Relationship building is a skill that many businesses today list on a job description or prioritize in their employees. But what does it mean? We build relationships when we are open with others and learn more about them. Healthy relationships make us feel heard and valued, like we belong. Strong relationships take intention and mindfulness to build and develop over time. Connections can’t just happen overnight, but they will happen regardless. Without mindful attention to the well-being of a relationship, it can grow into something that isn’t as fulfilling as it should be.
In 2018, a survey of conducted by Cigna found 46% of people feel lonely sometimes or always. The solution to those feelings is to develop relationships that make you feel connected to and valued by others. Here’s some insight about relationship building at work, with friends, and with family to help with building or improving relationships.
Relationship Building at Work
Relationship building happens when the mutual understanding between or among individuals is increased. This could happen between two people in a workplace, or for an entire team. On the job, this mutual understanding doesn’t just make the day better, it is also vital for success.
Harvard Business School Professor and performance consultant Theresa Amabile analyzed over 12,000 daily diary entries made by 239 professionals. A sense of “camaraderie…bonding and mutual trust” was found to accelerate productivity. When we feel trust and respect for those around us, everyone works a little bit harder.
Having friends at work might also keep your team together longer. Research firm Future Workplace surveyed over 2000 people across 10 countries. Almost two-thirds said they would be inclined to stay at their company longer if they had more friends.
Relationships at work need to be based in trust and mutual respect. To help develop the team’s confidence in one another’s abilities, create opportunities for team projects. Sharing feedback about one another’s successes or learning moments can also build workplace camaraderie.
Relationship Building with Friends
The main thing you need to mutually understand with friends is how to have fun and support each other. The success of friendships also relies on trust and mutual respect. As your friends show they have your back, you must return the friendship and make good on your word.
According to Psychology Today, reciprocity and mutual respect are two of the five themes of a successful friendship. Another is remembering that you must enjoy each other’s company—in fact, that’s the first one. If you don’t have fun with a friend, they aren’t really a friend.
Lastly, Psychology Today says remember that a commitment to a friendship is voluntary. It’s also okay to be less involved with a friend over time, as long as you still stay in touch. Everyone’s life has its hectic periods.
But you can’t let life’s pace totally obliterate your connections. When it comes to building friendships, it’s important to be available for friends. This is especially true when they need help or support. In addition, celebrate their important moments in a special way. Make sure to listen and ask questions when you see them—according to Trent Hamm, if you’re doing more than 60% of the talking, you might be doing it wrong.
PS: Friendship doesn’t depend on age whatsoever. 68% of people told research firm Barna they have a close friend who is either 15 years older or younger. 27% of people have both older and younger friends.
Relationship Building with Family
What elements of your family environment are you grateful for? These values are the foundation of your family relationships and can be drawn on to make relationships deeper.
Getting closer to family members is an intentional process. When everyone lives together it’s easy to rely on being down the hall to keep you in close contact. To keep a family feeling close, try out ideas like choosing a family motto, making time to volunteer together, or an annual family awards ceremony. These are just some ways you can bond as a family while not living under the same roof.
We’ve discovered that relationship building is essentially the process of living life and interacting with people. Strong personal relationships like friendships, romances, and family bonds have been shown to be good for your health, says the Mayo Clinic and others. Our connections define our world. Our relationships have the potential to make us less depressed and more excited to jump out of bed in the morning.
When it comes to your priority list, make sure all three of these groups stay on your radar. The tasks of work and the daily grind will come and go with time, but our relationships are what sustain us. Like our Alpha Kappa Psi brotherhood, a co-ed professional fraternity!