What makes a good relationship? Are there signs of a good relationship? What questions would you ask to find out if a relationship is good? How to have good relationships?
Every year, as September gets closer, my husband Gal and I think about relationships. This year, in September 2020, we’re celebrating 40 years of friendship. We’ve learned over the years that friendship is a special relationship worth celebrating.
When you spend many years with one person, you learn a lot about them. But mostly, you learn about yourself and what relationships mean.
Defining a relationship
Every relationship is a learning experience, because each one is an opportunity to discover who we are. A relationship is an interaction with another entity and every interaction is a transfer of energy. We give and we receive.
If the balance of this transfer is positive, we say the relationship good. If we put in more energy than we receive, we say the relationship is “not-so-good”. Simple as that!
When I entered our relationship 40 years ago, I didn’t realize what relationships meant. My body and mind did the calculation, and it all came out positive. So I kept going.
7 years later, Gal and I wanted to marry. The internal calculator said, “Go for it. The energy balance is positive!” So I did.
Over the years, I’ve worked with many people – young, old and everything in-between. I’ve found that many people have problems that stem from a distorted definition of relationships. This covers not only relationships with others, but also the relationship with our self.
We can explain every challenge in life by looking at dysfunctions either in relationship with our self or with others. Although I was lucky to have a positive energy balance for years, I think understanding relationships would have made life much easier for me and the people around me.
When you define a relationship, you can examine and navigate it better. Yes, not all our relationships are the same. I have relationships with my kids that differ from the ones I have with my husband or my sisters. I even have a different relationship with each of my sisters.
If your relationships are the same, it’s normal and healthy. Don’t worry about it.
List 100 items to find gems of wisdom
It’s OK to learn from others, but until the things we learn go through our own filters and pass the test of the relationship with our self, they do not become part of us. Until we fully process suggestions from others and incorporate them into our own way of thinking, we haven’t accepted them.
So I will help you find your own definition of a relationship and what makes it good. Then, I’ll also share my own examples and views for your inspiration.
I encourage you to generate your own list of 100 things you think about relationships. If you are familiar with the 100 list series, you know that coming up with 100 items of everything we are searching for is not easy, but it makes you dig deep into your mind, where you will find gems of wisdom.
Below are 100 things I think, believe, understand and feel about relationships. However, I highly recommend you do the exercise yourself first, and write down as many things as you can before reading mine. This will create a blueprint of what relationships are for you and how to navigate them.
Don’t be tempted to just do this in your head. Because only when we write it all down can we compare, examine, question and assess our thoughts and beliefs about the topic.
How to make your relationship list
Here are some helpful tips before you begin:
- Every thought, feeling, belief you have is valid and important to write down. Write like nobody’s watching.
- Other people can make their own list. This one is yours. So write your own definition of what a relationship is and be true to yourself.
- List every type of relationship you have – partner, children, parents, boss, colleagues, friends, distant relatives, etc.
- Write and acknowledge the differences between the different relationships you have. For example, “My relationship with my husband is different from my relationship with my friends because…”
- Write things that make you happy in each of those relationship and why they make you happy.
- Write things that you’re not happy about in those relationship and why they make you unhappy.
- Describe your ideal relationship with each of the people closest to you.
- Think of challenges you have within each of your relationships.
- Write down ways you improve your relationships with anyone you know. Think of things they can do that would make you feel closer to them.
- Then, write things you can do that you believe will bring them closer to you.
- Write things that you believe “kill” a relationship. Things that are hard for people to get over.
- What is your definition of a good relationship?
- And what is your definition of a relationship that isn’t good?
- Look at people around you and rate their relationships. Use a scale of 1-100 (100 being a perfect relationship).
- Think about your relationship with yourself. What can you do to create a peaceful relationship with yourself?
- Think of your relationship with your body. How do you feel about it? What do you do to care for the relationship you have with it? And what do you do that ruins the relationship? If it helps, write down your definition of a “good relationship with your body” first.
- What do you think about conflicts in a relationship?
- What do you think about honesty in a relationship?
- What do you think about group dynamics and relationships? Having a relationship with a partner is different to a relationship within a family or a friendship group. The energy considerations shift when there are more than two people involved.
I think the tips above will give you a lot of material to work with. Getting to 100 items will be easy!
Ronit’s beliefs, thoughts and understandings about relationships
- I love people.
- I get a lot of energy from being with people.
- We have a relationship with every person we meet, regardless of how long or short our interaction with them is. (children, partner, friends, parents, bosses, strangers…)
- Every relationship is an exchange of energies. I give something and take something. I invest energy and receive energy.
- Giving, does not mean I have less now. When I’m kind, smile, encourage, support, compliment someone, I don’t have less. In fact, I immediately receive a sense of satisfaction and increased value.
- For a relationship to be considered good, the sum of the difference between energy invested and energy received is positive.
- The fact I treat people differently is not because I’m biased or dishonest, but because my relationship each person is unique, and requires changes in the way I relate to them.
