“The good life is built with good relationships.”
― Robert Waldinger
The Benefits of Meaningful Relationships
The quality of your romantic and platonic relationships impacts your overall health and happiness.
Quality beats quantity when it comes to relationships.
Having healthy relationships allows you to:
- Live longer – commitment for a life partner.
- Better cope with stress – support from family and friends.
- Be physically healthier – reliability of family and friends.
- Increase well-being – by having quality friends in their lives.
In a TEDx talk, Robert Waldinger discusses the effects that relationships have on people’s happiness based on a 75-year long study.
Here are the benefits of having good quality relationships:
- Those are happier, healthier, and can live longer than those who are less well-connected.
- Those have sharper memories knowing that they have people they can depend on.
- Those in their 50s who experience a high level of satisfaction in their relationships are the healthiest.
The Negative Effects of Loneliness
Isolation is harmful to your physical, emotional, and spiritual health.
- Depression, pain, and fatigue.
- Decreased immune function.
- Higher blood pressure – after five or more years of loneliness.
- Less happiness, shorter lifespan, and earlier declination in health and brain function than those who have good quality relationships.
The sad truth is that one out of five Americans is lonely!
How to Deepen Your Connections With Others
You should continuously nourish your existing relationships with time and effort while expanding your social circle.
To create more meaningful relationships, you have to understand social dynamics.
The two books I highly recommend are:
- How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
- This is the bible of social dynamics.
- It not only teaches you on how to become a powerful social connector but also on how to become an effective leader.
- The Charisma Myth by Olivia Fox Cabane
- This book shows how you can learn charisma because it’s not an innate trait.
- Olivia highlights the important roles of nonverbal communication and the power of vulnerability, the ability to connect deeper with others.
- The book includes many practical exercises that you can start applying in your daily life, which will eventually become second nature to you.
Expanding Your Social Circle
Step 1: Identify Your Values
- A simple question you can ask yourself is “What do I value (health, relationship, integrity, etc.) in my life?”
- Write your answers on a piece of paper (or type them out) and rank them.
- To be authentic and genuinely connect with others, you have to first understand yourself and know your values.
Step 2: Go Out and Meet People (The Most Important and Challenging Part)
- Genuinely smile at others with open body language and start conversations.
- These are places (gym, grocery store, etc.) that you already spend time in or you can join local Meetup groups (or create your own) that interest you.
Step 3: Host Events
- Plan events (movie nights, dinner at restaurants, etc.) and invite existing friends and any new friends that you have just met. I typically host hiking events or rock-climbing trips. But it’s simple as inviting friends out to brunch or wine-tasting.
- Leverage your network by asking your friends and new friends to invite their friends.
Step 4: Qualification Process
- Because you’re the host of the event, most people there will already know you. But those who don’t will want to meet you!
- At the event, take the lead and find time to meet anyone you don’t know.
- Because you know your values, you can confidently filter in who you want to further develop relationships with.
Step 5: Repetition
- You can repeat this process again and again to grow your network!
Over time, you will grow a big social network with people who you share similar values with.
You will then have created meaningful relationships with people by design, and not by default!
Your happiness is directly correlated to the quality of your relationships.
By having quality relationships, you don’t feel lonely because you know there are people who you can depend on.
In effect, you can tell your confidants any challenges or struggles you’re facing.
The act of simply sharing my challenges with my close friends enables me to relieve the burden.
Just by sharing my struggles with them alleviates the pain that I carry regardless if they can help me or not.
Most times you’re not seeking for advice, but for someone to understand the pain or feelings that you’re experiencing.
The top five regrets of the dying according to Bronnie Ware’s book The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing are they wished they had:
- The courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
- Didn’t work so hard.
- The courage to express my feelings.
- Stayed in touch with my friends.
- Let myself be happier.
The most important things to you aren’t materialistic, but are the people who you care about!
You already have everything to be happy right this moment!
It’s simply a choice!
You don’t need to “chase” happiness by seeking external factors.
When you’re truly happy, you can fully give to others without any expectation in return.
As a result, you can better serve others, including those who are most important to you.
Please share this article with anyone who you think may find it useful.
If you have any questions and/or comments on quality relationships, please leave a comment below or send me an email.
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“Why Personal Relationships Are Important.” Taking Charge of Your Health & Wellbeing.