3 Ways to Improve your relationships
Updated: Jan 21
Humans thrive on social capital.
We’re social beings and as part of human nature, we crave relationships and personal connection.
Social capital is derived from the relationships that we have and the depth of those relationships.
It’s an invaluable asset, can significantly increase personal fulfillment levels, and instrumental in supporting the personal and professional pillars of our lives.
While opportunities for human connection have evolved during COVID-19, the need for building and growing our virtual and in-person relationships continue to remain the same.
What could deeper social capital mean for you in your personal and professional life?
Below are 3 tips to help you improve your relationships across all aspects of your life. These are ways to go beyond the surface level while adding empathy and presence as a core-tenets in building meaningful connections.
1. Have Powerful and Bold Conversations
Your relationship is only as strong as the powerful conversations you’re willing to have.
Let that sink in for a second.
Now shift your focus to your personal and professional relationships.
How many times have you avoided an uncomfortable topic? How did that impact the social capital of that relationship?
Going from surface level to deep and meaningful requires courage and leaning into discomfort.
Personally - what happens when you’re not willing to express an uncomfortable thought with a partner or close friend?
Professionally - how does your working relationship continue to grow if you’re not willing to ask for feedback, manage up, address challenging working styles, or other workplace issues?
If you really want to take a relationship to the next level and increase your trust and bond with a significant other, partner, colleague, manager, etc., be willing to have a bold and powerful conversation, especially with more challenging topics.
Leaning into that space will feel uncomfortable. The hardest conversations always do. But imagine what gets unlocked and what possibilities get created when you do get fierce.
2. Practice Active Listening
Undoubtedly, one of the best coaching skills I picked up from my coaching training and career has been a deep dive into active listening.
It’s centered around seeing the unsaid and hearing the unheard.
You’re watching for body language, listening for tone of voice, and dancing back and forth in the moment of a conversation to empathize, acknowledge, and empower another person to be heard.
While the ability to actively listen is a muscle most people have to develop, it can improve professional and personal relationships in several ways:
1. It allows the other person or people in a conversation to feel heard, ultimately building trust and connection
2. It will increase your ability to ‘wear someone else’s shoes’ and embrace other perspectives on different topics
3. You will be able to convey an authentic interest in the speaker by understanding a speakers point of view
4. Regurgitating what’s been said and even acknowledging vulnerable topics can also increase your ability to show empathy
Listening builds deep and positive relationships. It results in fewer arguments and more openness to incorporate other viewpoints while reducing the threat of having one’s ideas criticized. Simultaneously, it also allows other people to feel like their contributions are worthy.
3. Make Time for your Relationship
When it comes to personal and professional relationships and building your social capital, one theme holds true.
You’re either willing to make time for those relationships, or you’re not.
While this tip is the simplest of the three in this list, it could arguably require the most amount of effort. The relationships in your life only grow as a direct correlation to the time you’re willing to put into them.
If that means additional (virtual) coffee chats or time spent with phones down with a friend, mentor, manager, or significant other, then give it a shot to be fully present to create additional experiences together and to deepen the relationship.
The result — and being present — can be the differentiator in creating social capital that can empower the multiple aspects of your life.
As we continue to press into the fall and winter months, consider these tips for building your own personal social capital.
Whether it be powerful conversations, active listening, or simply making time for those in your life, there are a number of ways to deepen your relationships and fulfill the personal connections that we crave and that can lift us up in life.
Want to learn more about how to have powerful conversations, build your active listening muscle, or learn to be more present in your life? Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and check out maxlinkoff.com for more information on other #personaldevelopment and #professionaldevelopment topics.