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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.
Here 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:
- See the relationship as an opportunity to give
- Be willing to change
- Be willing to admit your mistakes
- Listen first
- Support your partner
- Be open to your partner
- Have integrity
If you do them, you will be a good relationship builder.
This article is part of August 2008 theme: Relationships
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