Why Relationships are Important and How to Build Them

Once when I was in the sixth grade, I asked my sister to make sandwiches for my school picnic. A string of events occurred, and she declared I was selfish.

I realized that I was more interested in getting my work done, rather than the feelings and responses of other people. The acknowledgement that I was a bad person and that people knew about it was suffocating. I understood that I would be left alone if I did not change.

I consciously tried to become a better person by caring for other people and by showing that I cared.

Why are relationships important?

Imagine. You go to office, work at your desk with your stooped back, walk to the coffee machine, walk back to your desk without even saying hi to anyone in the pantry. Repeat. You attend formal meetings without any candid conversations or see-you-later-at-lunch with any colleague. Repeat. You lunch alone hidden in one corner of the cafeteria because you don’t want your eyes to catch anyone else’s. Repeat. You drive back home or in a cab, reach home, spend time with your family or stay alone.

Wouldn’t you get bored? I got bored writing this routine. Wouldn’t you need help? Wouldn’t you feel like sharing a pizza or drinking masala chai with someone? Wouldn’t you want to crack a horrible joke?

I have not come across even one person who want to live such a life. Maybe, it is just me. But where are these people who don’t need any company?

Humans like to personalize everything. To make life simpler. Mutual sharing is in our DNA and we miss it. Keith Ferrazzi said in his book Who’s Got Your Back, “A person is a person through other persons”.

Robert Waldinger, a psychiatrist and director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, ted-talked about the observations from the 80 year or the longest happiness study conducted on 800 men. Guess what keeps us happy? Wealth, fame or a successful career? Keep guessing.

The study suggested that more socially connected people are happier, healthier, and they live longer. Men who leaned into relationships with family, friends, and community were happier than the more popular, wealthier, and successful men.

Susan Pinker, a developmental psychologist, delivered a Ted talk about the secrets to living longer which were based on a study of the Italian Island of Sardinia, where the centenarians are 10 times more than in North America. She said that the islanders were always surrounded by family, friends, grocery sellers, neighbors, priests, and bartenders. The study observed that women live longer because they groom more face to face social relationships — which creates a biological force field against diseases.

Sometimes when I am alone, I sulk. I feel ugly and fat. I doubt my work strategies and wonder if my dreams would ever come true. Maybe my parents were right about taking a corporate job or that I should have married.

Then, an out-of-touch friend messages that he has been following me and respects me. A traveling friend calls me on a Sunday evening when I am on my own. An ex-director messages that he would miss me. I glance at my English summer camp t-shirt on which a volunteer had scribbled that I was the friendliest person she had ever met.

At my last corporate job, without being asked, I advised my manager on his anger issues. He told me that my guidance — just open conversations — helped him. This same manager is a big supporter now.

These people are not only responding to my writing but to the connections we shared. And sometimes, they pick me up on my lowest days.

Candidness is a human touch that we all so desperately need. People around us help us to be open and candid — which relaxes us. Else our whole life would be like a boring desk job, right?

Referring back to Keith Ferrazzi — everything, even business, always boils down to people. We need to do our work individually and then we need people. As a writer, I struggle alone for hours in the morning. But then I need writers to review my drafts and readers to read them. Even readers read when they feel a connection with the writer.

The essence of life is intelligently done hard work and a strong community of confidants around you. Click To Tweet
We don’t know everything about everything. Every now and then we all need help. We need to identify what we can offer and what we need from our relationships.

When we are there for people, they are also there for us. Click To Tweet

 

As we have understood even the science behind the importance of a healthy social life, let us look at the ways we can build these crucial relationships.

Robert Greene said in his book Art of Seduction, successful seduction begins with your ability to radiate some quality that attracts people, and stirs their emotions in a way that is beyond their control. Here are some of these qualities.

 

Keep yourself below people.

Twenty-five centuries ago, Lao-Tse, a Chinese philosopher said, that rivers and seas are called the kings of the valley because they keep below them. Thus they reign all over the mountain streams.

If you wish to be above people, keep yourself below them. Make them feel important and that their opinions count; they become sympathetic and kind. When I showed people that they were better and more important, they treated me as someone more important.

 

Be vulnerable.

When you show vulnerability, people connect with you; it brings intimacy and openness. Television Sitcom Friends was successful as the error prone, sometimes emotionally weak, lead characters succeeded despite their fears and problems; that’s when common people could relate to them.

 

Bring humor to life.

After a family get-together, my brother said to my mother, “She joked with everyone but she did not say anything disrespectful.” His observation boosted my confidence to joke around. This attitude helped me build better my relationships at work and in personal life.

