The people that you chose to spend your time with may have a huge impact on your life. You can be influenced by the attitudes and behaviors of those around you in ways that you may not realize. When you are in recovery, you may be well aware of the dangers that some people can have in your life. You may have identified friends who have been bad influences on you in the past. You may have noticed the feelings you get when people do not support or encourage you in your goals. You may be frustrated with wanting people to change and struggle with challenging relationships. Recovery and healing can start by giving up the struggle and letting go. When you let go of the time and effort you put into failed relationships, you can open up the door for healthy and supportive relationships.
An important aspect of life is the connections and relationships that we have with others. You can enhance your quality of life by building strong and healthy relationships with those around you. All relationships, whether they are with family, friends, or romantic partners, take time and effort to maintain. If you let your relationships fall apart due to passivity, you can lose support when you are at your worst. You may forget to reach out to people to keep your inner circle strong when you are doing well. Sometimes, you may forget to keep the fires of relationships burning and only reach out to people when you need them or are struggling. Many of your friends may still be there for you, however, to ensure that you have their continued support, remember to continue building these relationships.
Tips to Building Relationships
Develop Active Listening Skills
Active listening skills can be crucial to building and maintaining relationships with others.
Active listening shows the person that you care and that you are giving them your time.
Make eye contact, nod your head, and respond without interrupting the other person.
Restate the things that they have said to show that you understand, to get clarification, and to continue the conversation.
Put away phones or other devices when speaking with others!
Making Time for Others
Making time for other people shows them that they are valued.
Time can be the greatest gift that we can give someone.
Plan time to spend with friends. Weekly meet-ups for coffee, hikes, or other routine activities can help you stay in touch more easily.
Create and Respect Boundaries
Boundaries are limits that help you from overextending your time and energy.
You may need to clearly state boundaries with friends when you feel uncomfortable with things they have said or done.
Respect the boundaries that your friends have for you as well.
Respect Growth and Change
The people in your life may grow and change as you did during treatment and recovery.
By respecting your friends and family through their growth, they will be more likely to respect your continued progress.
Deal with Conflicts Respectfully
Conflicts can arise in every relationship.
When conflicts come up, you may feel reactive and speak from a place of anger or other emotion.
When you feel powerful emotions coming up during a conflict, take some time to calm down before speaking, then state how you feel and why.
Find solutions together and agree to a compromise to resolve any conflicts.
Show Your Appreciation
You may need to go out of your way to show your appreciation for your relationships.
You can show appreciation by saying things like, “I’m glad that we’re friends” or “I like when we spend time together.”
Showing appreciation can be simple, but it can go a long way in building strong connections with others.
Share Emotions Appropriately
Being vulnerable and sharing your emotions can help strengthen your relationships.
When your friends open up to you, be sure to acknowledge the effort and strength of being vulnerable.
Building connections and maintaining relationships can help you ensure that you do not feel lonely, isolated, or are lacking support in times of crisis. Practice your relationship-building skills to make new connections and foster existing relationships. Remember that sometimes, you may need to take a break or end a relationship or friendship if things are unhealthy. If a person continues to break your personal boundaries, belittles your emotions, never makes time for you, or does not listen to you after you have been direct and honest about these problems, you may need to let go. Ending a relationship is difficult, however, you can then put your time and energy into fulfilling activities, positive relationships, or self-care activities.
Connections and relationships are an important aspect of anyone’s life. When in recovery, we may need to reach out to others when we are feeling down or in danger of relapse. By continuing to build and maintain our relationships, we can ensure that we will have a strong system of support to help us when things go wrong. Relationships can add value and fun to our lives. They can help us relieve feelings of loneliness and isolation. Relationships can help us grow and develop as we encourage our friends to do the same. Relationships give us a sense of belongingness and help us develop our esteem needs. Remember that all alumni are part of Fire Mountain’s Bear Tribe. You are not alone. We’ve got your back.
Call us at (303) 443-3343.