3 Ways To Improve Your Relationships
November 1, 2015 12:00 AM EST | 7 min read
I don’t have friends, I got family
– Dom Toretto, Furious 7
In today’s world, all it takes to start a relationship is a few button clicks on the internet and, voila, instant connection.
If this is the case, why do we feel so alone sometimes?
As social media challenges the quantity vs.
quality metric of our relationships, it is easy to feel like we are constantly pressured to have more “important” people in our life.
3 Ways To Improve Your Relationships
It’s easy to lose sight of those who matter most and forget how important they are to us.
Here are 3 tips for maintaining those relationships that matter most in life.
1. Don’t expect that all your good deeds will be reciprocated
One of the greatest habits you can develop is the idea of giving without expecting anything in return.
When you donate clothes to a homeless shelter, you don’t do it to get recognized.
You aren’t expecting to get the key to the city, or to get a “thank you” card in the mail.
You know that you’re giving a less fortunate human being a piece of clothing that’s going to keep them warm at night, and that’s an incredible feeling.
That same incredible feeling you get when you donate to the local homeless shelter can be found when you give in your relationships without expecting anything in return.
You can tell people that you love them, that they’re doing a great job, that you admire their sunglasses, or any other compliment that you can think of, simply for the sake of seeing a smile on their face.
They might not say the same thing to you, but you can find comfort in the fact that you probably just made their day.
The people you give to might not be as desperate as a homeless person.
But the fact is that everyone has needs, and everyone enjoys being noticed for the good things that they do.
You may never get any validation that you did a good thing for them.
You may never see them again during your time here on earth.
But you know that small act of reaching out can make big ripples in the great pond of life.
By reaching out to make someone’s day, you may have just caused a huge domino effect that will result in countless others being impacted in a great way.
2. Recognize your friends from your acquaintances
It’s easy to rack up hundreds and even thousands of “friends” and followers on social media.
It’s even easier to spend hours scrolling through these social mediums, browsing through the lives of people you wouldn’t even enjoy saying “hello” to on the street.
Can you just imagine for a second if you took all the time flicking the screen of your smartphone and used it instead to invest in the relationships with your true friends and family that really matter?
Do you know how much richer those relationships would be?
Don’t get me wrong; it’s great to have a bunch of relationships with a wide variety of people.
But when you start spending too much time with those people who are only acquaintances, you are taking away from your relationships that truly matter.
Not only will this make your relationships that matter much richer, but it will give you a lot more time to get the things done that you never seem to have time for.
There’s a lot of cool people out there, and it’s great to try and get to know a ton of them.
But if they don’t really spark any joy into your life, then you really need to consider if they are a friend or just an acquaintance.
3. Clean out people that don’t do anything for you
The idea of “cleaning out” your relationship closet can seem a bit harsh and scary.
We all have those people we’ve been hanging onto for way too long, but it’s hard to end the relationship because of some difficult reason (living too close to each other, long history, etc.).
It’s hard to just “break up” with people you’ve known for a long time, even though they’re that obnoxious friend that causes you to roll your eyes and groan whenever you see their name light up your phone.
The problem with these “friends” is that anytime you say yes to hang out with them, you are saying no to something that you actually want to do.
Like the social media example above, all the time you spend on people who are not vital to your life takes away from all the people that are.
The main thing that keeps people attached to you is neediness.
When people leech onto you and stick there, it’s because they struggle with a mindset of scarcity.
They aren’t willing to put themselves out there to make friends or have some difficult qualities that prevent them from making other friends.
Then on top of that, they make you feel guilty when you can’t hang out.
That is perhaps the worst feeling you associate with them, and is the single reason you get sucked into hanging out with them the next time.
Since you are a generous, kind-hearted soul, you took them in when they needed you, but now you feel stuck with them.
So how do you gently nudge them away and help them find their own path?
Maybe if you just stop asking to hang out with them, they’ll just get the hint and stop trying so hard.
Sometimes that works.
Other times, people will get in your face or try and guilt trip you.
If they try to guilt or question you when you start to break yourself away from them, that’s the time to buckle down and explain the reality of the situation and how they make you feel.
Hey man, I’ve been really struggling with our relationship recently.
It’s not what it used to be, and I feel like it’s hard for us to connect the way we used to.
You make me feel ___ (upset, bad, etc.) when you question our friendship and I feel really guilty when I can’t or don’t want to hang out with you.
I think we can both agree that’s not how a friendship should work.
For most people on earth, people come and go throughout life.
Distance creates barriers to relationships, friendships veer in different directions, and life tends to throw you a lot of curve balls.
Today I ask you to consider the relationships in your life that have survived the test of time.
The friends, family, and significant others that have been there with you through thick and thin.
Just once a day, instead of hitting that Facebook icon on your phone and flicking your screen a few times, use that time to text or call someone that you love and see how they’re doing.
This small act not only does wonders for the relationships that matter most but constantly reminds you how many people love and care for you.