Relationships are complex things, but following these basics will help you make your relationships healthy and strong.
When in doubt, listen first and check to see if you have understood the other person by asking them questions. Often relationships go awry when people feel they aren’t being heard or understood and sometimes it’s important just to listen. You have to know what they want, not what you think is good for them. Listening is what helps us to find connection with each other. This also means you need to tell others what you really feel, think, and want. You can’t feel connected if you don’t voice these things.
Communicate simply when it is most critical that they hear you. Get clear in your own mind what kind of outcome you would like and try to state it in the most simple and specific terms. You will more likely be understood the more clear you can be, and often that means fewer words, not more. Sometimes repetition is necessary in getting through to someone what is really important to you.
Always show respect. Respect means listening, accepting a no when you are given one, not taking them for granted, being honest in your dealings with them, and not criticizing often or discouraging them. It is also important that you do not try to control others, and just as important that you show respect to yourself and ask that they treat you the same or be willing to walk away.
Know when it isn’t a healthy relationship. Just because you care about someone doesn’t mean you should be in a relationship with them at this time. They should be good for you, not addicted to anything, not controlling or abusive in any way, and make you feel secure and happy. It is not possible to make a relationship work with someone who doesn’t care about you, or who abuses a substance or you, so don’t try.
Seek to be good for others and don’t tear them down. People like to be with those who make them feel good and who are good for them. Lighten up and have fun together and your relationship will grow.