4 Ways to Improve Your Relationship


Your relationship with your boss allows you to make a living. It allows you to receive a steady paycheck and understand your paystubs. Your bond with your partner enables you to receive love and affection. Your link to your teachers or mentors helps you learn new things.


All relations teach us how to work in the world. But they also help us stay grounded and provide us with the emotional and physiological stimulation we need to thrive.


Unfortunately, sometimes our relationships begin to break apart because of our ignorance, neglect, deliberate rejection, or a whole host of other reasons. But the result is the same: the relationship starts to deteriorate. And if you let it go, your relationship will end.


Relationships require nurturing and care to grow, just like a plant. So, to ensure your relationship with your friends, family, partner, children, or boss remains as strong as ever, you should consider the following four factors.


1. Show Compassion and Care


Compassion is the ability to feel and understand what another person is experiencing and understand them, and caring means genuinely wanting to help or join another person in whatever they’re experiencing.


Without care, there’s no compassion and vice versa. When you care for someone, you worry about their life, what they’re eating, how they’re living, where they’re living, what they’re doing — generally thinking about their life.


But caring for someone doesn’t mean feeling compassion for them. For instance, you have a cousin who’s an alcoholic. You’re worried about them.


You know their horrific childhood forced them to do it, but you don’t think about their childhood and how it affected them.


You only know that the person is destroying themselves. You see their yellow skin, and you can’t help but tell them what they’re doing to themselves.

You think you’re helping but don’t know what your cousin is feeling.


You don’t know if they’re breaking inside or feeling down because they think you consider them a burden. And you never will until you begin to exercise some compassion.


Whether you like your cousin or not, you care for them, but you can make your relationship deeper and more beneficial to them by actually thinking about what they’ve experienced, how it affected them, and knowing that their current actions aren’t entirely excused by their past, they still are affected somewhat.


And crossing that bridge between knowing and realizing is what will help you nurture and improve your relationship. Maybe you’ll even be able to help them rid themselves of alcohol once and for all.


2. Give the Benefit of the Doubt


We all make the mistake of believing that people cannot change. If someone is making overtures toward you, give them the benefit of the doubt.


This doesn’t mean giving it to someone with a known history of violence, lying, or criminal intent (though you can also excuse them in certain cases).


Instead, it means you should at least hear people out when they’re trying to explain why they did what they did.


For instance, let’s say a coworker repeated something they heard about you to your manager. It wasn’t true, but your manager learned about it, called you into the modern office, and dressed you down without even asking you about your side of the story.


Now put yourself in the manager’s shoes — in a position of authority. How could you improve this situation? How can you make sure you hear other people?


Remember: sometimes people twist the truth, but you can find it after hearing different sides of the story. You don’t need to cast judgment at once or in many cases. But that depends on whether you consider the other person’s thoughts and feelings.


3. Be Flexible


A rigid tree breaks in the harsh wind, but a flexible one rises and bows to forces larger than it is to survive. This doesn’t mean rigidity isn’t a good quality. In fact, rigidity in situations related to the human condition is known as ethics.


But breathing down someone’s neck versus checking on them from afar are two different things. Here are two examples.


Content manager A keeps an eye on all their writers, editors, and designers to ensure they can meet deadlines. The manager gives their writers a deadline and trusts them to meet it. They don’t message the writer every hour to check their progress or spy on them through time-tracking software.

Content manager B is worried about deadlines. So they send a message to their writers every hour to check what they’re doing. They also use time-tracking software to learn whether their team members are slacking on the job, ask colleagues about work during lunch break, and check everybody on what they’re doing.


Content manager B’s team is inefficient, overworked, irritated, and tired of the constant checks. They hate working because they don’t have any way to do their work.


In contrast, content manager A’s team is probably happy, excited about their work, and knows they have enough autonomy to put a piece of themselves into their work. And as research has proven, freedom or flexibility is essential if business owners or team leaders want good results.

So, being flexible improved the relationship between content manager A’s team, and being rigid did the opposite for manager B’s team. This shows how important flexibility is to a relationship.


4. Respect the Bond


If you constantly gloss over your partner’s feelings, motivations, or actions, they’ll stop talking to you or walk away. That’s not what you want if you want to have a relationship with them.  


Relationships are built on trust and understanding, and if you break that trust through your actions, such as giving credence to a lie, you will lose that foundation, which can signal the end of your relationship.


So, instead of glossing over an employee’s request or partner’s suggestion, you should pay attention to them.


Understand where they’re coming from and respect the effort they’re putting in to communicate with you. That will show them you appreciate your bond with them, increasing their (and your) determination to keep it strong.