25 Tips for Strengthening Relationships

The ULTIMATE Relationship Building Guide

June 11, 2024 |

Coffee Connection

Do you ever feel off in your relationships but cannot pinpoint what’s wrong? This list of 25 relationship-building tools will help you identify core issues to quickly self-correct.

I guarantee you’ll find inspiration and specific ideas that will improve your close connections if you apply them. These tips apply to both home and work relationships. 

25 Relationship Tips

1. 7 Positives Each Day

I first learned about this from relationships expert and researcher John Gottman. Healthy relationships have approximately 6 times more positive interactions than negative ones. Focus your energy on encouraging those you care about. Aim at 7 positives each day.

2. Smile

A smile is attractive. Don’t hold back. Choosing to smile, when you don’t feel friendly, and/or choosing to engage people, when you feel like isolating, will impact your perspective positively.

3. Remember & Use First Names

I first learned this concept and about other tips in this article, from Dale Carnegies’s classic How to Win Friends & Influence People. A person’s first name is the word they love to hear the most. Pronounce and spell it correctly and use it often.

4. Ask About THEIR Interests

Discuss what they’re interested in, even if it’s not an interest of yours. Be curious about their life because you care about them. You’ll find that their passions may miracoulously become intesting to you as you hear them share.

“Everyone has an invisible sign hanging from their neck saying, ‘Make me feel important.’ Never forget this message when working with people.” – Mary Kay Ash

5. Be Honest

Honesty takes courage! The temptation to say what you believe others want to hear is very strong. A person who is honest with themselves first (e.g. owning what they think and feel) is a makes for a trustworthy friend. People pleasing doesn’t build trust or respect, but a courageously honest person does.

6. Listen Intentionally

Listening takes effort. Many people have an anxious tendency to formulate an answer before understanding what someone is saying. Here’s an activity I often give to families that will help.

Speaker/Listener Activity
Look over the Speaking/Listener Bookmark and read through the Speaker Listener Technique handout. Practice using this with different light-hearted topics (e.g. what happened during the day, funny experiences today, etc.). Another way to practice this skill is to pick a question as a topic from the 50 Questions pdf and discuss your answers.

7. See Conflict as an Opportunity

New ideas arise out of conflict! Take the time to grasp the other’s perspective before making judgments. The strongest relationships ALWAYS form through weathering storms together.

If you found this information helpful, SUBSCRIBE TODAY to access my free video & worksheet, Shatterproof Yourself: 7 Small Steps to a Giant Leap in Your Mental Health.

8. Be Curious (Ask Questions)

People intuitively know when someone is genuinely interested in their life. They also know when they’re viewed as an inconvenience. Treat people as if they have tremendous value, regardless of their position or standing in life, and they’ll love you for it. Here’s an article to help you grow your curiosity on My 20 Favorite Questions to Ask Clients.

9. Open Up

Share how you feel, both the good and bad emotions. Don’t be weird about it, just remember that transparency opens the door for trust to form. When people see you as real, they’ll start to trust you. Here’s an activity I challenge most clients to engage in.

Communicate/Journal Your Feelings Activity
Once each day, write down 2 positive and 2 negative emotion you’ve felt earlier or the day before. Use a Feelings Wheel and/or my Emotions Bookmark for ideas of specific emotions. Answer the following questions about those 2 emotions and share with someone you trust. a. Why do I feel this way? (e.g. what happened?) b. What does this feeling tell me about myself? (e.g. unmet need, desire, etc.)

10. Be Flexible

Change, try new things, forgive yourself for past mistakes, listen to other people’s ideas, and surprise people with your willingness to LIVE LIFE. You’ll soon realize that you’ve been missing out. Fight the tendency to want everything in order. Accept life on life’s terms.

11. Take a Risk

Take actions where you are vulnerable and could get rejected. Try something new. Ask a colleague out to lunch, share with someone what you appreciate about them, tell that special person you like them, and open up about how you feel when you normally hold back, play a new board or card game, or learn a new hobby.

