Relationship Building Skills

Instructor: Karin Gonzalez

Karin has taught middle and high school Health and has a master's degree in social work.

In this lesson, you will learn the definition of relationship and why relationship building is so important. You will review the qualities of close relationships, and become versed with ten relationship building skills that will assist you in establishing and strengthening personal and professional relationships.

Why Are Relationships Important?

Studies have shown that having close relationships with others boosts our level of happiness, satisfaction with life, and emotional and physical health. In fact, having consistent close relationships has a higher correlation with happiness and well-being than acquirement of money and material objects. Relationships also help us grow as individuals, receive support to achieve goals, and expand our knowledge of the world. A relationship is a state of being connected to another by blood, love, marriage, behavior, and/or emotion. Close relationships require the following characteristics:

  • Reciprocal understanding
  • Care
  • Safety
  • Pleasure
  • Availability to help in an emergency
  • Affirmation of self-worth
  • A source of ideas and opinions to help us grow
  • Celebration of good times
  • Ability to love and be loved

A close relationship encompasses helping each other in times of need to fun and celebration of good times.
Close relationships

Now that the value of having close relationships is evident, it is no wonder that countless articles, classes, and workshops are dedicated to learning the art of personal and work-related relationship building. Relationship building is a skill that is well worth the investment of time it takes to learn and put into practice.

Relationship Building Skills

Before putting relationship building skills into action, it's important to overcome any unconscious fears of rejection. Fear of rejection is normal because we want to feel loved and accepted by others. But this fear can prevent us from even taking that first important step to initiate meaningful relationships. It is after you've conquered this fear of rejection that you can put into practice the following relationship building skills:

Put The Focus on Others

People love sharing their feelings, opinions, interests, activities and passions with others. Asking open-ended questions is a great way to build relationships because it shows others that you have interest and care in them. It also demonstrates modesty on your part, a highly-valued trait.

Refrain from Demonstrating Judgement

If you are Christian, and a new colleague tells you that she is Muslim, abstain from judgment. Instead, become interested in their religion, and look at it as an opportunity to learn from them and grow as a person. Ask them respectable and appropriate questions to gain more knowledge. See the world as a more colorful and interesting place because of people's differences. This mentality will help you build new relationships with practically anyone.

Behave Genuinely

If you do not honestly care about someone, even after trying, it may be in your best interest to cease pursuit of a relationship with this person. Being genuinely interested in and liking someone is the foundation of establishing a good relationship with them. Attempts to mask your dislike will eventually be unveiled, even if it's through subconscious behaviors on your part.

Actively Listen

Too often, people fail to actively listen due to distractions of a cell phone or thoughts of something else. Active listening requires that you be completely present and focused on what another is saying. To take active listening a step further, paraphrase the person's feelings and needs, to let them know that you are understanding and fully paying attention to them.

The wisest individuals listen and learn more than they talk.

Remain Present

How often do people multitask when spending time together? Multitasking is an urge that people feel because of the busyness of our world. We have a compulsion to keep up with the demands of our busy lives. But when we avoid distractions, and take time to slow down when we are with our loved ones, we are placing a priority on being with others instead of constantly doing, doing, doing.

Go the Extra Mile

Forget the mile; just taking an extra step to surprise someone, and show them that you were thinking about them, can be a building block towards a stronger relationship. It can be bringing them their favorite coffee, or writing them a note to tell them how much you appreciate them in your life. Make a list of people of which you'd like a stronger relationship, and pick a person to do a little something extra for each day.

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