Whether you are looking to strengthen your friendships in life or to improve your communication skills with others generally, then these five points will be relevant for you. We all want to have great communication skills and to make the most of our time with those we care about. However, sometimes we can forget the key skills needed to achieve this. Therefore, it is good to refresh yourself with the basics to see if there are areas that can be improved upon and developed. If anything, these tips will hopefully boost your relationship skills and your awareness of what makes a great friendship or relationship work and last in the long run.
Communication is a key factor for sustaining any friendship or relationship. It is not only the way in which you learn about another person’s likes and dislikes, it is the way in which you express yourself to them as well. This component of expression implies an element of sharing and interestingly, the Latin word for ‘communication’ means ‘to share’.
If you are looking to refresh your communication skills with your partner or a friend, start by thinking about their passions in life and their hobbies or interests. Then start by talking about this subject with them. Showing an interest in your friend’s hobby will show them that you are caring, have empathy and that you are genuinely interested in their opinion on the subject too. Next, consider taking them along to an event involving their hobby. Perhaps they really like a specific band and you can get them tickets to see this band live, or maybe they enjoy painting and you can both go along to an art class.
Communication is the basis for all great relationships and that is why it is placed at number one in this article in terms of its importance. One could class communication into two broad categories of ‘verbal communication’ and ‘non-verbal communication’. The verbal element means speaking and expressing your feelings to the other person. Try to always be clear with your friend or partner as to how you are feeling, and your relationship will benefit greatly from this increased level of openness.
In terms of non-verbal actions, physical contact such as a hug or kiss would be included in this category. Similarly, physical gesturing using expressive body language such as your hands and arms as well as making and sustaining eye contact would be classed as non-verbal forms of communication. Using a combination of both in a relationship will help to strengthen your bond as a couple. Whereas in a friendship, verbal communication and your conversation skills should be your primary area to develop.
Communication also includes staying in touch. So when it comes to friendships or your significant other, putting effort in on both sides is very important to make sure that the channels of communication remain open. Send text messages or even postcards when you go on holiday to your best friends. This active sense of participation on your part shows that you are thinking of them and this in turn will make them feel special and cared for by you.
Appreciation leads on from communication because it is the way in which you show that you care about the other person. In terms of your friendships, perhaps this could be demonstrated by presenting them with a small and thoughtful gift or in a text message on their birthday. Within a relationship perhaps this means cooking a romantic dinner just ‘because’ you feel like it. However, appreciation is more than this because it should extend to more mundane tasks such as washing the dishes or even doing the ironing for the other person. Driving them somewhere or giving them a lift to an event is also a genuine act of kindness and shows that you care about your friend or partner. Appreciation is about showing a level of gratitude and thankfulness to the other person that can range from very small acts to larger and more grand gestures of appreciation.
Try to mention to your friend or partner that you appreciate them verbally first. This is the first place to start because you are expressing your feelings in an open and honest manner. Gestures of good will and kindness should also go a long way too. Sometimes however, it is simply a case of being there physically for the other person when they need you and in being a good listener. They may wish to express their thoughts and opinions to you and this is where you have to appreciate and respect their perspective. This leads us on to point number three which is intrinsically connected to appreciation.
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Respect is a critical factor in any relationship, from friendships right through to its existence within a successful marriage. Respect should encompass appreciation and good communication skills combined. However, having respect for someone also extends to their belongings. Treat your friend’s car or home as if it were your own. This mentality will help to ensure that you are cautious and show consideration towards your friend’s personal possessions.
Respect also means appreciating the other persons opinion and in not being argumentative towards them. Holding them in esteem or high regard is also part of respect, but this works both ways in any great friendship or relationship too. Respect is also something that can be earned by both parties involved. Going above and beyond the call of duty is a way to demonstrate your respect and care for the other person.
It is important in any relationship to know how to have fun together. Sharing laughter and good times will strengthen your bond and give you happy memories to look back on. Try not to take yourself or life too seriously and you will be able to let go more and enjoy life to the fullest.
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Laughter is part of social interactions and displays your mood and feelings to the other person. Laughter produces feel good endorphins into your system too and everyone wants to feel good about themselves at the end of the day. If you have shared in that feeling of happiness with your friend or partner through laughter then this will help to reconnect you and to lighten both the mood and atmosphere. Try telling each other stories or laugh about your most embarrassing moments together.
Lastly I wish to include the idea of honesty. In any friendship or relationship you need to be true to yourself and your own feelings first and foremost. This is a reflection of your personal sense of integrity and your moral character as well. If you are feeling unsure of anything then use your communication skills to get that message across to your partner or friend.
Equally, when you are pleased, happy or feeling content, it is a great time to reach out and express that emotion to your partner in a verbal or non-verbal manner. Being truthful and kind could also come under the umbrella of honesty too. Honesty implies respect for the other person as well as yourself. So display a straightforward and open attitude towards others and you will be rewarded with respect and hopefully the same honesty in return for your actions.
If you are looking for a quick refresher on what makes a great relationship or friendship last in the long run then I hope that these tips have given you some helpful pointers.