necessarily mean the other will give back.

  • ganeshkumarkunta

    good relationships with 7 characterstics is very good,these characterstics apply to our lives,we can get good results

  • isabel

    its intresting to be in arelationship coz u get to know what is gud or bad 4 both of u and as u grow naturary in lv 2gether.BUT in difficulties u have learn how to solve ure problems and admit,say the truth to save. then live 2gether in happines.(true luv waints).

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  • codi

    I have been with my boyfriend for over a year and we lack communication mostly. And also, i agree with what you have here entirely. Especially where you say “misunderstanding is one of the basic relationship problems.” Sometimes we both take things the wrong way. I have learned thus far that if your partner says or does something that upsets you do not hold it in because it will eat at you. So you always need to ask your partner about it and almost 99% of the time it makes you feel completely better just talking about it. Another main factor in relationships is Respect. If you do not have respect for your partner then you will surely do things that hurt them because you simply will not care. Another thing i have noticed is.. A lot of couples struggle with making assumptions. if you trust your partner that they would never do anything to hurt you-you should not be making assumptions. You can not have a relationship in my opinion, with somebody you can not trust. These are just things i have noticed in my own personal relationship. Hope i helped!

    Codi :)

  • Tamal

    The article you have written is really excellent. It is true that there are many articles like this online. But this site really attracted me. Many nice articles are here. I would come back again. Keep writing posts like this…

  • Moreo mmalerato

    the 7 chacteristics will realy help me a lot,because da big problems iv cm across in my relationship is misinterpriting things,lack trust to my partner,and i truly beleive dat trust is something very fregile,if its breaks,it will never be builded again. Thanks a lot

  • angel

    Donald, great article but im confused on the “give” part. What is giving in a relationship?

  • Marcelina Hardy

    Yes, I was just writing a blog on my site about this and looking for some reference material for it and came across this post. A healthy relationship does have to do with flexibility on each partner. It has to do with being open with each, supportive and willing to change. Thanks for the reference!

  • Angelia

    very good

  • ANas

    OHH thank you so much dear ! now i can make a good relationship whit my partner and also to creat a real love

  • JOSEPH from Nigeria

    This is really helpful, it will help me improve on my relationship. Also its a good material for teaching, thanks.

  • Fickson Gaboduelwe

    great view I like the idea cause it will help improve our relationship

  • mark

    …yeah ,,its great because it can build a good relationship..

  • cole margaret

    i am from Nigeria,but am aving a little problem with my guy,he doesn’t cal me regularly,he makes me feel as if he doesn’t have me in mind.d first time we met,he told me he attends a church,but i later found out that,he is a muslim and am a christian,he neither goes to church nor mosque,am tired,please what can i do?

  • Katy

    they help each others and live and care each others and doesnt get angry or jealous about you. good relationships are healthy as long as you agree withTHEM!!!!!!!1

  • Vuyelwa

    If u dnt believe in each other so hw does it affects relationship

    • Annabel Manalo

      Yes…. its a very good tips, to minimize broken hearts and broken homes

  • Sunny

    My understanding of a relationship is now enhance as a result of these points thanks. These 7 points are just awesome. Any relationship that have these 7 things plus respect is built for success. And can go to any length with that it.

  • Le Hung

    You know, i must say that this is a very useful post. Me, you and everybody around here need to learn about it! And to me, i can see the most important thing in a relationship to everybody, is to be honest to each other, no lies! If you lie, there will be no more relationship, no matter that is a relationship with a woman or a man!

  • Jayla Baxter

    I suppose these steps could work for a long-distance relationship..

  • Gaby

    Codi dear i agree with you misunderstandings n lack of goog communication are the common factor that destroy a relationship most of the time we should all try and learn to apply good communication skills,

  • Zibesh

    so interesting the reason I searched 4 advice like this is because I think I’m in a relationship yet I have completely forgotten what a healthy relationship feels like or how it should be. I was pregnant last year and the my bf decided to break up with me on the 4th of February 2012.

    I went through the pregnancy alone if it were not for my parents support I don’t know what would have happened in August 2012 he wanted to reconcile I said ok in December I discovered he was staying with another girl and want to get out of this setup, in January 2013 he said we should go to couselling together, I’m not sure anymore but all I can tell you is I’m so lonely and don’t feel loved I’m in a cold relationship.

  • Sudheer

    Now a days there is no human good relations in our society.personally i have experienced thats why i am telling like this.we should must trust our parents,brothers,systers nd relatives only.don’t trust other people

  • nkululeko sibanda

    There is compromise in a gud relationship. It is not all about me. Since we are unique individuals we are likely to see things differently. I think people should persuade people accept their views than oppose their will on their spouses.

  • Kaushik Parla

    I have a lot of problem plz….!

    Life is going with lonely

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