Nurturing human connections

By Dr. Samina Riaz
Fri, 07, 24

The emotions we experience, the feelings we exude, and the interactions we have in various relationships often shape our beings...

Nurturing human connections


Relationships are a core part of our lives. The emotions we experience, the feelings we exude, and the interactions we have in various relationships often shape our beings. But here’s the thing about relationships: like perishable products with a limited shelf life, these connections also hold an expiry date. While no one can exactly predict the expiration of a given relationship, it always seems to loom over the subconsciousness. Ideally, the bonding we form with others or naturally acquire upon birth should end when our life ends; however, in reality, some of our relationships last while some fade away.

The first few relationships we experience as soon as we come to this world are the ones with our parents, siblings, and immediate family. These natural relationships are often the strongest ones we ever experience. But the nature of relationships is so fragile that even these natural bonds begin to become weaker and lose importance. However, these natural affinities do not suddenly end; rather, they fade away with time.

In addition to these immediate ties that we have, other relationships that we form, such as marriage, also tend to fall apart. Despite being regarded as the union of two souls, marriage is also not exempt from expiration. Post honeymoon phase, when couples face life’s challenges, they succumb to common pitfalls, like taking their partner’s feelings for granted, miscommunication, and unrealistic expectations, which eventually crack the marital bond.

Nurturing human connections

Friendships are not immune to expiration either. As we chart the course of different stages of life, our priorities change and so do we, as do the people around us. New priorities, career or family commitments, or sometimes simply evolving interests can put strong camaraderie in the backseat.

Undeniably, human nature seeks strong connections and authentic belongingness, but nurturing and maintaining these relationships is not a mean feat. There are proven ways and time-tested tips that can help you strengthen your connections.

Here are a handful of practical tips for you to sustain and maintain a lasting and fulfilling relationship:

Effective communication

Good communication is the cornerstone of building and maintaining healthy relationships. Speak with sincerity to share your concerns, feelings, and ideas, and listen attentively to truly see and understand others. Prefer honest communication instead of tiptoeing and hiding facts under the veil of sarcasm.

Empathy and understanding

Empathy is the ability to put yourself in another’s position to understand their feelings, perspectives, and experiences. You can hone this skill by showing compassion, understanding others’ perspectives, and validating the feelings of others without being judgmental.

Respect boundaries

Maintaining and respecting boundaries, both yours and others, is pivotal to healthy relationships. Do not package your disliking and disapproval as boundaries and use them to control others. Similarly, don’t let others breach your limits. Have clear boundaries and communicate them politely but clearly to avoid backlash.

Resolve conflict constructively

Conflict is a natural part of our relationships, but how you deal with it makes all the difference. To solve conflicts constructively, find a neutral ground to come up with mutually beneficial solutions. Know that both you and the person who you are having a conflict with win when you walk away with a better understanding of each other and a deeper connection.

Nurturing human connections

Quality time together

You can deepen your bond with your loved ones and friends by spending quality time with them. Make an effort to dedicate some time from your schedule, when the TV is off, knives and forks are down, and phones and laptops are on standby. Paying undivided attention is the core essence of spending quality time and this is what makes your bond stronger and deeper.

Celebrate each other’s success

You can strengthen your relationship by being the biggest cheerleader for your loved ones. Celebrate their wins, be genuinely curious about their aspirations, encourage them in their pursuits, and praise their achievements. Make uplifting and motivating each other a common practice in your relationships so that you can attain and celebrate success collectively.

Express gratitude

Showing gratitude to your loved ones for being in your life can go a long way. Acknowledge and appreciate how they add meaning and value to your being. Showing gratitude and appreciation is beneficial for both the receiver and the sender. It opens your heart and is a definite win-win for everyone involved.

Valuing people over illusions

Social conditioning and expectations often keep us trapped in fake illusions that can be detrimental to our relationships. Instead of squashing and manoeuvring people to your liking, let go of illusions and accept people as they are. Idealized perceptions about relationships blindside you and don’t let you see the connections and bonds you already have.

Nurturing human connections

Embracing imperfections without trying to change others

No one is perfect. Accept that! We all have our flaws, shortcomings, scars, demons, and quirks. The urge to mould others to match our idealized visions not only eliminates authenticity and realness from our relationships but also shows our incapability to accept things and people as they are. It is futile to influence others to conform to our standards as it affects trust and mutual respect upon which a healthy relationship thrives. You can experience a deeper sense of satisfaction and have the purest form of relationship when you accept people for who they are, including their flaws.

Seeking professional help when needed

When things go awry in your relationship despite putting in your best effort, don’t feel embarrassed to seek help from professionals. It is prodigiously consoling to have a therapist, counsellor, or mediator listen to your issues without judgment and get their help in resolving interpersonal conflicts.

In a nutshell, if you want your relationships to last till your final breath, you need to be more mindful of your actions, behaviour, and intentions. The secret to everlasting connections lies in avoiding common pitfalls and being more acceptable of others as they are.