As Valentines day approaches I feel it is a time to reflect on our other relationships in life as well as those with our other halves.
Time to reflect on our love and relationships with family and friends, as well as those people whom we come into contact with more on a less regular basis but who have a huge impact on our lives. Time perhaps to make new friendships too.
Here are some tips on building and strengthening current relationships and making new bonds.
Focus On Building A Connection
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Making an emotional connection and sharing experiences in common helps to make and build bonds. This can also be a way of making new friends too.
If you haven't seen your parents for a while why don't you make plans to meet them for dinner, or make time to catch up with your friends for that coffee in your local cafe? The teenage years can be tricky, but it's worth finding interests in common with your teenage kids. What about making the time to go bowling or to the cinema with them, or have a movie night at home where they choose the films and snacks?
If you are looking to take up a new hobby or interest, consider adult education classes, or online groups with the same interest to make new friendships. As James Stewart says in the film "It's A Wonderful Life", remember no man is a failure that has friends.
It's fine not to like everyone all the time but if you are yourself then your friends and loved ones will love you for who you are and they should love you unconditionally if they are a true friend. Don't put on a front and try to be someone else, that's not being true to yourself.
Remember we are all the same but very different too. Celebrate those differences by showing an interest in what they do that is different to you. If they go to dance classes, ask them about it or even join them. If they take up a new sport go and watch them play.
Don't Judge Others
This can be a difficult one but don't be the person who criticises everything as this can be so destructive. Remember we are all human and we all have flaws.
Judging others can bring negativity into this world. It is so much nicer to be accepting of people. Nobody is perfect. As my husband's grandmother used to say, " Think nice thoughts !".
Research has shown that being nice can make you more successful at work. I would also argue that being nice makes you more successful at home too in your personal relationships.
Doing something nice for someone, whether that is making them a cup of tea, buying them an unexpected gift or giving them a compliment makes them feel good and in turn you feel good too. Everyone is happier all round.
Pay It Forward
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Treat your partner when it's unexpected, such as bringing them breakfast in bed or buying your child a little treat now and again. They will love you for it. Be nice to people and they will be nice to you.
Tell me, do you have any tips to strengthen friendships and build family bonds? Have you ever "paid it forward"?
* post in collaboration with The Circle, all words are my own.