Lots of people resolve to enter into relationships, cultivate an exciting social life, and deepen connections as their New Year’s Resolutions. In order to create and deepen connections, it is key to be practical about ways to enter into new relationships and improve current ones.
When we’re too idealistic about our love lives and social lives, we can forget the simplest ways to make our relationships better. Sometimes it’s as simple as spending time grabbing coffee with an old friend or your SO. Sometimes it’s as as simple as purchasing a small, inexpensive token of appreciation. It’s the little things that speak more loudly over time. When you look back and think, ‘That actually really impressed me. It wasn’t big, but it was loud. It was valuable.’
I’m all for the big stuff. The friendship that involves making plans for creative projects and collaborations, being super Cosmopolitan when you go out, and late night deep conversations over popcorn and wine while watching movies with Channing Tatum. Of course, that is so much fun.
The relationship that involves traveling the world, cute professionally taken couple photos, and romantic surprises right out of a fairy tale. I’m all for the romantic approach you weren’t expecting as you were minding your own business in a coffee shop. Those things are totally possible and happen all of the time. Sometimes expecting unexpected romantic encounters calls them into your reality.
But it’s the day-to-day gestures in your current routine that can propel a relationship forward. Love is action. Showing someone you care speaks more loudly than speaking smooth words. Behavior never lies.
If you would like to improve your relationship skills and the quality of your relationships, the best way to communicate that to people is through simple actions over a long period of time. Here are 6 practical ways to become better at relationships:
1. Make plans and keep them.
One of the best ways to become better at relationships is to make plans with people and keep the plans. It is always important to be flexible and open to shifting plans occasionally. But you never know the impression you leave on people when you keep changing plans or even forget about them. You also never know how not keeping plans could change things. Your date from Bumble or Match could meet someone else in the meantime. Your new friend could have decided you’re flakey. Besides, don’t you love meeting someone who possesses the admirable trait of not bailing on plans? Be that person to attract more people like that.
2. Respond to phone calls and text messages promptly.
If you want your relationships and friendships to deepen, you need to stay in touch. There comes a time in life when taking hours or even days to respond to messages becomes the norm. After college for instance, people become more invested in their own lives- working, doing graduate degrees, entering into relationships. When you flip flop the behavior, receiving replies to your messages promptly is an admirable trait that shows you care about being available to someone in a relationship or friendship.
If you’re in a long-term relationship for instance, in order to continually progress, you need to be able to stay in touch. Playing hard to get can actually come across as the relationship not being important to you. Game playing in a relationship will cause someone not to trust you and potentially end the relationship or friendship. It is an unhealthy behavior. Being receptive in a high-value way is more likely to create the intimacy of a healthy relationship and overall satisfaction. I do believe you can always be mysterious to your SO in the sense of “I really don’t get you at all, but I am curious to know more.” I believe you can innately understand a romantic partner and still have that mysterious feeling of intrigue. But if you’re not enabling intimacy, you’re not making yourself fully available for that relationship to blossom. Just respond in a timely manner. Most people won’t think of you as being desperate.
3. Avoid attention-seeking actions
We live in a world where there are countless ways to seek attention for yourself. We are experiencing a trend in society where the lines of being authentic and going “too personal” in the public sphere are being blended, and the choice belongs to the individual. There are a lot of people out there who just feel like they need a lot of attention because they want to feel more loved. Posting pictures in bikinis so that guys will “like” their photos. Sharing “TMI” stuff on their blogs.
There is putting your story out there as an inspirational platform- after you’ve gone through it- and then there is making the most personal parts of your life completely public. I’ve even seen people taking pictures of themselves in the bathtub on social media. Just curious, is that artistic? There is taking artistic photos of your bath bomb from Lush, and then there is actually a picture of you. To be fair, there is sex appeal through enhancing your natural beauty and confidence and there is sexualizing yourself for attention and enticement. If you want to receive attention from people for the right reasons, it is valuable to consider your intentions and the type of attention you are seeking. It is a human trait to desire attention and appreciation from other people, however, your “vibe” attracts a mirror of what you feel about yourself. If you would like to attract positive attention from people, it needs to come from a “high vibe” place where you are not in a state of scarcity.
