Updated: Oct 17, 2021
“The quality of your life is the quality of your relationships.”
Relationships are perhaps the most important foundation for your life.
If you have great relationships, there’s virtually nothing that can defeat you, or even discourage you. A prolific author once wrote, having a close friend “doubles every joy and halves every defeat.”
But if most of your relationships are shallow and superficial, it doesn’t matter if you have the most “successful” life imaginable — everything still rings hollow if there’s no one to celebrate with.
Why do most people have mediocre relationships — or none at all?
Why are most people on track to never have great relationships?
Because they can’t be bothered to learn how.
“In order to get to the next level of whatever you’re doing, you must think and act in a wildly different way than you were before.”
Most People Can’t Be Bothered to Learn How to Communicate
“When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.” -Ernest Hemingway
One of our readers sent this in:
When my wife Kimi and I were in premarital counseling, we read a book called The 5 Love Languages. That little book has made us 1000x closer to each other.
Maybe you’ve read the book before. But In a nutshell, the book states that every person loves, and wants to be loved, in 5 ways (with 1 or 2 main preferences):
Words of affirmation
Acts of service
Everyone loves — and wants to be loved — in these 5 ways. But the reason most people continue to have mediocre relationships is because they just can’t be bothered to learn how the other person wants to be loved.
Not knowing how your loved ones want to be loved is extremely dangerous. This is where the deepest, most profound
disconnects can happen, things like:
The workaholic father who buys his children anything they want — except all they really wanted was a dad who came to baseball games
The husband who never really wants to talk — but is always in the mood for sex
The friend who is more attentive to their smartphone than whatever you’re talking about
Most people can’t be bothered to learn how to communicate with and love their friends/partner the way they want.
As long as you never learn how you want to receive love — and learn how those around you want to receive it — you’ll always have mediocre relationships.
Communication is hard. It takes empathy, focus, and conscious effort to give your mate, friend or partner the attention they need.
But isolation and loneliness are far harder.
The reason your relationships are mediocre is because you haven’t learned enough about communication.
Another reader sent this in:
When my wife and I were in premarital counseling, our counselor gave us a piece of advice that would end up changing our lives:
Always make the first move.
The meaning is simple: if you can help the relationship, then do it. Don’t wait for the other person to act (even if you don’t want to).
Most people have strained and superficial relationships with family and even with friends. This is because most people always wait for the other person to “make the first move;” say hello, organize a hangout, or apologize.
This is a pride thing. It’s one of the main killers of marriages, friendships, and even families.
If you want to have deep, meaningful relationships with your friends, family, and even just the people in your day-to-day life, make the first move — even if it should be them. Be the first to:
Initiate the conversation
Send the first text
Say you miss them
Say you love them
Apologize and ask for forgiveness
Organize a hangout
Tell them you appreciate what they did
For a long time, I felt awkward and uncomfortable telling my brothers and sister “I love you.” Three of the people whom I loved most in the entire world, and I couldn’t say it!
Now, I tell them I love them all the time. I say it over text, over casual phone calls, at crises, celebrations, and over the holidays. I tell my friends, too. Every single important person in my life — mentors, family, friends, even coworkers, know how special they are to me.
It feels silly to be afraid to say this to a loved one. Yet, so many people can’t say a few simple words that would galvanize the entire relationship and deeply touch their soul.
Once you can do this, you can begin enjoying a gem most people never will: close, loving, life-giving relationships with many people.
Nicole S. Norton is the Editor-n-Chief
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