Six practices to be intentional about building positive relationships

Building positive relationships is hard. Use these six practices to help make it easier.

Positive relationships take time and effort to build. 4-H clubs are a perfect environment for youth and adults to build positive relationships. Using these six practices will help youth and volunteers strengthen their relationships and lay a foundation of trust and respect.

  1. Honest and kind communication. No relationship can develop without communication. Making sure the door is open for honest and kind communication is one strategy that can help foster and nurture positive relationships.
  2. The willingness to work through difficulties and disagreements. We all will disagree at some point in time; what matters is how we handle the disagreements. Being willing and able to work through disagreements and difficulties shows you are committed to the relationship and you will do whatever you can to resolve any issues in a peaceful and kind way.
  3. A sense of humor. Having fun together and not always being “all business” will show others a different side of your personality.
  4. Sharing life lessons. Sometimes the most impactful way we can build relationships is while sharing our own life experiences and lessons.
  5. Emotional support and giving compliments. Letting the other person know you truly care about them and will be there as a supporter, cheerleader and encourager is a gift that is easy to give. Giving genuine compliments and recognizing good effort helps the other person to know you are paying attention.
  6. Compassion and forgiveness. We all make mistakes at some point in time. Showing others compassion and forgiveness is an essential component of any relationship. Sometimes this is a very hard thing to do, but when the relationship is our priority, a little bit of compassion and forgiveness goes a long way.

Building relationships is an essential part of life, and 4-H members have the opportunity to practice and hone their relationship building skills in safe club environments. To learn more about the resources Michigan 4-H life skill development has to offer, please visit Michigan State University Extension’s Life Skills page.

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