Dr. Sylvia Hart Frejd

Happy business people with hands up

Research and experience confirm that relationships can be challenging, demanding, and hard work, but they are worth it. You and I have been created by a relational God to be in relationships. We are relational beings. Research shows compelling evidence that strong relationships contribute to a long, healthy, and happy life. Conversely, the health risks from being alone or isolated in one’s life are comparable to the risks associated with cigarette smoking, blood pressure, and obesity.According to psychiatrists Jacqueline Olds and Richard Schwartz, social alienation is an inevitable result of contemporary society’s preoccupation with materialism and frantic “busy-ness.” Their decades of research support the idea that a lack of relationships can cause multiple problems with physical, emotional, and spiritual health. The research is clear and devastating: isolation is fatal.

 

Think about your own life today. What is bringing you the most pain and the most joy? I would venture to say your answer would have something to do with relationships. Relationships give meaning and purpose to our lives like no other activity or endeavor can. It seems that most of us could use some assistance in developing better relational intelligence. In fact a large part of what we do in the helping profession is equip people to become more intelligent about their relationships, to help people to see them as assets and to make wise relational choices. I want to offer you 4 keys to relationship IQ.

 

 

4 Keys to Relationship IQ

 

1.     Know yourself.

2.     Choose wisely.

3.     Communicate.

4.     Give grace.

 

1. Know yourself.

A key ingredient to relationship IQ is to know oneself. This will require some introspection and self-reflection to become transparent. You have to take the time to know who you are and what you need in a relationship. It’s much easier and much more fun to be you than to pretend to be something or someone else. Sooner or later, it catches up anyway. Healthy relationships are made of real people, not images! Try to be honest and direct in expressing what you need and want. The other person may not be able or willing to provide what you request but at least they have a chance and choice in addressing your concerns and needs.

 

2. Choose wisely.

We aren’t called to do life with everyone. More isn’t always better. We need to use wisdom and be selective in choosing people to be in relationship with. Take your time to get to know them in a variety of settings. We can benefit significantly from being in relationships with people who will serve and sacrifice for us as much as we serve and sacrifice for them.

 

3. Communicate.

Take the time. Really be there. Genuinely listen. Don’t plan what to say next while you’re trying to listen. Don’t interrupt. Listen with your ears and your heart. Balance the negative with the positive. Research shows it takes a 5:1 ratio of positive statements to make up for one negative statement or action you make in a relationship.

 

4. Give grace.

Keep your expectations realistic. No one can be everything we might want him or her to be. Sometimes people disappoint us. It’s not all-or-nothing, though. Healthy relationships mean accepting people as they are not as we would hope they would be. If you give grace to your relationships its more likely you will receive some grace in return.

 

The healthier and more mature you are as an individual the greater the chance you will develop healthy, mature relationships with others. As we work on growing our relationship IQ let’s remember that God does some of His greatest work in our lives through relationships. They are worth our time and our energy.