From Florida Hospital - Apopka
What is an interpersonal relationship? It’s a big word for something simple: any connection or interaction between two people. Boss. Co-worker. Friend. Sister. Mentor. Teacher. Doctor. If you think about the people with which you interact on a daily, weekly, monthly or even yearly basis, this list would become invaluable. Why? It includes the people that help fulfill your life in the most meaningful ways.
“Interpersonal relationships are the foundation for everything in terms of the CREATION Health model,” says Alexander Chriest, Education Manager for CREATION Health Employees. “It is in our DNA to feel connected,” continues Chriest.
Relationships of various kinds help us navigate our world, overcome obstacles, relieve stress, celebrate victories and enjoy moments that make life amazing. And because they are worth so much, Chriest has some tips on how to improve them.
We talk all day long, but what are we communicating? With so many channels, it is difficult to always send and interpret messages correctly. For example, text messages lack nonverbal cues and tone of voice and can be easily misinterpreted by the receiver. A social media post that is meant to be sarcastic could be offensive to someone. Face-to-face communication truly plays a big role in fostering your relationships because you can pick up a communicator’s message more accurately with more cues.
“Communication can always improve,” explains Chriest. “Think of relationships as living, growing things that you have to nurture,” he continues. Chriest also recommends picking up the phone to call instead of texting or emailing so you can hear a voice in the present moment. Connecting in the moment, not distracted by other things, allows us to be empathetic, which means that we have more to give to and receive from our relationships.
When we suspend judgement, we open our relationships. Judgement creates barriers, many of which are inaccurate. If someone is short with you, you may interpret that as something that you did wrong and take it personally, when maybe they just received some bad news or are going through a tough time.
When we approach people openly, we tend to be less frustrated and have less conflict in relationships. One way to handle that situation above could be to say, “It looks like you are upset; do you want to talk about anything?” By doing this you are not jumping to judgement and you are not bringing yourself into the situation; you are addressing your feeling and showing empathy.
Being open also involves being honest about the different relationships in your life, and knowing their individual roles and what is appropriate. You may not share the same information with your boss as you would your mother; however, both play equally supportive roles in your life, just in different ways. Chreist says, “We all have people to turn to at different times of our life.”
Trust. Empathy. Understanding. Support. These are all things that relationships offer in different ways and at different times. Our relationships grow and change. Sometimes, someone is closer in your life at one time and then moves on. That is OK.
Chriest says, “We are the cultivation of everyone in our lives.” “We are helping each other grow, and at times, saying goodbye to an unhealthy relationship is a way to grow,” he adds.
Being honest about your relationships is important. Evaluate them and recognize when a relationship is helping you grow or holding you back. If it’s the later, maybe it’s time to reevaluate that person’s role in your life. Chriest concludes, “If people aren’t growing with you they might not be helping you.”
Yes, you read that right. The most successful relationships of any kind are those that can disagree and resolve their conflicts. “Most people cringe when they hear the word “conflict,” says Chriest. “Conflict is actually good, and the best relationships are those that have a disagreement - maybe not even agree in the end – and can respect each other and move on,” he continues.
Chriest suggests hitting conflict head on and making it constructive and productive. What can you learn from this conflict? Can you understand the other person’s perspective? Can you reach a common ground? Chriest further notes, “Take emotion out it.” “If you approach resolving conflict like a discussion and not an argument, you can talk with a more open mind and level head.”
Friends, family, husbands and wives- they all have conflicts. Once you accept this and stop cringing at it you can approach it in a more positive and constructive way.
This may all sound like a lot of “work” but it’s mostly a shift in thinking. When you truly look at your relationships and see their places in your life, their worth becomes invaluable. As you nurture and grow them, the work that you put in comes back tenfold.
No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here