How to Create
Successful Relationships

Happy family enjoying a meal

Successful relationships are an important, even vital, part of our lives.  We are happiest when we experience the giving and receiving of love, care, and acknowledgement with another person.

But it is easy to take relationships for granted.  We slip into a routine with the people in our lives, making assumptions that they will provide what we need from them.  We may even forget to reciprocate or show appreciation for them.

Relationships require work, focus, and determination.  When you notice the "routine" phase, do something to shake things up.

Here are six suggestions for strengthening and creating successful relationships.

Call—Just Because

When you think about a person, instead of saying, “I should call them,” actually call them.

You may be tempted to text, but texting is not the same as calling.  There is power in hearing each other’s voices.  It can strengthen the connection you've had throughout your relationship. 

Even if you have to leave a message, just making the call shows thoughtfulness and caring.

Invite—Because it has been a While

Everyone is busy.  We are in a constant whirlwind of work and family life. 

But there's nothing like a visit with someone you care about to refuel and recharge you.  The most successful relationships are those fueled by quality time together.

So go ahead and invite your friend, loved one, or partner to share some time.  It doesn’t have to be a big deal.  Invite them for coffee, a casual meal, or a walk.

Write—Because No One Writes

Lets face it, while we write all the time in texts and in emails, we do not actually write to people in our own handwriting very much (if at all) anymore.

History buffs express an important concern about the lack of written communication.  It seems that handwritten letters are more likely to be saved than emails.

Handwritten letters get tucked away in a book, saved in a special place, and protected while emails and texts, though archived in many ways, seem to hold little importance. 

Email accounts are closed, changed, or abandoned with new jobs, service provider switches, or when people pass away.  These occurrences usually cause the loss of their written communications. 

A handwritten letter or note may quite possibly be the single most valuable thing you could give someone because they are so rare these days.  A letter is such a unique item that it will have special significance right from the start.

Give—Because Everyone Loves a Surprise

When we think of gifts between friends, we sometimes think of awkward moments and the creation of reciprocal obligations that make us shy away from giving things to those we care about.

Gifts do not have to be expensive, awkward, or reciprocal.  Gifts can be simple offerings that say "I was thinking about you," "I know you," and "You are special to me."

A friend gave me a Sigmund Freud action figure once because he saw it somewhere when he was traveling and thought I would get a kick out of it.  I still have it, and when I see it, I think of my friend and the laugh we had about it.

It has been many years since the gift was given, but it is still giving to me today.

Affirm—Because Folks Can Never Get Enough

There are many things in this world to tear us down.  Our egos are eroded and challenged daily by news of world and community events, stresses at work, and both small and large indignities endured daily from rude customers, reckless drivers, and insensitive people.

There is a saying that "it takes three positives to make up for one negative."  This may not be scientific, but it seems practical.   

Negatives tend to stick out more for folks than positives, so in today’s environment, we need as many sincere positive messages as we can get.

Let the people in your life know you appreciate them and why.  Make positive statements and give them compliments liberally and sincerely.

Turn Off Your Phone—Because Telephones Are Not People

Technology is supposed to make our lives easier and more carefree.  Yet it has actually created a condition where we rarely, if ever, unplug. 

We go everywhere with our smart phones and sometimes pay more attention to them than the people around us.  This can severely impact even the most successful relationships.

While on a cruise with my family, it took me a couple of days to figure out what I liked so much about it (other than the food and close proximity to Mickey Mouse).  It was the lack of cell phones. 

My kids were talking to me because their phones didn’t work.  I relaxed because my Blackberry wasn’t blinking, vibrating, or otherwise tempting me to check in with work. 

Technology takes over our lives insidiously.  And it happens so gradually we hardly notice.  It took being at sea for days without cell service for me to understand how much our phones had monopolized our family time.

Now, when someone in our family notices that we are together but focused on our phones and not each other, everyone is now free to say “We are on a cruise ship.”  This is a wonderful signal that we need to put away our phones and focus on each other.

Use these six suggestions for maintaining your successful relationships, or for strengthening relationships you don't want to lose.  One of the greatest treasures we have is our connection to other people.

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