Healthy Relationships

How to Create and Maintain Healthy Relationships

Healthy Relationships
photo credit: TerryJohnston via photopin cc

Love or the feeling of connection is a primal need of all humans. That need is fulfilled by creating and maintaining relationships with others. To truly feel love or have a deep connection, one must create a relationship and nurture it until it turns into a prosperous and healthy relationship.

Creating relationships is easy. You create an immediate relationship with someone by making eye contact or speaking. That relationship, however, is very shallow and can vanish quickly.

Creating healthy relationships, on the other hand, takes intentional effort and desire by two parties. One person, regardless of the intention and desire to create a healthy relationship, cannot force that healthy relationship on someone else. The other person has to have the same intention and desire.

When two parties have the same desire and use that desire to perform intentional acts, a healthy relationship can form.

How many healthy relationships do you have? Do you only have healthy relationships with family? Probably not. You desire that love and connection with more than just your physical family members. How did those relationships first develop? What did you both do to grow that initial connection into a healthy relationship?

Healthy relationships in selling

You might have heard the terms of Business-to-Business (B2B) and Business-to-Consumer (B2C). These are the two forms in which businesses believe sales occur. A business can sell to another business or a business can sell direct to a consumer.

There is a newer concept to which I really relate that has been coined by Chris Ducker. He states that people want to do business P2P, or people-to-people. When you think about that term, you want to buy items from people you like and trust.

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Apple, for example, can get away with B2B and B2C because of the brand it has created and nurtured. It has built healthy relationships with its customers. Most companies, though, rely on sales people in some form or fashion. Those sales people are doing business with people.

Businesses do not make buying decisions. People within businesses make buying decisions. You and I are also more likely to buy high dollar products from sales people we know, like and trust. Those types of sales people have the knack for creating healthy relationships quickly.

Healthy relationships with co-workers

Even though we are all in inherently in sales in some manner, healthy relationships do not stop with the buying and selling situations. Instead, we want healthy relationships with our co-workers and bosses. Healthy relationships can overcome issues that arise. However, shallow relationships will evaporate quickly with the slightest issue.

A boss/employee relationship works in a specific way. The employee knows he is subject to the boss. The boss knows he wields power over the employee. That can be a very strenuous or easy-going situation.

My employees and I have healthy relationships because there is mutual trust and respect. I trust them to do what they need to do when they need to do it. I do not have to micro-manage. They know my belief that family comes first and we work around family needs as long as the work gets done. We’ve built that healthy relationship.

I know others who have bosses they don’t trust. They feel that if they are a minute late to work that they will be chastised. Or, if they work through lunch but leave at 4:55, they will get in trouble. That is not a healthy relationship.

Common traits of healthy relationships

All healthy relationships have specific commonalities. There can be different traits that can help maintain healthy relationships but only four that are present in all healthy relationships. Those four traits are trust, respect, communication and love.

Trust is the belief in the honesty of the other person. You believe your spouse will abide by the oath he took on your wedding day. You believe your boss will support you when you need help. Without trust, a relationship has no foundation. That relationship is built on hope rather than trust.

Respect has to be earned. Someone appointed to the position of power, i.e., manager or boss, does not automatically receive respect because of the appointment. I do respect the position but maybe not the person. For example, I respect the role of the presidency but may not respect the person serving as president.

An interesting facet of respect is that it does not mean agreement. You can have the utmost respect for a person even though you do not agree with how he approaches something. You can respect someone for his integrity or intelligence but not be in agreement with his decisions.

Communication is the third requirement for healthy relationships. The lack of communication is the cause of most disagreements with children and adults. It’s the primary cause for divorce. It’s the primary cause of people not enjoying their jobs.

Good communication does not require being a completely open book. You don’t have to give every detail of everything you do to be a good communicator. Instead, it’s about providing the right information, in the right way and at the right time.

Good communicators work at it. It takes discipline and practice to become a good communicator. It also takes consistency. Being nervous when opening an email, listening to a voice message or seeing someone approach because you don’t know which personality is going to present itself in that moment causes so much stress and anxiety.

Love is the final piece of healthy relationships. There are four words in the Greek language translated as “love.” Any of these four can be used to maintain healthy relationships but the most important might just be “agape” love. Agape is the expression of love in a selfless way.

Love does not have to be sexual or even familial. Agape love is expressed when you do something good for the benefit of the recipient. You get nothing in return. It’s all about the other person. You can express love to your co-workers by helping them succeed. You can show love to your clients by sending them pertinent information without it being requested. You do good because it’s good, not because of what you might receive in return.

When you are able to combine a healthy dose of trust, respect, communication and love, healthy relationships will result. The healthiest and longest lasting relationships will be those for which both parties have the desire to better the relationship and intentionally put forth the effort to do so.

As you were reading this, you were thinking about your healthy relationships. Be thankful for them and do not take them for granted. Be intentional about making them even better.

You also were thinking about those relationships that are not so healthy. Those relationships can be improved. Talk to the other person and express your desire to improve the relationship. You can work together to make it a healthy relationship.

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