Why Some People Have Great Relationships

Updated on June 26, 2018
Jana Louise Smit profile image

Jana is a student of human nature, forever seeking the truth about the complex issues that face relationships, productivity and daily life.


Relationships are Critical to Life

If you're human, then you've experienced the chaos and pain that dysfunctional relationships can bring—and not just the sort that gets the most airtime (hello, dangerous and ill-suited lovers). Sibling rivalry can last well into adulthood and, if not curbed, can destroy special family bonds. Parents and children run the same risk when they cannot find common ground. Kids grow up and do stupid stuff and so do parents. Nobody is perfect. However, when there's no cement that keeps the family threaded together in a good way, it's worse than a sand castle in a wet storm. Grain by grain, pain and mistrust, grief and anger corrode the home. You'll never get that promotion if your boss dislikes you or if they don't trust your work ethic. All told, a lot of agony flows from the fact that people no longer know what constitutes a great relationship.

The Myth of Popularity

Many equal social praise and acceptance as success. It starts in school where the kids that perform well as athletes are worshiped. The popular crowd is the nucleus of every class and grade. The rich kid has hangers-on. Heck, even the bullies with their packs enjoy a degree of status. Years inside this artificial social system reinforces the belief that how others see us is what carries the most weight. But as teenagers leave school and enter the adult world, things go wrong for most of them. Their romantic relationships are often wrought with problems, work doesn't bring success fast enough and frankly, they struggle to find anyone that they can trust with their pet rat, let alone their life.

The problem is the myth of popularity. This wonderful human state — hey, everybody loves me – is without deep roots. People might love the athlete who wins the gold, but they don't know him or her, their struggles or fears. Honestly, nobody really cares that deeply about famous people to see past the glitter of achievement. The moment the same athlete loses, admiration withdraws a notch (or completely). When a bully is defeated by a victim, he loses his crowd. The rich kid's parents lose everything, few will stay with junior. It's because popular admiration has shallow roots, despite that it feels so strongly in fans. They can be pulled from the earth in an instant.

We Love You!

Worst case scenario - adoring crowd turns elsewhere when things get real, you know, you make a mistake or need friends in a crisis.
Worst case scenario - adoring crowd turns elsewhere when things get real, you know, you make a mistake or need friends in a crisis. | Source

Deep Roots Take Time

These days, taking time with anything doesn't get much support. Think about the quick fix industries which encompass every area of life imaginable – dating, food, finances, personal development and success. Time doesn't sell. Time doesn't feel as good. What sells is something that produces fast results and yes, it feels good to the consumer too. Fast relationships, fast success, reaching our goals at the speed of light — or feel like a failure — are all commonplace. A host of “get-rich-quick” authors with their promising systems are flooding the market like never before. However, in this case, the only person who goes to the bank is usually the seller.

Taking one's time with something doesn't mean literal hours. Effective living happens when one cultivates, over time, what needs to be nurtured. All one must focus on are the values that earn long-term respect from other people. Truly integrate them into your character and people will trust and respect you. Your boss will know he can leave more responsibilities in your hands, your family will have a strong foundation when things get tough because they'll have true respect for you. Many parents mistake obedience for respect. Sometimes, when things get hectic it's easier to use the quick fix of “I'm the adult, so you'll listen” position of authority and what looks like silent agreement from a child is actually fear and anger. As a result, the relationship grows another hairline fracture.

The Seeds to Powerful Relationships

Relationships have been likened a harvest. Sow sparingly and look after the crop badly, the yield won't be good. Try to rush it, the harvest will also be poor. Choose the right seeds, sow plenty and work on the field every day, you'll get a bumper crop. The disparaging truth for our quick-fix culture is that few things last, relationships included, when integrity is missing. The popular self-help programs aimed at self-development may bring success, but they won't bring lasting trust. Why? Because other people aren't stupid, they can sense when somebody is talking big, using manipulative techniques – especially in the dating world where “how to become a pickup artist” is big business. But there is no integrity. This kind of deception, even when it's meant well, often reeks so much that people won't invest in such a person, not personally nor in business.

Which seeds are the right ones to nurture? Here they are.

  • Integrity
  • Fidelity
  • Courage
  • Humility and modesty
  • Patience
  • Simplicity
  • A sense of justice
  • Honest work ethic
  • Temperance
  • Kindness

Simple Values Build Trust

It truly is the small kindnesses and kept promises that build the best bonds.
It truly is the small kindnesses and kept promises that build the best bonds. | Source

You Don't Need to be a Saint

Wow, that's a hectic list. Nobody can constantly control the myriad tentacles that are human emotions. Sometimes, we get frustrated, mess up or don't want to fight for every cause. It's normal. But those who have the best relationships have one thing in common – they are consistent where it matters. They may not have the sparkling conversational skills of the popular kid or guy at the office. However, others know they can be trusted when life gets rough. They don't abandon a promise, they don't abuse trust, and they carry their part in the relationship, marriage, parenting or project.

Those who grow shallow roots in their relationships tend to back off when life gets real. For example, that slick guy who talked a girl into a date but then breaks it off when he learns she's got a medical condition or a kid. The successful entrepreneur who finds it increasingly difficult to find employees because she takes all the credit for a team's work.

Why Values Win

Behavior lodged in shallow roots are not always bad. They're fine for the short term; be charming to the waiter or the foreign colleague who'll return to Guatemala once the project is completed. However, no matter the outward flair, without daily commitment, such an attitude towards relationships will be disastrous in the long run. You cannot charm yourself through a marriage. A husband or wife wants to know you'll be there when there are difficulties, as a plan maker or when things are really bad, a supporter. Children don't want parents who are loved at every social event, like they're celebrities, but at home they fight or smoke when they told the kids not to. They want parents who can differ but work things out without upsetting the household. They want parents who practice what they preach with kindness and understanding, who can be the adult when the world gets cranky. When your values shine through, persistently, then people will trust you. At home, at work and between friends. Those are the relationships that bear fruit in business and within the family.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2018 Jana Louise Smit


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