5 Keys to Building Better Relationships

couple holding hands on beach

I want better relationships, don’t you? Sometimes I feel like I spend more time thinking (or writing) about changing the way I interact with people than I actually spend changing the way I interact with people. I think some of you can relate. Change needs two things…ideas followed by actions.

Our example of the balance between ideas and action is Jesus. He didn’t only talk about healing the blind, He restored their sight. He didn’t only discuss the lame being able to walk, He made them walk. Jesus was a man of action. So I realize that for things to change I must change.

I’ve got to lead by example and so do you. Because if we’re going to be all that we were made to be then we need to take stock of who we are, and where we are, because for things to change I must change.

1. Be Proactive

Head for solutions before there are problems. If you initiate you won’t need to respond as much as you currently do. Don’t live in fear. Sometimes we don’t want to know the truth because, as Colonel Nathan R. Jessup famously told us, we can’t handle the truth. But your ability to deal with the truth does not change the truth. Since the truth is what it is you must run to it not from it.

2. Be Responsive

When someone reaches out to you respond to their needs. Instead of just talking about the things you need to do, you should go ahead and help. Don’t just engage in wheel-spinning exercises, but do things that help people with real needs. People respond to people who help them. If there is a need try to be the person who helps. If your child asks for some water because they are thirsty give them some water. Being responsive is not hard and it helps people realize that you care about them.

3. Be Transparent

I believe that your life should be an open book. What you see is what you should get. Your words and actions must be in alignment. Transparency includes admitting when you are wrong. This is hard for many adults. Admitting you were wrong to anyone can be very humbling but it is key in relationship building. Transparency leads to trust and trust is a precious gift.

4. Be Kind

As a concept it is easy to be kind but it can difficult to do. Sometimes when you’ve had a hard day and your kids are loud, and dare I say annoying, you must be kind to them. Because these are the moments when kindness is key. If you can be kind when you don’t want to be you’re a better person than most. You can make the world of difference with a kind word or deed.

5. Be Understanding

Everyone is struggling through this life. When those close to you face troubles they need to know that you are their ally and not their enemy. Life is hard and sometimes people just need someone who understands them. If you are not on the top of the list of people they come to for help you need to turn that around. If you are not their safe place they will find one. Knowing that you understand will go a long way to making you their safe place.

I believe that these five things are really important in building trust and improving relationships. What can you add that has worked for you?

Ryan North
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Ryan North

Ryan North is the Executive Director of Tapestry, the Adoption & Foster Care Ministry of Irving Bible Church in Dallas, Texas. As Executive Director of Tapestry, Ryan also leads Empowered to Connect. He frequently writes and speaks on connected parenting and ministry leadership.
Ryan North
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