What skills you you need for a healthy relationship? Why do relationship skills matter? And how do you build the relationship skills that are most important?
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What are relationship skills?
Relationship skills are a set of skills that help you form healthy, happy, and strong connections. When you have deep connections with others, people who you can spend time with, you are able to enjoy just about everything else in life a bit more.
Why is it important to build relationship skills?
When you have relationship skills, you build happy relationships easily, and as a result, you enjoy spending time with others. Strong connections also enable you to have a secure base and engage in activities with the people who you care about. All of these things make life more enjoyable.
So what relationship skills should you build?
Communication – Communication is key when building healthy relationships. Being willing and able to clearly communicate your emotions, values, and needs honestly is essential. When you help your partner truly know you, they interact with you in ways that are mutually beneficial. If they don't know you and what you need, it's unlikely that they'll be able to guess correctly, and you can end up feeling unsatisfied.
Non-defensive listening – Being willing to listen to what the other person has to say is key to working through any issues that may arise. Instead of justifying your actions or defending yourself, try to empathize with what they are saying. This openness is essential for mutual respect and makes it more likely that they will do the same for you.
Honesty – It’s important not to be dishonest to avoid conflict. Omitting information (or lying) only leads to distance and distrust. Even though being honest can hurt the other person (and you), it generates a sense of connection and trust. Just be careful not to nag or bring up every little issue of flaw. The goal is to bring up topics that are impacting the quality of the relationship.
Emotion regulation – Being able to manage your emotions is another great relationship skill to have. Emotional discussions in relationships are bound to include anger, anxiety, and even sadness. Learning how to give those emotions a back seat while trying to solve the issue at hand is key. When you calm your emotions and clear your thoughts, you can better figure out how to move forward effectively.
Check out this Ted Talk to help you build relationship skills
Activities to develop relationship skills:
About Dr. Tchiki Davis
Dr. Davis is founder of The Berkeley Well-Being Institute. After getting her PhD in psychology at Berkeley, she started creating online content & programs to boost well-being—some of these have reached more than a million people. As author of Outsmart Your Smartphone, and contributor to Psychology Today, The Greater Good Science Center, and Shine Text, Dr. Davis aims to share her insights on happiness & health with people all across the world. Learn more about Dr. Davis.