Make people laugh. Anne Lamott, author of Bird by Bird, said in her Ted talk that laughter is carbonated holiness.

 

Listen to people.

A university friend of mine, to whom I hadn’t spoken for a few years, visited Bangalore a few years ago for an interview. I was at work when she sent an impromptu message. I met her and stayed at work two hours longer to make up for the lost time. We both won each other by giving each other another chance and some time.

Let your friends come back to you. Learn to forgive.

Take out time to listen to people and friends. As William Ury — co-founder of Harvard’s Program on Negotiation, author, consultant to the White House — said in his Ted talk, people listen to you when you listen to them; listening is contagious.

 

Admit your mistakes. 

Ask for forgiveness. People go soft when you admit mistakes. Once, my ex-boyfriend did something terrible and came running to me, accepting his mistake and asking for forgiveness. I couldn’t be angry with him.

Sophocles, the ancient Greek tragedian, said that truth is always the strongest argument.

 

Let people be who they are.

A friend of mine once told me that she peed while climbing stairs as she was drunk and laughing and the toilet was still two minutes away. I told her it was okay and that we all do it. I have never done it but who knows the future? What if I have done worse? No one is perfect.

Don’t point out the mistakes or embarassments of someone right away even if you know they are wrong. They would be hurt and would become defensive and conscious. Tell them that all humans make mistakes.

Martin Luther said, judge people by their own principles, not yours.

 

Replace screen time with people time in your relationships.

Stan Tatkin, a researcher and a relationship expert, told in his Ted talk to look into the eyes of people when you talk. He said we are visual animals who need our eyes to manipulate each other’s nervous system.

Robert Waldinger and Susan Pinker, both of whom I have referred to before, agree to this. Susan Pinker said that personal and digital interactions are different as physical gestures such as high-fives and eye contact releases oxytocin which increases trust and lowers stress.

Look at each other rather than the screen.

 

Interact genuinely with everyone around you.

Susan Pinker presented another observation that the top two predictors for long and happy life were social: people you can count on and number of people you interact with as you move along your day — not only close people but people such as your maid, cook, building watchman, cab driver, grocery seller, parlor ladies, showroom salesman, ticket collectors.

These people also deserve a look, a smile, a handshake, a joke. I work from home and the morning conversations with my maid and cook forms a huge part of my human contact every day.

Spend some time listening to their problems, concerns, and needs — forming a genuine human connection. Helping when you can. Adding some value to their life.

Our achievements are also reflected in the achievements and gains of those around us. Click To Tweet
Add value to people’s lives if you want them to add to yours.

Be expressive while managing your boundaries. Talk to people in the lift, in a queue, at the doctor’s, or at the dentist’s.

Share your problems; then people share theirs. Let others help you. It makes them feel needed which is crucial for strong relationships.

If you go to a physical group activity, don’t just work out while watching your toes all the time. Talk to people. Laugh about how rigid your body is. Sweat together. At my yoga center, I do partner exercises with a lady. Now, in heavy rains she asks if she can drop me home. I don’t accept her offer but it feels assuring that, if needed, I won’t be stuck at the flooded yoga building with an old guard and some random dudes from an office, who are really helpful but worry too much, making me conscious.

Touch people. Literally. I am going to write a separate article about how human touch makes a huge difference. Hug them, kiss their cheeks like South Americans, run your hand through their hair, brush their shoulder or back, hold their hand. Human touch is natural and it personalizes the relationship; we were not born to be physically isolated. But within your limits and without making anyone awkward. Don’t hold a husband’s hand in front of his wife or behind her. Replace that with a deeper smile. Or maybe a gentle quick brush on the shoulder which does not suggest anything else. Some men right now are saying, we are men and we don’t touch men. Doesn’t matter. You can also brush someone’s shoulder or arm. Or just smile eye to eye.

Reciprocate compliments. Not everyone has the heart to give them.

Observe people’s reactions to your behavior. Adapt as per each person. Let it go when people do not respond. Make them feel completely at ease around you.

 

I have been stuck at borders without a visa. I have been pickpocketed in a new city. I drank with strangers in Bangkok knowing they wanted to sleep with me. Interested men who touched me felt bad as I showed them that I trusted them and that they were breaking my trust and they had to fix it.

Even when I am alone, I don’t feel unsafe, no matter in what part of the world I am and at what hour. I am cautious. But I believe in the goodness of people. Even strangers. If you are nice to them, they would be nice to you. The other day, I told my friend that the cook and the maid at my new house are really good. She said, “Because you are good”.

