Tips to GIVE your Relationship a Boost

by Brendan Guarino, PsyD

Navigating relationships can be a major challenge. Whether it be romantic, family, or a work relationship, nonetheless arguments and disagreements are inevitable. We all have our own opinions, ideologies, and ways of thinking. This is what makes human beings unique and different.

Without difference, how boring would our world be? One common aspect of humanity is we tend to be social beings who gravitate towards others. One can say that finding and starting relationships are difficult, but keeping and maintaining a relationship can and sometimes is the hardest challenge. Here are helpful tips on how to maintain and keep your relationship.

To better remember these tips we use the following acronym GIVE:

G- (Be) Gentle – Be nice and respectful, being mindful of not attacking the other person by threatening them, judging them or engaging in any non-verbal communication that may signal otherwise.

I- (Act) Interest– Listen and appear interested. Make sure you are listening and not multitasking, interrupting, or talking over the person.

V- Validate– Validate with your words and actions. Show them that you care about them by reflecting back what they are saying, trying to understand what the conversation is about and acknowledging their perspective.

E- (Use an) Easy manner– And of course smile and be lighthearted. Allow yourself to be open, put your guards aside, and be mindful of not always having to be on the offensive.

Remember, skills such as these above need time and practice. If you are feeling frustrated after using these skills, practice them on your own. Rehearse in front of a mirror, practice with a friend, or write down your goals before engaging in the conversation. Relationships are like plants, they take a lot of patience, time, nurturing, and attention. When these aspects are not attended to, relationships begin to wither and eventually may fall apart. As spring is ahead of us, take some time and nurture, water, and feed your plants!


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