Building Relationships
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Building Relationships

Sometimes it is difficult to make connections with other people.  Here are some tips to help in the process:

  1. It’s not all about you! When you are only thinking about how lonely you are feeling or how much you need the other person, you will likely not develop the intimacy that you crave.
  2. Other people cannot make you happy. Happiness is a choice, and you need to take responsibility to embrace it for yourself.  Pressure on the other person without investing personal effort can be fruitless.
  3. Find common interests. If you want a new relationship, try looking for that in places where your own interests can be pursued.  A library, volunteer hours or club membership will help you to seek and find like-minded individuals.
  4. Try entering the world of the other person once in awhile. Whatever interests they have can become an interest for you if you are open-minded.  Even if you decide not to continue in this endeavor, you will have expanded your knowledge.
  5. Think about what the other person needs. I remember years ago when a man was trying to woo his love interest with trips to foreign lands.  I pointed out the fact that she was struggling financially, and he captured her heart by delivering some groceries to her door. 
  6. Remember your manners. This week I had a meeting in a high school and was so impressed when a young man held the door for me.  I was rewarded with his smile when I remarked “Aw a gentleman.  Thank you!”
  7. Pretend that you live alone. Often family members argue over household chores and waste more time than it would have taken to actually do the chores.  Because I live alone, I know who made the mess and who is going to clean it up!  Saves time and doesn’t require any discussion or conflict!
  8. Spread joy. I love walking along the lake here and stopping to talk with others who are walking.  Congratulating the parents of the two-week-old baby, encouraging the senior who is walking to gain strength after stroke or cheering a young fellow on his skateboard all add flavor to the lives of others and provide me with positive casual interactions.
  9. Give skills unconditionally. Many are surprised and might even feel guilty when you offer to help them do things that are easy for you but difficult for them.  This act of kindness, however, is a good way to build trust and friendship.
  10. Become your own best friend. Think about and practice the things that nurture your body and make your soul sing.  Having a healthy routine that is filled with rest, nutrition and laughter leads to good health and contentment.

Relationships come in different levels of intimacy.  Some people offer casual acquaintance.  Others provide friendship.  Some offer deep love and support.  And don’t forget to work on the relationship that you have with yourself.  After all, there isn’t anyone else with whom you will spend more time over the years!

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