Family isn’t always blood. They’re the people in your life who appreciate having you in theirs – the ones who encourage you to improve in healthy and exciting ways, and who not only embrace who you are now, but also embrace and embody who you want to be. These people – your real family – are the ones who truly matter.
Here are twenty tips to help you find and foster these special relationships:
- Free yourself from negative people. – Spend time with nice people who are smart, driven and likeminded. Relationships should help you, not hurt you. Surround yourself with people who reflect the person you want to be. Choose friends who you are proud to know, people you admire, who love and respect you – people who make your day a little brighter simply by being in it. Life is too short to spend time with people who suck the happiness out of you. When you free yourself from negative people, you free yourself to be YOU – and being YOU is the only way to truly live. Read Stumbling on Happiness.
- Let go of those who are already gone. – The sad truth is that there are some people who will only be there for you as long as you have something they need. When you no longer serve a purpose to them, they will leave. The good news is, if you tough it out, you’ll eventually weed these people out of your life and be left with some great people you can count on. We rarely lose friends and lovers, we just gradually figure out who our real ones are. So when people walk away from you, let them go. Your destiny is never tied to anyone who leaves you. It doesn’t mean they are bad people; it just means that their part in your story is over.
- Give people you don’t know a fair chance. – When you look at a person, any person, remember that everyone has a story. Everyone has gone through something that has changed them, and forced them to grow. Every passing face on the street represents a story every bit as compelling and complicated as yours. We meet no ordinary people in our lives. If you give them a chance, everyone has something amazing to offer. So appreciate the possibility of new relationships as you naturally let go of old ones that no longer work. Trust your judgment. Embrace new relationships, knowing that you are entering into unfamiliar territory. Be ready to learn, be ready for a challenge, and be ready to meet someone that might just change your life forever.
- Show everyone kindness and respect. – Treat everyone with kindness and respect, even those who are rude to you – not because they are nice, but because you are. There are no boundaries or classes that define a group of people that deserve to be respected. Treat everyone with the same level of respect you would give to your grandfather and the same level of patience you would have with your baby brother. People will notice your kindness.
- Accept people just the way they are. – In most cases it’s impossible to change them anyway, and it’s rude to try. So save yourself from needless stress. Instead of trying to change others, give them your support and lead by example.
- Encourage others and cheer for them. – Having an appreciation for how amazing the people around you are leads to good places – productive, fulfilling, peaceful places. So be happy for those who are making progress. Cheer for their victories. Be thankful for their blessings, openly. What goes around comes around, and sooner or later the people you’re cheering for will start cheering for you.
- Be your imperfectly perfect self. – In this crazy world that’s trying to make you like everyone else, find the courage to keep being your awesome self. And when they laugh at you for being different, laugh back at them for being the same. Spend more time with those who make you smile and less time with those who you feel pressured to impress. Be your imperfectly perfect self around them. We are not perfect for everyone, we are only perfect for those select few people that really take the time to get to know us and love us for who we really are. And to those select few, being our imperfectly perfect self is what they love about us.
- Forgive people and move forward. – Don’t live your life with hate in your heart. You will end up hurting yourself more than the people you hate. Forgiveness is not saying, “What you did to me is okay.” It is saying, “I’m not going to let what you did to me ruin my happiness forever.” Forgiveness is the remedy. It doesn’t mean you’re erasing the past, or forgetting what happened. It means you’re letting go of the resentment and pain, and instead choosing to learn from the incident and move on with your life. Remember, the less time you spend hating the people who hurt you, the more time you’ll have to love the people who love you.
- Do little things every day for others. – Sometimes those little things occupy the biggest part of their hearts. You can’t be everything to everyone, but you can be everything to a few people. Decide who these people are in your life and treat them like royalty.
- Pay attention to who your real friends are. – As we grow up, we realize it becomes less important to have more friends and more important to have real ones. Remember, life is kind of like a party. You invite a lot of people, some leave early, some stay all night, some laugh with you, some laugh at you, and some show up really late. But in the end, after the fun, there are a few who stay to help you clean up the mess. And most of the time, they aren’t even the ones who made the mess. These people are your real friends in life. They are the ones who matter most.
- Always be loyal. – True love and real friendship aren’t about being inseparable. These relationships are about two people being true to each other even when they are separated. When it comes to relationships, remaining faithful is never an option, but a priority. Loyalty is everything.
- Stay in better touch with people who matter to you. – In human relationships distance is not measured in miles, but in affection. Two people can be right next to each other, yet miles apart. So don’t ignore someone you care about, because lack of concern hurts more than angry words. Stay in touch with those who matter to you. Not because it’s convenient, but because they’re worth the extra effort. Remember, you don’t need a certain number of friends, just a number of friends you can be certain of. Paying attention to these people is a priority.