With my close people, I can share my goals, fears, successes, and dreams. A friend’s company or help is always a call away. They encourage me and give me perspective. They tell me the truth when I need to hear it. Were all my plans and ideas always right? No. But I needed support while I walked the path, only to realize that I was wrong.

I have made it, mostly, by being nice.

When Anne Frank, despite everything, can believe that people are really good at heart, so can you. Click To Tweet
If someone drops her coins on the floor, you have to get down on your knees to pick them. Believe me, nothing bad comes out of goodness as long as you don’t let people run over you. You wouldn’t even realize but the same people would come back to glue the broken pieces of your life.

 

Why Relationships Are Important

 

What do you think about creating healthy relationships?

15 Comments

  1. Vance Pardy May 26, 2018 at 5:41 am

    I really can’t believe how great this site is. Keep up the good work. I’m going to tell all my friends about this place.

    Reply
  2. suresh January 20, 2018 at 6:19 am

    loved it

    Reply
    1. Priyanka Gupta January 22, 2018 at 11:44 pm

      Thank you Suresh. I am glad you liked the article. Please keep reading and stay connected 🙂

      Reply
  3. borvestinkral November 8, 2017 at 9:10 am

    I like what you guys are up also. Such smart work and reporting! Keep up the superb works guys I have incorporated you guys to my blogroll. I think it will improve the value of my site 🙂

    Reply
    1. Priyanka Gupta November 14, 2017 at 10:39 pm

      Thanks Borvestinkral.

      Appreciate you reading my blog and leaving your comment. Thanks for including my blog to your blogroll.

      Please stay connected.

      Reply
  4. Lorilee Fluck September 25, 2017 at 5:33 am

    I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own weblog and was wondering what all is required to get setup? I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny? I’m not very web smart so I’m not 100 sure. Any tips or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you

    Reply
    1. Priyanka Gupta September 25, 2017 at 9:08 pm

      Thanks Lorilee. I am glad you liked the website.

      I have tried to keep the website design simple and reader friendly. There is a lot of content available on the internet regarding blog development. Choose a nice theme as per your requirement and start. Slowly keep making changes. I have a WordPress with a simple theme and some plugins.

      I had started with this blog post but now I just go to any website which resolves my need – https://www.tipsandtricks-hq.com/how-do-i-start-a-blog-and-make-money-online-483

      All the best.
      Stay connected.
      Priyanka

      Reply
  5. Surabhi September 15, 2017 at 12:56 pm

    Loved it 🙂

    Reply
    1. Priyanka Gupta September 15, 2017 at 12:57 pm

      Thank you 🙂

      Reply
  6. SN August 25, 2017 at 12:22 am

    You just spoke my mind! It’s the people who matter most, people who are close to you. Money gets you a house, people make it a home. Walk, talk, fight, laugh, love! It’s a short life, live it to the max with the folks around you.
    Keep going Ms Priyanka 🙂

    Reply
    1. Priyanka Gupta August 25, 2017 at 1:31 am

      Thank you Starak for visiting and your thoughts 🙂

      Yes, walk, talk, fight, laugh, love. There is nothing more and stay close to close people.
      Stay connected.

      Reply
  7. Carolina Escalona August 24, 2017 at 10:01 pm

    Loved it! You know I travel alone and that there are a lot of prejudices and that most people here are afraid of doing so. But I always start my trips asking to meet the best people and in doing so, my spirit and heart become lighter and cheerful. And believe me, you only connect with people in the same tune. But it’s also important to feed those relationships around you. I’m working on it. Cheers, my friend. You are quite a sociable girl.

    Reply
    1. Priyanka Gupta August 24, 2017 at 10:59 pm

      Thank you Carolina for visiting. You are right, meeting people lift up our spirits and make us feel that everything is going to be all right. I know you are. I hope you have great luck in making new relationships 🙂

      Thank you so much for reading and your feedback. Please stay connected.

      Reply
    2. Harish Mistry September 5, 2017 at 12:11 am

      Yup. Carolina is on point. You attract those who are similar to you (be it friendship circle, travel buddies, close acquaintances). As you resonate with each other. Almost altruistically.
      And I also like what she said “it’s important to feed the relationships around you”. To write in a similar style to the blogger… The difference between to like and to love. A quote by unknown, “when you like a flower, you pluck it. But when you love a flower, you water it daily…” 😉

      Reply
      1. Priyanka Gupta September 5, 2017 at 11:21 am

        Thanks Harish for visiting and for the comment 🙂

        I agree, you want to stay closer to people you resonate with. Always 🙂
        It is important to feed the relationships around you like plants.

        Love your quote. Did you like the article?

        Stay connected. 🙂

        Reply

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