Healthy relationships are the backbone of a good community. Many people do not realize that it is the lack of healthy relationships and support that makes them susceptible to society’s ills. Building positive connections is not an inherent skill set that anyone possesses. Some people are naturally friendly and gregarious, but even these people can have trouble developing meaningful connections beyond acquaintanceship.
Every person must find ways to become a part of a community they respect and want to join. Being part of a group can help everyone be happier and healthy. Senior citizens will receive the support and cognitive stimulation they need to be mentally healthier. People with disabilities can find strength in numbers and learn how to manage an able-bodied world better. People getting treatments for bulimia or other eating disorders can find understanding and the lack of judgment they need to facilitate a healthy recovery.
There is no one way to develop positive and supportive relationships, but they all have one thing in common. You must be willing to take the initiative, and you must keep trying despite the disappointment.
Set realistic expectations for yourself and what you want out of your interactions. No one owes you their time and attention, and you do not have to give someone your time and attention just because they demand it. Read books on boundaries, and what healthy relationships look like so you can identify bad behavior and avoid letting it enter your life.
Being a good friend means taking a genuine interest in another persons’ life. Learn how to communicate effectively with people and take every opportunity to practice with people who seem nice and friendly. Take the time to really listen to what they are saying and see things from their perspective. Try not to interrupt and keep comments to the end. They will appreciate your attention and any comments and questions you have because you waited to hear their whole thought.
Practicing this will also help you to recognize when other people give you this same respect. Avoid people who give monologues and never ask you questions, and do not take an interest in what you have to say. They may compliment you on being a good listener, but you do not exist to be an ear for them. Seek out the people who are interested in what you have to say as well.
Change is difficult, and building new relationships different from the unhealthy patterns you knew before will be hard. Focus on your needs and do not agree to every request or plan that people suggest. Make intentional choices and say no sometimes when you feel tired, even if you feel like going out.
Take time to be with yourself and listen to your thoughts. Go on dates with yourself to learn how to treat yourself right and what you do and do no like without outside influence telling you what you should like.
This will benefit you a great deal. When you know your own boundaries and preferences, it will be easier to identify the people who will respect those boundaries and treat you the way you deserve. It will be easier to recover from losing your old friends who were toxic and unhealthy influences for you.
Always follow through on plans that you make. Sometimes this will mean canceling in enough time that they are not troubled too much. Do not wait till the last minute and offer ideas for solutions, so they understand that you did not cancel lightly and are still invested in the situation going well for them. Reliability is a crucial aspect of healthy relationships, and you must be reliable to expect reliability.
Being an accountable and responsible person is what will ensure that you receive accountability from friends. This is also one of the practices where doing so will help you identify who can be trusted to be dependable and who only cares about their own comfort.
Working on your self-image and trying to be a more positive person will also help you build better relationships. Many people in the world are pessimistic, and many are realists and optimists. Pessimists tend to keep people down and are not always a good influence for someone who needs to view the world with hope.
Realists and optimists can be good friends for you, and learning how to see the world with equanimity can help you understand their point of view. This will help you appreciate their approach to the world and give you new ideas on structuring your approach to the world.
Always remember that this is all a process. A confident person who wants to nurture connections cannot stay that way at all times. Also, you may meet many people who disappoint your hopes. But healthy relationships are something you can learn and, through practice, develop and grow. The truth of it is in doing so, trust yourself and take as many chances as you need to build the community you want to join.