- Keep your promises and tell the truth. – If you say you’re going to do something, DO IT! If you say you’re going to be somewhere, BE THERE! If you say you feel something, MEAN IT! If you can’t, won’t, and don’t, then DON’T LIE. It’s always better to tell people the truth up front. Don’t play games with people’s heads and hearts. Don’t tell half-truths and expect people to trust you when the full truth comes out; half-truths are no better than lies. Remember, love and friendship don’t hurt. Lying, cheating and screwing with people’s feelings and emotions hurts. Never mess with someone’s feelings just because you’re unsure of yours. Always be open and honest.
- Give what you want to receive. – Don’t expect what you are not willing to give. Start practicing the golden rule. If you want love, give love. If you want friends, be friendly. If you want money, provide value. It works. It really is this simple. Read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
- Say what you mean and mean what you say. – Give the people in your life the information they need, rather than expecting them to know the unknowable. Information is the grease that keeps the engine of communication functioning. Start communicating clearly. Don’t try to read other people’s minds, and don’t make other people try to read yours. Most problems, big and small, within a family, friendship, or business relationships, start with bad communication.
- Allow others to make their own decisions. – Do not judge others by your own past. They are living a different life than you are. What might be good for one person may not be good for another. What might be bad for one person might change another person’s life for the better. Allow people to make their own mistakes and their own decisions.
- Talk a little less, and listen more. – Less advice is often the best advice. People don’t need lots of advice, they need a listening ear and some positive reinforcement. What they want to know is often already somewhere inside of them. They just need time to think, be and breathe, and continue to explore the undirected journeys that will eventually help them find their direction.
- Leave petty arguments alone. – Someone else doesn’t have to be wrong for you to be right. There are many roads to what’s right. And most of the time it just doesn’t matter that much. Read How To Win Friends and Influence People.
- Ignore unconstructive, hurtful commentary. – No one has the right to judge you. They might have heard your stories, but they didn’t feel what you were going through. No matter what you do, there will always be someone who thinks differently. So concentrate on doing what you know in your heart is right. What most people think and say about you isn’t all that important. What is important is how you feel about yourself.
- Pay attention to your relationship with yourself. – One of the most painful things in life is losing yourself in the process of loving others too much, and forgetting that you are special too. When was the last time someone told you that they loved you just the way you are, and that what you think and how you feel matters? When was the last time someone told you that you did a good job, or took you someplace, simply because they know you feel happy when you’re there? When was the last time that ‘someone’ was YOU?
Photo by: Jeff Bauche
What an incredibly inspirational, well written article. One that I will save and reference often. Thank you!
Hi, Marc and Angel.
Your heartfelt pieces of advice and nuggets of wisdom (numbered at that!) are extremely helpful and very effective. A couple of your entries, including this most recent one, could not have come at a better time.
May you both continue to touch the lives of folks in this journey called Life!
So inspirational! Thank you Marc & Angel!
As always, i look forward to reading your articles. Some reaffirm things that you already know (subconsciously) but are not applying as principle in your daily lives and make a good reminder..and some highlight where you’re going wrong…a life changer! Thank You 🙂
Jessica Lynn says
Your posts are always so wonderful. Thank you!
Deborah Mc says
Beautiful guiding aspirations for “true love” with those very special people who matter to us!
Absolute simplicity, but tough challenges to maintain.
Thanks so much and wishing all readers a truly “wonderful life”.
Simon White says
Cheers from Kuantan, Malaysia. Another great article! Thank you!
Really good article. All (including me) can benefit from applying these simple tips in their relationships. Thanks a bunch.
I really needed to read this. Thank you.
Ene okwori says
Your blog posts have brought light to me that I can’t find anywhere else. Thank you.
I dont comment on articles.. ever. I couldn’t resist with this article though, it is so wonderful. I lost one of my best friends when I was 16 and chose to move on with life in a positive way and make life as beautiful for others as I could, as that friend made life for me. These 20 points that you talk about are exactly the things I have done to maintain loving relationships with people all around me. I couldn’t believe that you touched upon everything I do. I TRULY believe these points to be the answers to successful relationships. I have shared this article with many. Thank you for writing.
I come here every time I need motivation and inspiration, and you two never disappoint.
Thank you so much!
Privy Trifles says
Hey Marc and Angel,
You really are magical. Every time I visit your blog and read all that you write I learn something new 🙂
Thanks for sharing such wonderful insights with us!
Hi Marc and Angel! thanks a lot for this article. BRAVO!!!! All the best…
Excellent pieces of advice! Happiness is found in the simple things in life.
Mike Kunkle says
I said this on your Facebook wall, but came back to review this again today, as part of a weekly ritual I’ve set up, and wanted to comment as well.
Your thoughtful and caring posts are frequently awesome, in my opinion, but this one truly hit home for me and I have shared it with friends, family, colleagues and fellow networkers. Everyone seems to agree with me about the quality of the message and potential power of following your advice here.
Thanks again for making a difference and helping others do the same.
