# Relationships - 5 steps to quality relationships

Be yourself and form quality relationships!
# relations 01


Counselor at the Career Counseling and Guidance Center (CCOC) of the UVT

Whether we are talking about friendships, love or family, connections with others are one of the central points of our lives. The longest study of happiness1 (conducted over 75 years) proves that good relationships with people relevant to us are the key to a happy life and a healthy body. And we know this not only from studies, but also from our own experience. Just think about how you feel on a pleasant summer afternoon with friends on a terrace, compared to the days when they are out of town with grandparents or on vacation with family, and the eagerness to see them again increases. as days go by. Thus, in the following lines, we will review some aspects to consider in dealing with others.

1. Listen, listen, listen

And not anyway, but actively. Although we are probably aware that "active listening" is the basis of good communication, we do not always put this into practice. And this is not out of bad intention, but maybe only because we do not know exactly what it refers to or we find it difficult to achieve.

Well, when we communicate with a person, we have to distinguish between to hear what we are told and listen what he's talking about. Hearing is a passive act, which means that we receive the message and, most of the time, we automatically respond to it. An illustrative example is the one in which a discussion begins with the question "What are you doing?" and "Okay, you?" is answered almost automatically. Listening is an action, it means decoding at a rational level what the other person wants to pass it on to us. And active listening is the act of putting ourselves in the other person's shoes and trying to understand, thus, his message, representing the foundation of empathy. Obviously, active listening requires attention and energy, resources that we do not have all the time, in which case the automatisms of the type of the previous example are welcome. However, we recommend that, especially when it comes to sensitive topics, we actively listen to our loved ones.

2. Learn to express your needs

Although it seems easy to express our needs, we do not always do this correctly, and the motivations behind it can be multiple (for example, the desire not to be considered selfish or the fear of being rejected). Even if we do not express our needs in directly, waiting for the one next to us to fulfill them will continue to exist. But as the other does not know about our need, the chances that he / she will satisfy that need are low, a gesture that we can interpret as indifference. Thus, the environment conducive to conflict and reproach is outlined, reaching exactly what we wanted to avoid in the first instance, namely rejection. Therefore, it would be healthy for our relationships to communicate our needs clearly and directly. 

3. Give the other person what he needs

What happens when our needs, expressed directly, do not match the other person's wishes? Like when one wants to spend the afternoon in peace, on the couch, and the other would like to go out. Well, here comes a very important aspect of relating to others - negotiation. It is easy to give loved ones things that do not conflict with our needs. The problem arises when we have to negotiate the common things on which the perspectives are different: what we eat, how we spend our free time, where we go on vacation and the examples can continue. Given that it is necessary to offer, not just receive, it would be advisable to accept that be to make small compromises in the relationships we have. 

4. Demystify the conflict

And yet, in any type of relationship, conflict is inevitable. Why? Because two perspectives cannot always coincide on the same reality. The occurrence of the conflict is natural, but its manifestation may differ. Thus, the lack of conflict is a utopia, an illusion that some of us argue through the lack of quarrels. But this does not always reflect the lack of conflict, because, although some of us do not express our anger directly, we most likely have passive-aggressive behaviors. Conflict is not a signal that a relationship, regardless of its type, is about to fall apart, but it can be a point from which, with patience, understanding and respect, the relationship can evolve and progress. Author Thomas Crum2 he was talking about the quality of our lives and the fact that it does not depend on the existence or absence of conflicts, but on how we relate to them. The same goes for relationships. 

5. Be yourself!

This is probably one of the most common tips in personal development books, so you may be wondering why people keep discussing this, because we all already know that we need to be ourselves. What must be emphasized, however, is that, in a relationship, being yourself means having the courage to show the other side of you less desirable and at the same time accept the other's weaknesses. We already know that we are not perfect, but sometimes, out of the desire to "keep" the love / closeness of the other, we pose in these beings flawlessly, a behavior that over time can become very tiring. 

Therefore, at the beginning of a new stage in your life - the student, we want you to have or form in the future good, quality relationships, in which you can be yourself and through which you can become the person you want to be!

 1Waldinger, R. (2015). What makes a good life? Lessons from the longest study on happiness. The Harvard Study of Adult Development. Retrieved, 28(8), 2017.What makes a good life? Lessons from the longest study on happiness Robert Waldinger

2Crum, TF, & Crum, T. (1998). The magic of conflict: Turning a life of work into a work of art.Simon and Schuster.


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