- There are many factors that impact relationships. Some of them are subconscious and I’m not aware of them.
- Analyzing myself to death is not going to help me understand my behaviors better and especially won’t help me change them.
- Sometimes it is better for me to accept that we are simply different.
- Being in a good relationship does not mean we think the same. I have been with Gal for 40 years. We have different taste in music, politics, hobbies and career choice.
- Respecting the other person’s desires, beliefs and ideas is essential for a good relationship.
- Focusing on what makes us different doesn’t make us feel good in any relationship.
- Focusing on similarities contributes to a good relationship.
- We like spending time with people who make us feel good about ourselves.
- When we find a partner, or even friends we’re close to, we use them person and the interactions with them, to feel good about ourselves.
- If we feel good about ourselves in the relationship, we want more of it. If we don’t feel good about ourselves in the relationship, we want less of it.
- Having lots of relationships means nothing at all. Having a small group of people, we have good relationship with is more important than the number of relationships we have. Quality, not quantity people!
- Communication style has a direct impact on relationships.
- If we make sure to take the good from any relationship, we are never sorry when it is over.
- When we end a relationship with someone, we don’t have to hate the other person to justify how we feel.
- Relationships are like playing tennis, but the goal in this game is to make sure the ball stays in the air as long as possible.
- Every one of the players needs to aim so the other can return the ball.
- When we hurt someone, we’ve essentially thrown the ball in their face and the game finished.
- People like people who play nice!
- Everything that happens to us in life, changes us and therefore changes our relationships.
- Many challenges in relationship come from not having clear definition of
- When we are in long term relationships there becomes a blur in boundaries, which only means we need to redefine them.
- Good boundaries are set when everyone is clear on when I stop, and my partner starts and vice versa.
- Relationships with insecure people are hard work. We are all insecure in some areas, so relationships are hard work. What I mean is that the more insecure we are, the harder it is to be in a relationship with us.
- Therefore, if we want more good relationships, we need to work on our insecurities.
- In no relationship we ever become one. We will stay separate entities forever.
- What we love about our partner changes over the years.
- Make sure to go on a “date night” or something similar with your partner once a week. This is essential for you and your partner to be able to see each other as you both change and grow.
- If you’ve been in a relationship with someone for many years and you want to enjoy your time with them for many more, you need to fall in love with them again.
- Relationships are like a plant. Without care, they’ll die.
- Trying to change someone is a sure-fire way to destroy a relationship.
- A good relationship means we are big fans! We are happy for their happiness.
- Relationships take a long time to build and takes seconds to destroy.
- There is no such thing as perfect relationship.
- In every relationship there are This is normal.
- The faster we recover from the challenges will determine the strength of the relationship. We need to learn to fight well.
- When one puts pressure on the other one in a relationship, it creates distance.
- When we are forced do things that we don’t want to do, it builds resentment.
- Resentment kills relationships.
- Sarcasm is violence.
- It is good to find out which of the 5 love languages each of the people you’re close to (children, partner, parents, siblings…) prefers: gifts, quality time, affirmations, services, touch.
- Express some form of love to the people you are close to, every day. Love does not have to be I love you! It can be “I’m so happy we had a chance to have lunch together”
- Control destroys relationships.
- The desire to be “right” destroys relationship. You don’t have to be right; but you do have to be kind.
- Being kind to people helps in any relationship, and it is never wasted. Kindness tends to go around.
- Ego is the enemy of a good relationship.
- Honesty in relationships is important. Honesty does not mean you say whatever is in your mind. That is not honesty, this is a “brain fart”.
- Compliments are good for any relationship.
- Complaining and criticizing creates gaps in relationships.
- Your partner/children/friends are not broken, and you don’t need to fix them.
- In a relationship, those who listen more than talk, contribute more to the relationships.
- A partner for life is not a person who gives us what our parents didn’t.
- There is no need to try to convince your partner/friends/family to do the same things you do. (buy something, diet, religion, etc.). Convincing is an indication of insecurity. Live and let live.
- Smile! It is the cheapest and easiest way to give in a relationship.
- Respect everyone’s privacy. If someone has shared something with you in secret, never, never betray that trust.
- It is important to give each other some space.
- Being needy in a relationship is not love.
- Bringing hurts from the past will clutter any relationships.
- Forgiveness is hard but necessary all relationships. When we forgive, we accept that no one is perfect, including us.
- Family has nothing to do with blood relation. Having a partner is an easy way to prove it. Your partner is the person you choose to build your family with, and they most definitely are not related to you.
- Friends can be great family members.
- When we leave one relationship and don’t properly process the experience, we’ll take our challenges to the next relationship. Wherever we go, we take ourselves. Take a better version of yourself to the next relationship.
- Feeling used can ruin
- Make sure to leave any interaction with kind words or gestures. It leaves a good taste, and the other person will want more of it.
