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7 Keys to Better Relationships

Would you like to enhance the quality of your life and increase your personal happiness? If you answered "yes," the information in this article could change your life!

Isn't it easy to get stuck in the everydayness of life? We can get so busy making a living and getting ahead financially that the really important things fall through the cracks!

That can happen to all of us. However, when people come to the end of their lives, they don't wish they had spent more time making money. When all is said and done, we want our family and friends to be with us then!

So let's try to focus on developing better relationships instead of acquiring more things. Think of your circle of family and friends as a lovely garden to water and cultivate. The book of Proverbs teaches this crucial truth: "A man that has friends must show himself friendly" (Proverbs 18:24).

Here are 7 keys that will help your relationships to bloom:

1. Spend time with your friends and loved ones.

Although this is obvious, we need to intentionally set aside time in our schedules for them no matter how busy we think we are. Put appointments with friends and family into your daytimer or palm pilot. If you don't do this, you may forget and months and even years can go by without seeing these special people. The sad fact is that those relationships can dry up and wither away from neglect.

Many marriages fail for just this reason. People are often too busy to spend enough time with each other and one or both of the partners can't take the neglect. If you want your relationships to bloom, you have to water them with quality time. How long would a rose garden be lush and beautiful if no one watered it for days without end?

2. Genuinely appreciate the special people in your life.

Tell them how much they mean to you. Mention their good qualities and how special they are. For example, if you need to correct your children's behavior, be sure to spend twice as much time appreciating their positive qualities than reprimanding their negative ones.

3. Learn to say, "I was wrong. Please forgive me."

This will do wonders for your relationships. Humility is a beautiful quality in any person. Someone who thinks he or she is always right can be impossible to live with. If your habitual attitute is "I'm ALWAYS right," that's a poisonous plant that will spread and ruin your entire garden. Apologizing and asking for forgiveness when we've done something wrong does not degrade us. Instead it shows that we are growing up.

4. Be quick to forgive and don't hold grudges.

Bury the past. Bitterness never helped anyone. It only hurts the bitter person. Don't let the agressive weeds of unforgiveness spoil your garden. Try not to crush tender relationship plants by being harsh and unforgiving.

5. Learn to say "thank you" a lot.

Everyone loves to be appreciated for what he or she has done instead of being taken for granted. You may be thrilled by the vibrant blossoms of encouragement that will result from taking time to say "thank you."

6. Listen more than you talk.

In a game of tennis it would be very strange for one of the players to bounce the ball up and down on his or her side instead of hitting the ball back to the other player. The same could be said for the game of ping pong. These games teach a powerful lesson. If you are always talking and other people don't have a chance to get a word in edgewise, you won't be very popular for long.

7. Go out of your way to help others in practical ways.

If a friend is in the hospital, go visit him. If a neighbor is going through a difficult financial time, bring groceries over to help tide him or her through the crisis.

If you follow these simple but powerful suggestions for nurturing your relationships, you yourself will also reap benefits in the form of increased happiness, pep and vitality. That's because our relationships are far more important to our wellbeing than how much money we make or how well we're doing climbing the corporate ladder.

Why not take a personal inventory of your life today? Put these suggestions into practice and become more effective in cultivating your special relationships.

Happy gardening!

(c) copyright 2004 by Patricia Wagner

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About the Author

Patricia Wagner offers informative tips on living a more energetic lifestyle at and through her free "A to Z Health Tips" newsletter. Subscribe at Contact Patricia at

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