The two major challenges in maintaining close personal relationships are neglect (eg not putting time into the relationship) and not dealing constructively with conflict (thus letting problems fester until they are out of control). Being proactive in your personal relationships and attending to them (even when you don’t feel like it) is the key to keeping them happy supportive and personally satisfying
– Take time: Make sure to spend regular time with your partner, children, family and friends. One-to-one relaxed time, when you have plenty of space to chat and have fun together is best.
– Be present: In our busy lives a major challenge is simply not being present with the ones we love. Whether this is being spaced out or checking email when they are talking or being caught up worries or stress that you are not there for them.
– Express appreciation: Relationships are nurtured by frequent displays of appreciation. Whether these are simply kind words of thanks to an important colleague, a gift to an important friend, affection with your partner or a reassuring hug for a child, everyone needs to be appreciated and nurtured in close relationships
– Listen: Listening is most important communication skill of all. Taking time to understand the other person’s point of view is key to connecting with them, and is especially important as the first step to managing conflict.
– Learn to communicate: Relationships suffer when one person does not communicate about their needs and important issues or when they do they do it do it in an aggressive, explosive or dis-respectful way. Learning to talk respectfully and assertively is the second most important communication skill.
– Apologise and forgive: All close relationships will involve disappointment and getting hurt at times. Taking responsibility and apologising, when you have hurt someone and moving on and forgiving, when you have been hurt are key to maintaining relationships through hard times.