Building Relationships

It is funny how we talk about building relationships; yet, we do not seem to spend a lot of time focused on what we mean by “building.” At some point in life we realize relationships are constructed. When that specifically happens, I do not know. In primary school, we make friends. We come home to our parents and say something like, “I made a friend at school today.”

In the early days of school, friendships seem to come spontaneously. As we mature, it appears that relationships need more specific attention so that they might evolve. The easy friendships we were able to strike up in our beginning school years do not seem to come as easily.

Our first friendships are generally built on some obvious commonalities. We are in a particular grade in school. We tend to be the same age as our classmates. We might meet someone, in our class, who likes the same kind of sandwiches we do. Same grade, same class, same age, same taste in sandwiches, hey let’s be friends. Ah, the simplicity of youth!

In our adult years we ostensibly become more discerning when it comes to building relationships. We begin to discern the difference between friends and acquaintances, between work relationships and personal relationships.

How are relationships built, in adulthood? I will focus on three points. This information could be used in the work world or be utilized in the building of personal relationships:

1 – Be pleasant. A pleasant person smiles and is generally upbeat. This tends to be the kind of individual people like to be around and work with.

2 – Be a good listener. There is no way to develop a true relationship with someone unless we spend time getting to know them. One of the main ways we can do this is to listen to what they have to say.

3 – Be accepting of differences. As human beings, we all have things in common. Yet, as individuals, we all have our own unique take on life and how to live it. The more accepting we are of differences, the more meaningful relationships we might be able to build.

There are many other elements that go into building relationships. However, the three I mentioned might serve as a good starting point.

Image courtesy of [adamr] /

*Authors note: You might see this column pop up online in a newspaper, under the name Both Sides. I am publishing this column here first at For a bunch of years, I have been writing newspaper columns. Since my columns have received a good response on CYInterview, I thought I would share it with you. Hope you enjoy.

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