Building and maintaining strong friendships does not come naturally to most people. Like anything worth having in your life it requires patience and effort. Not only that, but it also requires a deeper understanding of yourself, the other person, and both your similarities and differences. Despite how intimidating this sounds, fostering these relationships have an unbelievably positive effect on your life. Here is your own personal guide to ensure that you’re doing everything you can to increase the bond between yourself and your loved ones and create the happiest life you can live.
Developing a positive self-image is essential to establishing and maintaining genuine connections with other people. In order to begin making changes to your life, you must first take a critical look at things that might need changing.
Lifestyle: If you eat unhealthy foods regularly or don’t tend to get a lot of exercise, you may suffer the effects through chronic moodiness or low energy levels. Once you begin making positive lifestyle changes, you will begin to feel better about yourself which will naturally translate to healthier and stronger relationships with others.
Stress relief: Being a dedicated and hard worker is important, however what is also instrumental to strong family bonds and close friendships is the ability to relax. Take advantage of your vacation time and go somewhere completely removed from work and chores. Choose somewhere with relaxed vibes like the gorgeous Ocho Rios Villa right on the coast of Jamaica. And when you are on vacation, remove anything that reminds you of your responsibilities at home or at work.
Know thyself: Know your needs, wants, preferences, and ways of dealing with new or uncomfortable situations. Having this self-awareness is one of the key aspects of approaching relationships equally as a whole individual. This awareness keeps you from becoming co-dependent and also helps you avoid being around people who have a negative impact on you.
Get to know others
Understanding that others as independent human beings with goals, insecurities, faults, strengths, talents, and unique perspectives is one of the greatest tools to developing strong connections. The following is a list to consider when getting to know someone else:
- Values: what do they hold as important or essential in their lives? What is less important? How do these intersect with what you believe to be true?
- Goals: what do they want to be when they grow up? What steps are they making toward those goals?
- Passions: what gets them out of bed in the morning?
- Story: how did they grow up? What are some of their most important moments? Where do they see themselves in the future?
When you begin to consider these three things while getting to know people, it will naturally open doors for deeper conversations. Debates about important things like views of marriage, work, and balance will reveal a greater insight into their character. When you start to see other people as who they are and love them for that, you have gained depth in your relationship. True friends are those that know others uniquely and respect them.
The practice of gratitude is one of the foundations for meditations that bring positivity and joy into your life. It can be an invaluable tool for keeping peace and balance in relationships. Here’s how it works:
- You find yourself thinking critically about something a family member or friend has done or does regularly. For example: your spouse has a tendency to leave cereal boxes open which results in stale Cheerios for breakfast. Your best friend drank too much at the bar the other night and threw up in your car on the way home.
- Don’t focus on the negatives. If it cannot be changed, let it go. If it can be remedied, find a productive and positive way to rectify the situation. For example: Switch the cereal to closable plastic containers. (Reusable and keeps food from becoming stale!) And if it’s not a regular thing for your best friend, let it go. There is no use hanging on to negative feelings about situations that cannot be changed.
- Focus your attention on the good things about the people in your life. Feel grateful for their presence and the positive impact they have on you. This will allow you to love more deeply and that love will strengthen your bond with your loved ones.
You’re not going to get exactly what you want every time in every situation. Whether it’s what you’re ordering in for dinner to painting your dining room—there may be opposing opinions. There is a chance that you may have to compromise your ideal so that both parties are happy. Sometimes you may not even get your way and that is perfectly okay. And this is the way that adult relationships work—give and take. Receive some joy knowing that you’re making someone else happy. Accepting that you may not get your way gracefully is a step forward to in your self-awareness and will help your relationships.
The best answer is compromise. For example, your family is planning a vacation and everyone wants something specific. Try to find something that works in with what each individual wants.
Let’s say that you want to relax on the beach, your husband wants to explore a new culture, your daughter wants extensive opportunities for taking some Instagram pictures, and your son wants to go hiking. Choose a location where everyone will be happy. Jamaica Villa in Ocho Rios is a perfect example of a vacation spot with something for everyone.
Spend Quality Time
The day to day can be stressful. There are a hundred and one things that you could possibly be focusing on in one singular day: other relationships, your boss’s opinion of you, a fight with a friend, an impending deadline, your workout routine, an illness, your eating habits, et cetera. All of these things tear your attention away from the present and affect your ability to give someone your undivided focus. You should go out of your way to spend quality time with your loved ones, beyond the cursory interactions you have on a daily basis.
For families, schedule allowing, you should try to do some of the following:
- Regular dinners with the entire family at the table
- Weekend activities outdoors such as hiking, fishing, long walks, sports, or camping trips
- Indoor activities like board games, darts, bowling, cards, or watching a TV show together
For long distance friends, to keep in touch, you should try to some of the following:
- Scheduled Skype sessions or phone calls
- Balance between home visits and away visits
- Send snail mail letters or emails every week or so
Take Regular Vacations
Vacations can build strong connections with your loved ones through shared new experiences and new sights. It is a group escape away from the mundane, stress, and responsibilities in your life. The best vacation for relationship building involves the following:
Both group and individual activities. You don’t necessarily have to do everything together—that would be silly. But choosing exciting things to do that everyone enjoys every day ties the group together. Consider finding somewhere to hike, a museum to visit, or a boat ride. Ocho Rios offers a plethora of activities, a few offhand are:
- Nighttime cruises
- Heritage beach horse rides
- Tours of the Bob Marley museum
- River tubing
- Expansive hiking opportunities
- Seemingly endless beaches
- And many more interesting activities
Sometimes you need to have some time alone with your spouse or by yourself without the kids. Finding someone to watch children in a foreign country sounds intimidating, but luxury resorts and villa accommodations usually have an answer for that. Contact the staff to arrange for a private sitter or nanny for the day or the evening.
Privacy. There is nothing less relaxing than a sleepless night listening to the sound of two roommates snoring or being woken up by someone shuffling around in the dark trying to get to the restroom. The ideal vacation offers space for everyone, without making anyone feel crowded. If you’re planning on staying more than a few days, it’s important that everyone has their own space. This can cut down on irritation and arguments and ensure a peaceful coexistence with friends and family. Choose a place to stay that has comfortable and expansive accommodations if your budget will allow it.
Central location. If you rent a beach house that is actually several miles away from the coast, it isn’t actually a beach house. Having a place to stay in a central location to the town, city, or boardwalk can reduce hassle and give you more time to do what you actually want to do. When you’re booking your hotel, motel, house, cottage, or villa look for key words and descriptions that indicate that it is close to the downtown or local attractions.
Jamaica’s Ocho Rios Villa offers the perfect setting to rekindle your relationship with your spouse, increase family togetherness, reconnect with long distance friends, or deepen new friendships.