It’s no secret that maintaining strong relationships takes work. Whether it’s your relationship with a spouse or significant other, boss, coworker, friend, or someone else, it takes effort. But what does that look like? How do you know where to begin? If you feel like your relationship with someone is starting to fade, here are four things you can do every day to help build their trust and strengthen your relationship with them.
1. Learn about, care for, and involve yourself in their hobbies/interests. Often, the things we love to do, or are passionate about, can be a reflection of ourselves. When someone cares about the things we care about, it feels good. Many times, people may be embarrassed about their passions and interests and showing your interest allows them to open up more to you.
People are often scared to share their passions because they worry people might think it’s “dumb” or “weird”. That’s why it can be such a big deal when someone is interested or eager to learn about us. It allows you both to feel better connected while letting them know they are free to be themselves—free of judgment. These positive feelings are amplified when you intentionally involve yourself in their interests.
2. Look for and seek opportunities to care/give. Pay attention to the little things and show that you are actively looking for ways to let them know how awesome you think they are. For example, if someone says “I’m exhausted and could really use some coffee,” go out of your way to bring them some.
Food can be a great way to connect with someone and strengthen your bond with them. It doesn’t have to be some huge gesture. It could be bringing them a cookie or two, an order of french fries from the fast-food drive-thru, or even their favorite candy bar. If food doesn’t resonate well, try randomly asking them if they need help with anything. This could be something specific you know they are working on or dealing with, or just in general.
3. Let them know you think about them when you don’t have to. It’s important to let people know you’re thinking of them. There are several ways to do this. Try randomly sending them a few words of encouragement. This could be through a text message, email, phone call, in person, or even a small gift to show you care.
This is extremely important when the person you’re trying to connect with is going through a rough time. If they seem to be struggling with them, be sure to check-in and ask if they are doing well, either with something specific or just in general.
4. Speak positively about them when they’re not around. Speaking positively about someone helps prevent additional conflicts and disconnect in your relationship. If you only say positive things about them when they’re not around, it eliminates the chance for them to hear you were saying negative things “behind their back.”
When we speak positively about others, it allows us to brag about them and notice positive things we may not have noticed before. It’s a good practice to notice good qualities in those we care about. It always feels good to say nice things about our friends and loved ones. You can never go wrong speaking kindly about the people you love.
No matter how you show it, it’s important to let people know that you care about them. Doing these things will help you build trust, bond, and grow with others. In all relationships, not just marital, it’s important to listen, validate, trust, and care for each other. Doing so will help build a strong, healthy relationship that both parties can happily benefit from.
Bonus tip for strengthening your marriage!
If you and your spouse feel like your relationship could use a little improvement, try spending 15 minutes of uninterrupted time together every day. Spend some time with just each other, no kids, no phones, no television. This is a great opportunity for you to talk about your day, express your feelings towards one another, or even pray together. It doesn’t take hours once you have an established relationship, but it does take some intentional, dedicated time each day.
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