When you’re not getting on well with the people around you it can make it difficult to be successful in anything you’re doing, including studying.
Improving your skills in relating to others can improve all parts of your life – your family, friends and work relationships – especially in times of conflict.
Learning to recognise your feelings, and the messages they are telling you, and then being able to communicate these feelings effectively to others are important skills for developing positive relationships. It’s also essential to try to understand other people and their feelings.
Developing, and practicing, these skills will help you to manage your relationships better, both at work and at home.
Things to do
Being a good listener is fundamental to having good relationships. This means not being distracted by your own thoughts when someone is speaking to you, and not working out what you’re going to say next either.
Take the MindTools Listening Skills Quiz below to find out how good your listening skills really are.
It’s important to listen to yourself as well. Paying attention to your mood can help you learn more about your feelings, how to manage them and how your emotions affect your decisions.
If you want to develop your emotional intelligence, try using the Mood Meter app.
Being assertive doesn’t necessarily mean you always get what you want. However, it does mean that you are able to balance your needs with those of others and make clear requests for what you would like.
You can improve your assertiveness by using statements like:
“I feel… when you….because…and I want/need….”
The Assertive communication link below has some other suggestions to help improve your ability to be assertive.
Learning to argue and still remain respectful is a skill that will make getting along with people easier. The Conflict Resolution Network listed below explains how by fighting fair everyone can win.
To fight fair, you need to:
- be willing to fix the problem
- say what the problem is for you
- listen to what the problem is for them
- attack the problem, not the person
- look for answers so everyone gets what they need.
What is not acceptable is:
- name calling
- put downs
- sneering or blaming
- threats and/or physical violence such as hitting
- bringing up the past
- making excuses
- not listening
- getting even.
One strategy that can help you connect with others at work is to express your gratitude or appreciation to people for the things they have done or said. Be specific and sincere and tell them either in person, by phone or send them an email.
There are four behaviours that can really damage your relationships: criticism, contempt, defensiveness and stonewalling. Luckily there are antidotes too!
Watch this video to find out what these behaviours look like and how to address them.