We are talking about your ability to build healthy, long-term relationships. Last time we saw that we need to:
1> Care about people every day
2> Make yourself more valuable in your relationships
3> Put yourself in their world
4> Focus your relationships on benefiting others, not yourself
Let’s move on from there…
5> Be a consistent friend in your relationships
I believe the ability to be a good friend is something that is often undervalued and overlooked today. Good relationships are built on consistency. Relationships that are volatile and continually up and down are not easy. They provide no relational “rest.” There is nothing pleasant about being in relationships that are continually high-maintenance. You can’t be good friends with people when someone has to walk on eggshells or when any conversation could be misinterpreted and lead to the end of the relationship.
We must be dependable and consistent. We must be trustworthy. Our friends must know that they can depend on us. How? These tips have helped many over the years:
A> Believe the best about people. Try to see people as they could be, not necessarily as they are. When you believe the best of people, you don’t feel the need to correct them or try to fix them. Believing the best of others is always the right thing to do, even if it means you may not always be right. People are more apt to change when another person believes in them than when people don’t believe in them.
B> Don’t allow other people’s behaviour to control you. Too often people allow the actions of others to impact their own attitudes and emotions. They let others’ inconsistency make them inconsistent. But you need to understand that when that happens, you’ve allowed it. As humans we have the capacity to create and control our own attitudes and emotions. We need to make that choice for ourselves every day. Otherwise, people will control us.
C> Place high value on relationships, even in difficult situations. Dealing with people is sometimes difficult. But even in the midst of difficulties we should make sure to do the right thing for the person and for ourselves relationally. At times you may simply need to end the relationship and walk away. Do so graciously and always leave the door open for the other person to reenter the relationship should they eventually choose to do so.
D> Unconditionally love people. Unconditional love is the greatest gift we can give another person. It allows someone to feel secure, be vulnerable, sense their worth, and discover who they really are. I believe that all people long to have a consistent friend who loves them, believes in them, and is continually there for them no matter the circumstances. If you are willing to be that kind of person for others, not only will it expand your people capacity, it will also give you a more satisfying life.
You may be thinking, I can’t do this with everyone, because some people are just difficult. That’s true — for all of us. In the end, our goal should be to treat others better than they treat us, to add value to them in a greater capacity than maybe they expect.
More next time…