12. Don’t Take it Personally

Choose to give people the benefit of the doubt. Grow thicker skin. Most people are not trying to intentionally annoy and irritate you. A favorite book on not taking what other’s do personally is Rhinoceros Success.

13. Don’t Criticize & Complain

Criticism is driven by fear (i.e., self-protection. Bite your tongue when tempted to critize remembering that your negativity most likely comes from anxiety. Find the good in others instead. Point out what you admire, appreciate, and are thankful for about them. Here’s a helpful article on the topic called How To Be Less Critical & More Encouraging.

14. Help Them Succeed

Find out what someone’s goals are and do what you can to help them succeed. Your confidence in yourself will grow as you help others succeed. Here’s 18 Ways to Build Self-Confidence.

If you found this information helpful, SUBSCRIBE TODAY to access my free video & worksheet, Shatterproof Yourself: 7 Small Steps to a Giant Leap in Your Mental Health. 

15. Share Your Personal Goals

If you hope to pay off your student loan debt in 2 years, letting others know you might inspire them to do the same. If you want to lose 20 pounds by Christmas, take a risk and tell someone. Other goal-driven people will be drawn to you!

16. Help Them Find Their Uniqueness

Help others find and use their abilities and you’ll win a fan for life. Give someone an opportunitiy to grow by inviting someone to join you at an event or ask somene for help you on a project. Expect resistance because you’re pushing against their fears.

“A rising tide lifts all ships” – John Fitzgerald Kennedy

17. Wish Them The Best

Whether you believe God answers prayer or not, hoping for the best for someone will start the process of changing your outlook for them. Relax for a few minutes and meditate on all you appreciate about someone.

18. Let Go of the Outcome

Often the best outcome is more likely than the worst outcome. Choose to focus on the best possible outcome. When you let go, sure you can get hurt, but you also allow the miracles to happen.

19. Be Yourself

Identify the traits you love in yourself and intentionally choose to let other people see those traits. If you need help identifying your positive qualities, ask a close friend to help. Use the worksheet that goes along with this article A Transformational Self Confidence Building Activity as a resource.

20. Pet Their Dog (or cat)

Not kidding here! People love their animals. If they are passionate about their snake or their daughter’s pet rats, take the time to get to know more about the pets. Prove to them that they are more important to you than your level of comfort.

“I believe that you can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” -Zig Ziglar

21. See Rejection as an Opportunity

I started Decide Your Legacy in 2012, with the attitude that rejection was a step in the direction of success. This attitude gave me the courage meet new people and do things where I could get fail. The willingness to experience potential rejection helps you succeed.

22. Maintain Boundaries

Don’t say “yes” when you want to say “no”. Respond to boundary violations assertively. Good people are attracted to those with healthy boundaries.

23. Engage

You can’t strengthen relationships with people you don’t spend time with and invest in. Consistently interact with people you want to get closer to. This can be done over the phone, via Zoom, by text, email, through letters, and other forms of technology.

24. Grow Yourself

Healthy people gravitate toward growth-oriented people. Taking time to develop your skills, hobbies, and passions will draw good people your way.

If you found this information helpful, SUBSCRIBE TODAY to access my free video & worksheet, Shatterproof Yourself: 7 Small Steps to a Giant Leap in Your Mental Health. 

25. Talk with an Expert

A professional can help you find insist into your relationship blind sports. Find a mentor or coach to provide insight into obstacles that might be sabotaging your relationships.

Take Action

Which of these 25 tips is the hardest for you to apply?

Related Content
20 Questions to Ignite Meaningful Conversations (post) by Adam Gragg
Overcoming the Fear of Rejection (post) by Adam Gragg
50 Excellent & Fun Relationship-Building Questions (post) by Adam Gragg
How to Be Less Critical & More Encouraging (post) by Adam Gragg
How To Show People How Valuable They Are (post) by Adam Gragg