To be a truly great partner in any relationship requires effort and a major dose of consciousness. The latter is without question the deciding factor.

Whether you’re looking to improve your relationships with your spouse, family, friends, coworkers, boss, business partners or whomever, I’ve discovered there are several universal techniques that—when engaged by both parties—will make it successful and long-lasting. Let’s take a peek at how to build the most enjoyable relationships.

Find a common interest. Sharing passions, interests, hobbies or anything of that ilk will help even the oddest of couples get along better. The trick is to make sure to seek that common ground as early as possible and build on it as you go. I once had an obstinate, new client become extremely accommodating mere seconds after she heard my dog bark. You guessed it. She was a dog lover through and through.

Pay attention. I considered listing this one as “Listen.” That wouldn’t have been strong enough. Listening is fabulous and should be done with the intent to hear and understand rather than to respond. But, “paying attention” is a higher level of awareness. What you pay attention to or what you focus on will grow—good or bad. Remember that.

Dwell on the positives. What you pay attention to will grow and what you think about you’ll bring about. You can focus on someone’s shortcomings or you can focus on someone’s positive traits. The latter is easier and more fun.

Speak positively. There’s that word “positive” again. Dwelling on the positives is one thing. You can internalize the positives all you want (and that’s good), but actually communicating (as in out loud) in a positive manner requires a different level of energy. The other party isn’t a mind reader. Remember that too.

Pick up the slack. Have you ever had a bad day? Neither have I. Apparently there are many people in the world who occasionally have one. Perhaps they need a little compassion. Maybe they just need a helping hand to make it through the day. Make sure both of yours are ready. You might toss in a foot or two while you’re at it.

Compliment freely. Compliments are inexpensive and make people feel great. Just make sure you’re sincere. And appropriate. Especially if you’re at work. You get the gist.

Perform random acts of kindness. There are birthdays, anniversaries, boss’ day (hint to the milewalk team who better be working right now), and so on. What’s wrong with a little gift and a little love on a Tuesday that’s nothing other than Tuesday?

Share. What’s mine is yours is a great way to go through life. I’m sure my wife will take this opportunity to swipe my favorite pair of cutoff sweatpants that she covets. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do in the name of love.

Laugh. Have you ever noticed that whenever you laugh you can’t think about anything bad? Do it together and that makes two people who can’t think of anything bad.

Play. All work and no play… Moving right along.

Turn off your phone. I would have said, “Block all distractions and enjoy each other,” but this little expression seems to cover that in this day and age.

Say “Thank You!” I think these are the two most powerful words in the English language. Of course, they can be followed by “I love you,” which are the three most powerful words in the English language. (Please keep that one to non-work related relationships.) Rolling right along, the four most powerful words in the English language are “I need your help.”

I’d love to hear from you: What are your favorite techniques for building long-lasting, enjoyable relationships?
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