Forging & Maintaining Meaningful Relationships — The Practical Side
We live in a time when we are more connected than we have ever been thanks to things like social media, the internet and smart phones. And yet, some of us feel more DIS-connected than ever.
The truth is that no form of digital connection (like Facebook) can ever take the place of real, living and breathing relationships. Another truth is that relationships—the kind where you actually see each other and spend time together—require effort. And maybe that is why genuine relationships often elude us in this busy day and age.
Recently I heard someone say, “Relationships do not just happen. They are forged.” As I have been meditating on this kernel of wisdom, I have come up with four things that healthy, intimate relationships require. Here they are:
1) Intentionality: If you want to have a relationship with someone, you have to be intentional about it. You have to make time for them, set up dates to meet with them and make them a priority in your life.
2) Thoughtfulness: Having a thriving relationship necessitates some thoughtfulness from each party. You have to think about the other person’s needs and wants and then make an effort to fulfill them. For example, a friend of mine recently lost her mother to cancer. Before her passing, my friend’s mother had given her a special coffee mug that my friend’s son accidentally broke. So, for my friend’s birthday I bought a mug with a quote about mothers on it. I thought hard about buying my friend a gift that would be meaningful to her.
3) Time: Relationships require time. The older I get, the more I feel that time is one of my most treasured resources. To forge and maintain a relationship you must carve time out of your schedule to regularly see that person face-to-face or speak with him/her if face time is not possible.
4) Resources: Great relationships require lots of resources, including energy. Just think about how much time (and money) parents spend building and nurturing relationships with their kids. Strong relationships require resources like time, money, energy and authentic emotional investment.
Like most good things in life, (think fine wine, healthy savings accounts, strong familial ties) healthy, thriving relationships involve great investments of our time, energy, resources and emotions. But, when two parties work hard to be intentional and thoughtful and invest of their time, energy and resources, beautiful bonds are formed—relationships that bring joy, contentment, intimacy and the beauty of feeling known and loved.
In the personal blog on this subject I will talk more about what to do it you are having trouble forging and/or maintaining healthy relationships. However, if you are involved in a difficult relationship a trained mental health counselor can help. She can provide support and teach you healthy ways to communicate your thoughts and feelings so that you can forge and maintain healthy, thriving relationships of all types. If you would like to speak with a counselor please call Life Enhancement Counseling Services today at 407-443-8862 to make an appointment.