Every day we interact with the world in a variety of different ways. This could be through our workplace, community activities, personal hobbies, and now, more than ever, through social media channels. Building relationships is a desire that every human has. Most of the time it is out of selfish intent and we wonder why some of these relationships don’t last, why they “fizzle” out. The question to ask yourself is, “What can I do different that creates long-lasting substance in my relationships?”

Yes, there are many things that need to happen in order to create a long-lasting relationship, and this can be overwhelming for any person. However, I would like to make this simple and provide some basic ideas and concepts that, if applied, can begin a process of experiencing far more joy and substance in all your personal relationships. Whether that be enhancing your relationships with your friends, business associates, children, or spouse.

The foundation to all relationships is going to be trust. Before trust can be present in a relationship, it has to be present within yourself. Do you trust yourself? If we can’t keep promises and commitments to ourselves then what does that tell the world about having a relationship with us? Not only does it hack away at our self-confidence, but we lose trust in our ability to make and keep commitments; we fail to project the personal strength of character that inspires trust. Remember that every time you make and keep a commitment to yourself, or set and achieve a meaningful goal, you become more credible. The more goals you achieve, the more confidence you have that you can continue to meet goals, and the more you will trust yourself!

As I have had the great fortune to travel around the world and interact with many different cultures, I have learned that no matter where you go, these principles serve as the best guide to building long lasting relationships. I want to introduce you to my friend L.A.C.I. This acronym has served as a simple but profound reminder of how I not only need to be in order to create new relationships but to continually cultivate my existing relationships.

LLove: You have to love people for who they are, love their weaknesses, love their strengths.

AAuthentic: this is the quality of being genuine, it’s all about being who you are.

CCredible: The quality in which others believe in you, your words, and your actions.

IIntegrity: Being trustworthy in your actions and with your character. Having pure, honest, and truthful motivations.

After identifying the importance of self-trust, which inevitably builds self-confidence and the application of Love, Authenticity, Credibility, and Integrity, we are now ready to create an environment where a relationship can begin to grow and thrive. This environment that I am referring to is what I call the “Emotional Sphere.” This sphere is present any time you meet a new person, or it is a relationship you have had for some time. Most people are aware of this sphere but have no idea the power of it. The first step is understanding what Emotional Intelligence is. E.I. has been defined by many scholars as: the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.

Emotional Intelligence is an essential part of building relationships. As you become more aware of your emotions you will then begin handling them more effectively. This will not only improve your relationships but it will drastically improve the quality of your life!

Here are a couple questions you could ask yourself to gain some insight on where you stand with your Emotional Intelligence.

  • How aware are you of others feelings, emotions, and moods?
  • Do you accept feedback from others easily?
  • Are you able to admit when you are wrong?
  • Do you develop rapport with people easily?
  • Do you behave in a way that builds trust?

Relationships are meant to be emotional, it is within the emotional sphere that connections, trust, and relatability can be felt. It is common for many people to go through life not understanding the importance of connecting on an emotional level. They see within their circle of friends or circle of influence that people will have deeper connections with each other and wonder why they don’t carry that same relationship. Don’t worry, you can get there! Start with being honest with yourself and working through the five questions above.

The next step is to now interact with those you are wishing to build a relationship with. Here are some bullet points that when applied will enhance your ability to build and grow relationships.

  • Warmth: This is the outlook and attitude towards others and life.
  • Appearance: This will come across with the way one looks, dresses, and grooms. This doesn’t mean that someone needs to be wearing incredibly expensive clothes or have all the name-brand accessories, but rather respectable. This person needs to feel comfortable in their own skin, who they are! Some of the most successful people I have ever met wear jeans, a polo shirt, and comfortable shoes. They are comfortable with who they are, therefore their appearance is confident, but not intimidating.
  • Competence: This will come across through verbal communication.
  • Body Language: This is a crucial part of building rapport, but most important communicating that you are willing to be vulnerable. When someone can demonstrate vulnerability with their demeanor and body language, it’s amazing how quickly you can start building substance in the relationship. Remember that body language is the outward reflection of your emotional state and condition. The more in tune you are with your emotional intelligence the more inviting your body language will be therefore building a relationship of trust that is the foundation of a long-lasting relationship.

I love people. I believe in people. I thrive in the process of building and cultivating relationships. I encourage you all to have stronger self-trust, be authentic and honest, don’t be afraid of building emotional intelligence, and enjoy the present moment when speaking to those you are wanting a stronger relationship with!