The Best Way to Improve Relationships

Walk in someone else’s shoes before you open your mouth.

Of course, you can’t really walk in someone’s shoes.

But, by definition, your relationship means you have a connection with them.

So… how do you improve the relationship without actually taking their footwear?

To put it quite simply: you can pause and ponder.

Indeed … before entering a conversation:  Spend a couple minutes shutting down your own recording of your own issues in your own mind and about your own self-importance and reflect on who you are speaking to.

This is Huge!

For example: My daughter returns home from high school, after passing 3,000 students in the hallways multiple times during the day. When she arrives home, she needs a little bit of space. Note to self: her lack of immediate conversation is not an affront to my parenthood … it is merely a reflection of her nature. Walking in her shoes (mentally), reminds me of the challenges she faces.

More Examples…

When calling a friend or family member – don’t download all of your updates without first asking about their updates.

When at work – remember what your co-workers mentioned about their life, a family member struggling with a health issue, a parent who is ill, or financial issues.

When at home – recall when you last saw your neighbor and start the conversation there. “How was your son’s game?” “Your garden looks beautiful!” “Fido sure loves going for a walk.” “How do you like your new car?”

When driving home from work – think about what kind of day everyone at home has had. Children’s day with school? Spouse’s day at work … in or outside the home? And, please pet the dog.

If you are entering a space and you have nothing to follow-up with anyone, ask questions and start the relationship! We need to know about the people around us. We live in community.

Your Turn

Over the next 48 hours, pause before you walk into every new space … rooms in your home, office at work, classroom at school, and even a new aisle in a grocery store.

Focus on the people with whom you are about to interact.

Think of something to ask him or her about their own life.

Then ask or comment as appropriate.

Please do let me know how is it goes!

It’s simply transformational! 

Posted by Sharon R. Hoover

Photo credit: diegodiazphotography via photo pin cc


About Sharon R Hoover

Serving the church for over twenty years in discipleship and mission ministries, I've walked alongside many people travelling and exploring the journey of faith. Add in my own crazy path and I hope my writing will offer glimpses of life worth sharing.
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3 Responses to The Best Way to Improve Relationships

  1. Long-time, wonderful family friend shared this poem with me. It relates so perfectly with this post…

    Have you ever thought just a wee little bit
    of how it would seem to be a misfit,
    And how you would feel if you had
    to sit on the other side of the desk?
    Have you ever looked at the man who seemed a bum,
    as he sat before you, nervous — dumb —
    And thought of the courage it took him
    to come to the other side of the desk?
    Have you thought of his dreams that went astray,
    of the hard, real facts of his every day,
    Of the things in his life that make him stay
    on the other side of the desk?
    Did you make him feel that he was full of greed,
    make him ashamed of his race or his creed,
    Or did you reach out to him in his need
    to the other side of the desk?
    May God give us wisdom and lots of it, and much compassion
    and plenty of grit,
    So that we may be kinder to those who sit
    on – the – other – side – of – the – desk.

    (Thank you, Aunt Heidi!!)

  2. melodylowes says:

    Very good advice. ‘It’s not all about me’ is one of the lessons that sticks to us the least, I’m afraid!

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