- Find things others do that are “strong” rather than focus on what they do “wrong”.
- Respect, in every relationship is something we need to earn. It should not be given to us based on status, but by modeling respect.
- Ask genuine questions of interest.
- Relationships require trust. Trust that the other person has your best interests at heart. If there is no trust, it ruins the relationship. There is a nice quote that says “A relationship without trust is like a cell phone with no service. All you can do is play games”
- Remember People love the sound of their own name.
- Remember It is not a big deal. Write it down in your diary.
- Relationships are investments. The more you put into it, the more you get.
- Relationships between parents and children are so unique and important that they can support children for life, or scar them.
- Don’t gossip with any one about anyone else. That immediately marks you as untrustworthy.
- Stay away from consuming things that clutter the mind (drugs, alcohol, coffee…) it will impact your relationship heavily.
- My relationship with my children is the most precious thing in the world. The hardest, yet the most rewarding.
- Our children do not belong to us. We are their guardians. They were given to us, to escort safely through this life. We don’t own them.
- My relationship with each of my children is different because they are different, and I was different when I gave birth to them. I just accept it and don’t compare myself to who I was or compare them to each other.
- Over the years I’ve learned that I can keep some relationships from a distance. I feel so fortunate that we now have an easy way to connect with family and friends who live on the other side of the world, and I can share my life with them at the click of a button.
- It amazes me every time I meet family members or special friends after years of being apart, that it feels like we are continuing where we left off. I find these kinds of relationships very special.
- I think if I have 2-3 good friends, I’m a lucky person.
- Real friendship is not how many friends I have on Facebook or how many people I know. Real friends are people that care for me, and that I care for in return.
- What I think about myself, my body and mind, and how I take care of it determines my relationship with self.
- My relationship with myself is as important as my relationship with others. Because in every relationship we project what we have inside, on those we are in a relationship with.
- I raised my kids far away from my extended family. That impacted their relationship with their extended family and their support structure was smaller. It makes me sad!
- Thinking I’m better than others will damage most relationships.
- In every relationship, what other people think about me, is none of my business. Being true to who I am is essential for a good relationship with self. After all, the person I will live with, for the rest of my life, is ME!
- At the same time, every relationship is an opportunity to learn something about yourself.
- Every family is an eco-system and every relationship impact the balance. If one relationship suffers, the whole system is out of balance.
- A family is only as strong as its weakest member.
- In every relationship, it is possible for people to disagree, and for both to be correct.
- Every challenge in a relationship can make us bitter or better. I think we have a choice. I aim to choose the “better” version of me.
- Time for myself is time invested in my relationship with myself. Sadhguru said that if you don’t like being on your own, you are in a bad company. And I’m inclined to agree!
- Good memories can be used in times of trouble.
- People in long term relationships live longer and are happier.
I believe we have thousands of thoughts and beliefs about relationships. What we think is not right or wrong, it can only be of service to us or not.
I hope you find yours and I hope they will bring you to a happy, respectful and long relationship.
This post is part of the series Make a List:
- Make a list: List Making
- Make a list: About Myself
- Make a list: Friends and Friendships
- Make a list: My Lifetime
- Make a list: Things I am Happy about
- Make a list: Childhood Memories
- How to Clean Away Resentment and Be Happy
- Make a list: 100 Ways to Say “I love you!”
- Make a list: What I like about me
- Make a list: Birthday Presents to Ask for
- Make a list: Improve My Life
- Make a list: Things to tell my parents
- Make a list: Beliefs about Money
- Make a list: Feelings I Want to Feel
- Make a list: If I Could Live Forever
- Make a list: Beliefs about Kids
- Make a list: Beliefs about Kids cont.
- Make a list: Events that Have Shaped Your Life
- Make a list: Ways to be kind
- Make a list: Be More Productive
- Make a list: Mistakes (and what I can learn from them)
- Make a list: Expectations
- Make a list: Beliefs about Traveling
- Make a list: Rules I Follow
- Make a list: Good Parenting Qualities
- Make a list: Excuses
- Make a list: Quotes to live by
- Make a list: How to use my time better
- Make a list: If I were Santa Claus
- Make a list: If I had one year to live
- Make a list: Things that Make Me Happy
- Make a list: Movies I loved
- Make a List: My Fears
- Make a List: Find your Happy-ism
- Make a List: Inspiring People
- Make a List: Books that have changed my life
- Make a list: Inspiring Movies
- How to Make a List of Things to Be Grateful for
- Make a List: Ronit’s Gratitude Examples List
- Make a list: Life Lessons Learned
- Make a List: Self-Kindness
- Make a List: 100 Ways to Be Kind to Myself
- Make a List: 100 Things I Want People to Think of Me
- Make a List: Judgment of Right from Wrong
- Make a List: 100 Reasons to Be Wealthy
- 100 Great Insights I Got from the Coronavirus
- How to Make Every Relationship You Want Good
- If I Only Knew: How to Learn from the Past