Strong positive interpersonal relationships are essential to achieving our success – whether they be work relationships, family relationships or relationships with others in our communities. We’re in almost constant contact with others and we should make every contact an opportunity to strengthen our social skills and reinforce our relationships.
With that in mind, here are ten benefits for having good interpersonal skills that contribute to maintaining rewarding long-term relationships:
- Trust: Long-term relationships are based on trust. When we trust others, we are more relaxed, comfortable and willing to be ourselves without any pretenses or trying to maintain a facade of someone we’re not.
- Acceptance: Once we experience trust with others, we can be honest about our weaknesses and shortcomings because we’re confident that we will be accepted for who we are, without judgment or criticism.
- Support: Our lives go through many changes, some planned and some take us by surprise. In either case, they often take us out of our comfort zone and challenge us to grow and become more than we were before. Good, healthy relationships give us the support and encouragement we need to rise to new and different challenges.
- A Kind Ear: We often think of good communication skills as being able to speak well. That’s only half of it. The ability fo listen well is the other half. Having someone who will listen non-judgmentally when you’re feeling down or frustrated and want to “vent” gives you the freedom to express yourself. Sometimes you just need to get something off your chest without feeling like you have to watch every word you say.
- Understanding: When someone knows you well enough to understand where you’re “coming from” and instantly know the context in which you’re speaking, it’s easier to open up. Individuals in long-term relationships have a history of shared experiences that build a mutual understanding so they “get you” without a lot of explanation.
- Someone to Call On When You Need a Hand:Everyone, from time to time, needs a hand from a friend, colleague, peer, or family member. This can be in the form of advice, a new job, or assistance with a particular project in which you need to call on another’s expertise.
- Referrals and References: You can count on the people with whom you have a good relationship to give you a positive reference or referral – they’re more likely to be a good advocate for you and expound on your strengths and strong points.
- Share and Celebrate: Celebrating with people who truly care about you and want celebrate with you when your life is going well, when you secured a promotion, or when bought your first house is a ton fun. Being acknowledged for your accomplishments is a rewarding experience and when you have good relationships, most want to be part of celebrating your success.
- Reduced Stress: Sharing your life with friends and coworkers who you trust, who accept, understand and support you reduces stress because you have camaraderie and, therefore, less potential for interpersonal conflicts. Good relationships bring about the best in work teams and families by reducing the anxieties that cause stress and, at the same time, good relationships cultivate a sense of well-being and emotional security.
- Happiness and Satisfaction: Having good relationships means there’s a mutual like for one another. Being around people you like and who like you create situations that are harmonious, supportive, and well, happy. You have an overall feeling of satisfaction in your life – be it at work, at home, or in your community.
Now, here are ten benefits others will receive from having a good relationship with you:
- A Kind Ear
- Someone to Call On When You Need a Hand
- Referrals and References
- Share and Celebrate
- Reduce Stress
- Happiness and Satisfaction
Did you notice that the list was exactly the same? The strongest and best relationships are made when all parties give and receive. If you want these ten benefits for yourself, you have to give them to others. Too often we look at relationships with a “what-do-I-get-out-of-this?” perspective. That’s not how good relationships work. It’s about give and take.
Think about what you want out of a relationship, then give it. You’ll be surprised at how much better your relationships become!
By Laurie Wilhelm