How To Strengthen Your Relationships During Challenging Times

They say distance makes the heart grow fonder.

So if that is the case, could relationships during social distancing and quarantine actually grow stronger?

In a world with fewer opportunities to interact with those we love and care for, we must make the most of each moment. If you are feeling lost on how to nurture meaningful relationships these days, here a few ways to prioritize and strengthen your connections during these trying times:

Tell people you love them

Have you ever gone a while without seeing someone who means a great deal to you? Chances are you are going through it right now. Do you remember how good it felt and how much of a weight was lifted when you said those three simple words? Tell the people you love that you love them, and remind them that they are thought of. Saying “I love you” to someone is such a simple way to reinforce your relationship. It can sometimes feel like you are establishing a connection all over again.

Be present during conversations

We all lose focus sometimes, and though it is not our intention to, we fail to realize how much it hurts the person we are communicating with when our attention drifts elsewhere. For a conversation to be significant and truly meaningful, we must channel our energy into focusing better on what the other person is saying. When we are not fully present in these moments, our friends or loved ones will either get the impression that we do not care or that what they have to say is not important enough. So, if you can’t be together face-to-face, be present anyway. Be engaging and curious, even on a phone call or video chat. Both of you will get more out of the conversation that way, and it will help enhance your relationship by showing them that you care.

Practice active listening

There is listening, and then there is active listening, and what makes it active is authentically demonstrating concern for the other person. Active listening is much more than hearing; it means holding back on judgment and advice to let the other person speak. Can you recall a time when you were talking to someone, and they kept cutting in, almost as if they believed their voice or advice to be more valuable than what you were attempting to share?

While it was likely not their intention to make you feel this way, you did because they were not active listening. If you want to enhance your relationships, you must be willing to concentrate, understand, and remember what the other person is saying. Do not just jump in with something you believe is helpful because sometimes people just want to talk and release their thoughts and emotions. Instead, use brief verbal affirmations, ask questions when appropriate, and look at the person you are speaking to. To be an active listener, you must listen to the words coming out of their mouth and more importantly, listen to what they are feeling.

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