4. Set powerful intentions instead of setting goals.
Deepak Chopra has said many times that intention is powerful if you are seeking a result. If you are comparing intentions and setting goals in your relationships, goals can create more pressure and intentions can create more peace. Being intentional about manifesting loving, harmonious relationships will often create a more relaxed feeling than aggressive goal setting. While setting a social schedule each week is a great idea to propel you forward- and I recommend it- timelines can often create stress. If you are setting timelines for your social and relationship goals, be gentle yourself and create a balance of realistic goals and intentions that bring you inner peace. When your goals start stressing you out, it actually takes much longer for them to manifest. So, work towards getting organized in your schedule while not overanalyzing the time-clock for your goals.
5. If you would like to attract a relationship: Learn more about masculine/feminine energies.
When it comes to love, I am incredibly passionate about balancing masculine/feminine energies based on the person you would like to attract. The thing is, in order to attract the person you are probably looking for, you need a balance of both masculine and feminine energies. It sounds cliche or stereotypical to some people. Men and women are still very different. We are different biologically and hormonally. Our brains are wired differently. We process relationships differently. Lots of men and women want the same things from relationships but will express their priorities differently.
Just recently, I was sitting with a friend at a coffee shop and we were talking about the importance of feminine and masculine energy in a healthy relationship. Then, this guy suddenly interjected and said, “I agree with everything you say.” He overheard our conversation and felt the need to express that he agreed it was important. While this is more traditional, it is still valuable in creating healthy relationship dynamics.
As relationship expert and author, Patricia Allen, Phd. says, you need to decide if you want to be cherished or respected- in order to determine if you would like to be the masculine or feminine energy in a romantic relationship. Do you want your feelings to be cherished, or your thoughts to be respected? Allen says, “equity, not equality.” Men and women are equally valuable, but we have different things to offer in partnership.
If we want to feel balanced in our relationships, we need to focus on being balanced in our energies first. In my opinion, for instance, if you want to attract a masculine energy man, you need to be balanced in your feminine energies. Masculine energy men enjoy initiating pursuing feminine women and have the desire to provide and protect in the relationship. Masculine energy men enjoy feeling helpful and needed by feminine energy women.
On the flip side, in order for masculine energy men to relate to feminine energy women, they need to cultivate a nurturing quality within themselves, enabling them to better communicate and relate to women.
There are also masculine qualities that high-value men seek in women- such as intellectualism and independence. Possessing these qualities does not make a woman masculine, but they make her more attractive, desirable, and well-rounded. However, if a male is dominant in his masculine energy, he will usually not seek masculine traits in a woman first.
An example of balanced energies: Feminine energy woman with creative, expressive, sensual, intuitive traits and a hint of masculine energy in her intellectualism, independence, and maturity. Masculine energy man with ambitious, intellectual, physically strong traits and a hint of feminine energy in his nurturing, intuitive, and insightful qualities.
There are some qualities that cannot be qualified as masculine or feminine, such as extroversion and introversion and maturity. The key is to become the mirror of the energy of your desired partner.
6. If you would like to cultivate more friendships: Start putting yourself out there.
Friendships are always give and take. You never want to be the only want initiating hanging out. But if you want to make new friends, you need to initiate hanging out with new people. Be friendly and aware of how you are coming across. Express your desire to do fun things with new people. Plenty of people will feel the same way but hang back because they don’t want to make the first move.
If you are in a situation where you see the same people every day or on a regular basis, try to get to know your co-workers, classmates, or people you regularly see during the week. If you would like to connect with people, consider planning weekly to quarterly events with people in your circle of friends and professional contacts. Don’t waste opportunities to make new friends because you’re afraid of speaking up. Most people will be interested in connecting with other people, too. The more you work your social muscle, the more confident you will feel. It sucks to be isolated when you want to connect- so put yourself out there. Do fun things with new people.
I hope these practical tips were helpful to you in improving your relationships in the new year. Keep putting yourself out there and stay positive.