Relationships are important and can make or break us. Here are a few tips that can ensure success in your relationships. I am talking specifically about non-marital relationships, although some of these can apply in marriage too.
1. You are equal. All men are created equal, in humanity. No one is superior to another person in their humanity, self worth, importance, and God’s love for them. Remembering this will keep you humble in the face of wanting to feel superior to another. Remembering that everyone is equal will also prevent you from feeling inferior to another person and accepting ill-treatment from people who think that they are superior to you.
2. Do not cast your pearls before swine. Do not continue to invest in a relationship market that is tanking. What does this mean? Do not chase after people who do not see your worth, either in friendship or in business. Do not invest all your time and energy trying to convince someone to marry you, be your friend, be a client, or a business partner.
3. Love yourself. You teach people to treat you, by the way you treat you. Act with dignity. Do not be a careless with your time, energy, and affection. Treat yourself with respect. Be kind to yourself. As you love yourself, you will be better equipped to love others and receive true to love from others.
4. Listen. Cultivate the habit of being a good listener. Do not interrupt, play on your phone, look away, look expressionless, or act bored. Look the other person in the eyes; wait until they finish speaking; put your phone away; mirror their gestures; give feedback (“yeah”, “Mmhmm”, “I see”). Respond respectfully, even if you do not agree.
5. Define your relationships. Not every one you know is a friend. Some people are acquaintances. Some are mentors. Some are colleagues. Some are business partners. Some are connectors. Become skilled at knowing who is who in your life, so that you do not make undue and unfair demands on someone that you think is a friend, but in actual fact is just a really nice colleague. Remember this: your relationships can make or break you, and the people that you allow in your life can be key to your success or failure. Be intentional about your relationships and cultivate good ones, while maintaining your dignity and self-esteem.
What lessons have you learned about relationships?