Whether it is a romantic, business, family, friendly, a casual relationship, we change and are changed by the constant interactions we have with other human beings. As we place meaning to each and every interaction we have, even the 10 second interaction you have with a complete stranger creates some kind of change within us.
So let's look at 10 different ways the interactions we have within the array of relationships we form and create, change us!
1. Personal growth
Relationships can provide opportunities for personal growth and development. For example, being in a relationship may inspire you to become a better person, or to work on areas of your life that need improvement. Encouragement from, or even just looking up to a person can allow you to create change within yourself faster than if you hadn't been inspired by them.
2. Communication skills
Good relationships require you to develop and improve your communication skills. For example, being in a relationship may help you learn how to more effectively express your thoughts and feelings so that you feel more heard and understood. At the same time, further developing the skills of how to listen and understand the perspectives of others.
3. Emotional intelligence
Relationships can help you develop your emotional intelligence, which is the ability to recognize and understand your own emotions and the emotions of others. Developing an "emotional vocabulary" so that you are better understood and can understand better you and their emotions is key.
Relationships can boost your confidence and self-esteem. When you feel supported and loved by someone, it can help you feel more confident in yourself and your abilities. We can all look back at a time when someone believed in us more than we believed in ourselves. While we may not have recognized, or even acknowledged it then, unconsciously, it helped.
5. Personal values
Relationships can also help you clarify your personal values and beliefs. The more relationships you create and form, the more exposed you become to different perspectives and ideas. . After all, you don't know what you don't know so, relationships can create a wonderful opportunity to expose yourself to new concepts, ideas and ways of thinking that otherwise might not have come naturally to you. This free-form sharing of ideas, viewpoints and beliefs can help you better understand your own values and what is important to you.
6. Problem-solving skills
Relationships at some point will involve conflicts and challenges, which can help you develop your problem-solving skills. I work with lots of people who "don't like conflict". To this I say, "there is no need to 'like conflict' you simply need to, get comfortable handling conflict". Maintaining good relationships require that you learn how to compromise, communicate effectively, and resolve conflicts in a healthy way. Further developing these skills will make you a conflict-squasher in no time!
Relationships require you to learn how to adapt and be flexible. This is simply due to the fact that you are attempting to connect and understand a complete and separate entity with their own beliefs, dreams, ideas, upbringing and life experiences. For this reason, relationships are by far the most rewarding, as well as the most terrifying experiences in the entirety of the human experience. Being adaptable might mean making adjustments to your routine, or to be open to trying new things. It could mean being flexible and open to processing and understanding different ideas, beliefs, cultural normalcies and more. Being flexible and adaptable is one of the greatest and worst abilities we have as human beings (a double edged sword if you will). On the one hand we can adapt and live with anyone, anywhere in the world, even in the harshest of climates and under the worst conditions. On the other, we can adapt and live with anyone, anywhere in the world, even in the harshest of climates and under the worst conditions. Good, healthy relationships can help us balance this wonderful skill.
Relationships can help you to develop empathy, which is the ability to understand and share in the feelings of others. Everyone has needs. One of those needs is to be understood. If someone feels like you don't understand them they will distance themselves from the relationship. Because of this, in order to maintain healthy relationships, you learn to be more understanding and compassionate towards your partner and others.
9. Interpersonal skills
Having lots of relationships better helps you develop your interpersonal skills, such as how to build and maintain healthy relationships with others. Through trial and error most of us have unconsciously built up what is known as "interpersonal skills". These are the social building blocks we have learned of what to do and not do to maintain our relationships. These skills include verbal and nonverbal communication, the ability to handle conflict, teamwork, empathy, listening, and a positive attitude. The more and varied relationships you have the better interpersonal skills you can develop!
10. Social support
Relationships can provide social support, which help us feel more connected and less isolated. I mentioned one of our human needs earlier as the need to be "understood". This need to be understood however falls under the much deeper rooted need for connection. Ultimately we have a need to be connected with and to connect with others. When you have supportive relationships, you may feel more confident and capable of handling challenges and difficulties in life.
There you have it! 10 ways that having relationships with people change us and them! So what are you waiting for? Go! Connect with others and have experiences that challenge you to make decisions about how you want to think, feel and behave regarding those experiences. Grow, learn and live your life as if it were an adventure written by you, starring you and directed by you! There are so many ways in which we change and are changed by the people we come into contact with each and everyday. Go and find this out for yourself and remember, remember that that you are love and that you are loved. Always!