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.

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