Dr. Rae says
Awesome list, thank you Marc for sharing…
I especially like “giving what you want to receive.” I think that we all demand a lot more from people then we give at times, and that can put a strain on our relationships. It’s so much better to give than to receive – but you receive so much more when you give openly and lovingly.
Talk a little less, and listen more… I love this advice. Sometimes people just need to say what’s badgering them aloud to feel better. You can give more help to someone by listening than by talking.
PS: Great article.
Elly G. says
Absolutely love all 20 of these points of advice & find them very meaningful. Shared this with many. Thank you
KIM CASEBIER says
Amen to this! Such great advice.
Wow. Great reading. Loved #2 and really needed to hear this today! Thank you.
Thank you. I enjoyed reading this.
I’ve read a lot of your articles already and I just remembered to comment on one now. I’ve also got a lot of your articles in line for me to read. You give the best and most practical advice a person can have in order to live a “better” and more fulfilled life. And I’d really like to say that I finally found the site to inspire me. Thank you.
Thanks, this gave me a great perspective.
Margaret Gwemende says
Great article! Will share it with my friends and relatives.
annabel brigleb says
Good post! The daily exploring of what you love about your mate is the most important ingredient. Each day discovering compassion, intelligence, humor… The list of positive attributes in daily life is endless. My partner has been ill, and she has taught me to wake up each day and view the day as a gift. She is exceptional!
Awesome blog!!! So inspirational and filled with wonderful treasures for building and keeping positive thoughts and emotions. Thanks for your generosity in maintaining a blog like this!
Derick Van Ness says
Great post… Especially the last comment. We often forget about ourselves as a key component to EVERY relationship that we share…
Be good to yourself and amazingly you’ll be better to others!
I just love your website!
Fantastic advice! These tips can apply to all of your relationships, whether it be online or in person. Thank you for sharing these.
LOVE this post – exactly what I needed! Thank you.
I read number 8 about forgiving people who had hurt you and shared the link on FB last night. Not more than an hour later I learned that my ex husband’s brother had passed away the day before and the wake will be held today. Our relationship was unhealthy in so many ways and we have been divorced for 15 years with no contact whatsoever. I held a lot of anger for a long time. I also have always felt bad about the sudden rupture of the relationship with my mother in law who I cared about very much but did nto have the courage to contact. I live in Egypt and in Islam, paying condolences is a duty – one should put aside any hard feelings or past incidents and pay respects to the family. I knew right away that I should go to the wake no matter how difficult or uncomfortable it would be. I got a hold of my ex’s number and sent him a message asking if it would be ok for me to come. He responded that I would be most welcome and that his brother would have liked that. After a few messages, he called me and I told me how much it meant to him that I had reached out and contacted him. I have not thought about him in years and could have never imagined getting in touch with him. I actually saw him from a distance years ago and hid! I learned so many lessons last night. So much good can come out of forgiveness and the smallest of gestures during someone’s time of need can make a really big difference. I am not sure I would have reached out had I not just read your post. Thank you.
This is such a great article, everyone should follow these rules and the world would be such a better place… since everything and everyone is connected by energy.
Crystal Green says
I love this blog. I’d LOVE it to be posted on my webpage as a guest post!! It falls in line with my theme.
Robin Frisella says
These are very powerful. I am still working on the forgiveness thing; your words on the subject took me a step closer to finding a little peace inside. Thank you!
Michelle Cummings says
Wonderful article! Thank you so much for the reminder that we can be so much more…
Abdul Rauf says
Splendid post! I really appreciate everything you’ve said here.
City Breaks Amsterdam says
This is such a nice article, everyone should follow these rules and the world would be such a better place… since everything and everyone is connected by energy.Thanks
So inspiring! Keep writing these nice articles.
This is a great article. I really needed it.
Thanks! Keep writing more and more….
This is absolutely the kind of blog I was looking for. Now it has become like a habit to make a daily visit to your blog and the good thing is I do not seem to get enough of it. I truly appreciate your dedication. Thank you.
Love your blog very much. Bless both of you:) Bookmarked your blog. Thank you very much.
awesome views, opinions and insights on relationships. you guys rocked it!!!!!!! as always. thanks
So great! Such a perfect article! Love it!
I can see why so many have commented before, this is a beautiful and encouraging article. It was exactly what I needed to read, in fact, I left halfway through to help my dad with a game, and helping him genuinely made *me* feel fantastic. It is so easy to neglect people, particularly the ones we care about most. I am going to print it out and stick it on my wall as a reminder 🙂
Amazing, thank you!
Nice article. I recently found your series and it is helping me deal with the loss of a relationship that I fought hard to save. In vain. I am hurting but I hope to be back on my feet real soon.
I have just been introduced to this website and within 1 minute honestly can say, it is factually the most comprehensive straight up talk, ever.
Awesome and much needed site in today’s world.
I have read many of the books listed and in fact, if interested just completed “Do what you love and Money will Follow” by Marsha Sinetar…. not what I expected at all and I believe a good addition to suggested reads.