Healthy Relationships, Social Skills, & Communication

How Do We Build Healthy Relationships With Others?

Healthy relationships with others require good communication, active listening, self-esteem, acceptance, conflict resolutions skills, and compassion for yourself and others. Building these skills will ensure that you make meaningful connections with others while still honoring your individual principals and values.

Tips For Creating & Keeping Friendships

Smile and say hello. This simple act is like opening a door to the possibility of new relationships.

Be brave. Leave your comfort zone. You're never gonna make new friends if you play it safe. Sit at a new table at lunch. Join a club that none of your friends are in. Partner up with a stranger.

Always choose kindness. Kindness begets kindness. It's really quite magical!

Be genuinely interested. People feel honored when you pause to genuinely show interest in their life. It is such a simple way to show that you care.

Experience empathy and see the world from different perspectives. Everyone is walking a different path. Taking the time to understand someone else's journey powerfully impacts the way you see the world and enhances your ability to connect with others.

Laugh and have fun! Don't take life too seriously, just enjoy the ride!

Be loyal, trustworthy, and honest. You can never go wrong by being loyal and sharing honestly. This is the bedrock of all good friendships.

Show up. Show up when it's easy and fun. Show up when you say you're going to show up. Show up when it's hard and uncomfortable.

Be present (Yes, that means getting off your phone). Don't let your phone block your view of reality.

Listen intently. We all want to be heard. Take time to fully and wholeheartedly listen to people when they open up and share.

Be humble and apologize when you mess up. You're gonna mess up. It happens and that's okay. So when it happens, own it, apologize, and grow from the experience.

Be you. There is only one you. Don't deprive the world of your unique self!

Friendship Starts With Loving Who You Are

Healthy, Assertive Communication

Value yourself and your rights. Everyone needs to believe strongly in their own inherent value and worth. This belief is the basis for healthy self-esteem. With healthy self-esteem, we are able to recognize our own rights and needs while still being respectful to the rights and needs of others.

Voice Your Needs and Wants Confidently. Take initiative and start to identify the things that you want or need. Find ways to make requests that avoid sacrificing others' needs. Remember, you want people to help you so asking for things aggressively is likely to push people away or damage the relationship.

Acknowledge That You Can't Control Other People's Behavior.
The only person you can control is you. In most circumstances, it is best to stay calm and measured even if others do not.

Express Yourself in a Positive Way
It's important to say what's on your mind to resolve conflict. The key is to do it constructively and sensitively. When we confront others, it is important to be be honest and upfront while also staying respectful and in control of our emotions.

Be Open to Feedback and Compliments. Accept both positive and negative feedback graciously, humbly, and positively.

THINK Before You Speak

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Techniques For Healthy Communication

  • "I" Statements: Use "I want", "I need" or "I feel" to convey basic assertions and get your point across firmly. For example, "I feel strongly that we need to bring in a third party to mediate this disagreement."

  • Empathy: Empathy allows us to imagine what another person might be experiencing. Without this key ingredient, we tip the scales from healthy communication skills to selfishness. Always try to recognize, understand, and consider how the other person views the situation.

  • Active Listening: It is the process of listening attentively to someone else and paraphrasing or reflecting back what they have said to you in your own words. To actively listen we must withhold any judgment or advice.

Conversation Starters

#1: Give a compliment.
Giving someone else a compliment is a kind way to initiate conversation. You can also tie in a question with the compliment. For example: “I noticed you are really good at visual art. Could you give me some tips for improving my drawing skills?”

#2: Start with Small Talk.
Say hello, or ask how someone is doing. You can talk about things you notice in the environment around you.

#3 Ask Open-Ended Questions.
An open-ended question is one that can't just be answered with a simple yes or no answer. These questions require longer answers and create more conversation and connection. Here is an example of an open-ended question: “What are your favorite things to do when you get home from school?”

#4 Find Common Ground.
If you know of something you already have in common with that person, bring it up. People love to talk about the things they love and are good at.


Finding Common Ground

Key Ingredients: Integrity, Humility, & Growth

Conflict Resolution

Step 1: Cool Off

Many times we rush to solve things before we are ready. Taking time to cool off allows us to think and approach people calmly before we try to problem solve.

Step 2: Share Perspectives

We need to share our thoughts and feelings but we also need to listen and understand the other person’s perspective. This can be the most challenging step. Try to imagine how the other person might feel in a non-judgmental way. After listening, try to reflect what the person has said by saying, “I think I heard you say you feel..." or "So you want me to try to.…"

Step 3: Take Responsibility

Once you have each shared your perspective, take responsibility for your part of the issue. You may not share equal responsibility but we can almost always think of something we could have done differently. Think to yourself: Could I have done something differently to change what happened?

Step 4: Brainstorm Solutions
Now brainstorm solutions that everyone can agree on. You want to think of solutions that are a win-win for everyone. Try to avoid solutions that only benefit yourself.

Kindness & Compassion

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Did you know that kindness for others builds our self-esteem? Try one small act of kindness for the next 4 weeks...
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