Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs places the need for love and belonging smack dab in the middle, emphasizing how important it is to form great relationships.

Of course, that’s sometimes easier said than done.

Until now, at least! Keep reading to learn how you can cultivate relationships that will add value to your life.

1. Think About Your Values

Great relationships begin with introspection. What is it that you value in a friendship, relationship, or working relationship?

Once you’ve narrowed it down to a few defining features, start looking for these qualities in others. When you see something that resonates with you, make an effort to reach out to the person.

It’s often easier to form long-lasting relationships with those who share similar viewpoints.

2. Practice Active Listening

In terms of soft skills, active listening is about as important as it gets.

Active listening is the practice of giving someone your full attention and responding appropriately.

A conversation where active listening is occurring follows a simple process. Let’s say your friend comes to you complaining about their day. While simply hearing them out is a great first step, active listening involves direct feedback.

You could nod your head, make eye contact, and even provide verbal signs that you’re giving your friend your attention. Another great thing to do is rephrase what the other person said.

People have a distinct need to feel heard. Active listening shows that you hear someone and recognize their experience.

3. Hold People Accountable

Accountability isn’t always easy, especially when it’s up to us to hold someone we care about accountable. Still, calling a friend out in a gentle way, or constructively speaking your mind can keep your closest relationships honest.

When musing about the meaning of life, Kristine Klussman points out that accountability is one of the most efficient ways to cultivate meaning in one’s life.

And don’t forget to let your friends and loved ones hold you accountable, too. Accountability is a two-way street, after all.

4. Communicate Your Needs

All too often, what we think we’re saying and what we’re actually saying don’t match up.

Practice clear, simple communication. If someone offends you, instead of bottling it up or acting in a passive-aggressive fashion, just say, “Hey, when you did ____ it made me feel ____. Can we talk about it?”

Believe it or not, communicating your needs is that easy. You’ll be amazed at how many miscommunications you can clear up this way.

5. Aim to Empathize

You can’t understand someone without walking a mile in their shoes. Taking the time and effort to consider someone else’s viewpoints and experiences might seem simple, but it can have a tremendous and lasting positive effect.

That isn’t even to say you even have to agree with a person’s viewpoint. However, the strongest relationships form when we learn to understand one another.

Learn to Cultivate Relationships That Enrich Your Life

Learning to cultivate relationships is one of the best things you can do for your personal life. In due time, you’ll have more friends, stronger bonds with loved ones, and the skills necessary to get ahead in your professional life.

Want more great ways to improve your life? Then make sure to check back with our blog!