I boarded the bus and found a seat in the last row, next to two young people who were chatting away. I sat there observing them… I was struck by their relationship. Looking at each other’s eyes, they listened to each other, sitting close together. Each one’s body posture shifted as if reflecting on the other, and their voices alternated in a kind of conversational dance. Watching them confirmed to me that there is an art to being in a relationship.
What is the secret to being in a relationship and creating magic? How can you improve the way you’re in a relationship, and the way you connect with others? We are all driven to be in a relationship with others. We’re in a relationship with our friends, our family members, colleagues at work, and unknown individuals who appear in our lives at work or during our holidays. Welcome to the art of relationship and the 7 keys to being successful in your own relationships. Take good note…
1.Connect with the other person
Give your full attention to the person opposite you. Refrain from imposing a subject or monologue of your own. Instead, take an interest in the other person and their situation; open up a dialogue from a place of curiosity, and be fully engaged.
2. What I like about what you’re saying is…
A conversation is like a dance between two people. That means that each idea or comment is welcome, without you needing to redirect the dialogue to suit your interests or follow an imaginary script. Instead of trying to prove you’re right, you’ll make the conversation more meaningful by thanking the other person and complimenting their ideas, saying, “What I like about what you’re saying is…”
3. Make the other person the protagonist
Make the other person feel important. Show interest by asking open questions such as “What’s important to you?” “What would your perfect day look like?” or “What are your dreams?” Observe each reaction and continue from there, stringing together a conversation and building the relationship from whatever shows up at each moment. Explore.
4. Identify the topic
When you show an interest in the other person, uncovering their interests and finding what motivates them, you’ll have an opportunity to identify shared areas of interest. Celebrate that you’ve found what you have in common, then continue co-creating a dialogue from whatever engaging topic happens to be useful and of interest to both of you.
5. Let your hair down
Let your hair down and allow yourself to flow with the conversation, without needing to determine the topic or redirect the conversation based on your own desires and expectations.
Allow yourself to be in the moment and listen to the other person, with the curiosity of someone discovering something new.
6. Give without expecting anything in return
Giving means being of service to others without expecting anything in return. As the other person’s interests and concerns emerge from the conversation, you may decide to be of assistance and lend them a hand. Give yourself permission to surprise the other person and solidify your relationship with them even more.
7. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes
Embrace empathy. Embrace the ability to step into the other person’s shoes and feel what they are feeling, or even what they might be thinking. Empathetic people give their full attention and consideration to all of the messages, verbal and non-verbal, that the other person is giving. They try to put themselves in the other person’s position and “read” what they are feeling.
Being in a relationship is an art; no doubt about it. It’s an art that’s dynamic, complex and ever-changing. Each moment, each context and each connection has an impact on our relationships and on our lives. We need to deal with relationships from the moment we’re born until the day we die. It’s impossible to live without relationships; they are essential to who we are as human beings. And naturally, you get to decide with whom to be, or not be, in a relationship. It’s up to you to decide how to awaken the magic in your relationships.
Silvia Bueso is a certified professional coach and an expert in The Art of Asking. She helps nonprofit leaders effectively make the ask in a way that allows them to achieve their teams’, projects’ and organizations’ objectives.