Added On: Saturday, January 19, 2008

Take the initiative in establishing new relationships

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

The world is filled with people who are dissatisfied with the state of their relationships. They think they haven't got enough others in their lives, or else they believe the others they have aren't up to scratch. Whether it's friendships that are missing or something more, a lack of satisfactory relationships is a common complaint.

Yet when you think about it, the average person must interact with hundreds of people every year. And among those hundreds must by many with whom some kind of emotional connection can be established. Yet such connections are extremely rare, numbering just a few a year if you're lucky.

Why is that?

One obvious cause many people state is snobbery. Others just don't seem to be interested in a relationship, or we're not interested in building one with them.

You can remove snobbery from one side of the equation immediately by simply giving people more of a chance. Generally, I believe people are too quick to make snap judgements about others. Many of my closest friends are people I didn't think much of when I first met them. Many people I thought were cool on first meeting turned out to be wastes of time.

There's nothing wrong with having high standards for the types of people you'll fraternise with. But give those you meet an opportunity to get past the uncomfortable and nervous first few meetings before you make up your mind about them.

Once that barrier is removed, the best way to establish new relationships is to the be one who takes initiative in setting them up. Most strong relationships are formations of habit: you spend time with that person because you're used to doing so and comfortable with them. And we all know that habits are hard to establish, and difficult to remove.

So if you want to build a relationship with someone, you have to turn spending time with that person into a habit - both for you and for them. And that's going to take work. If you decide you're the one who's willing to do most of the early stages of work, you'll establish more satisfactory relationships - pure and simple.

That means you be the one who calls the other person. You be the one who comes up with plans of things to do. You be the person who organises everything.

It seems unfair and difficult to do this, but if you're willing to ignore that fact, you'll get more satisfactory relationships out of it. And what have you got to lose really? A little bit of time, pride and emotional investment at worst.

So what? The gains are much greater.

Often, you'll find during the early stages of trying to build a relationship with someone that they'll make things difficult for you. They'll turn down your plans, not return your messages, or act sceptical. You can feel like you're making a big emotional investment, without receiving any pay-off in return.

But if you persist, in many cases, you'll see these barriers fall away with time. In fact, you learn to anticipate them, and that makes them hurt less. Most people have a natural tendency to behave like this with people they don't know well. They'll put up some token resistance to forming the habit of a new relationship. It's completely normal for them to do so.

It's not you, it's them.

I'm not saying turn into a stalker who won't take no for an answer. But don't run away at the fist sign of resistance either.

Be the one who takes initiative in establishing new relationships. Once you do so, you'll be rewarded with all sorts of interesting new people in your life.

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