One of the simplest things I’ve learned about improving your relationships is an important habit to develop.  Its simple, but not that easy to put into practice without paying attention to it, which is the point of this article. Its so simple its often overlooked when people teach about communications and relationships.  The idea is to never talk negatively about anyone.  What I mean by this is to avoid all the typical team / relationship killers that go on in normal office politics such as:

  • Talking about someone’s performance with anyone other than them
  • Rumors and gossip in the workplace or friendship circles
  • Telling others what someone else did without a reason or something to be learned
  • Using others’ negative behaviors as an example without their permission

These are just a few examples of how simple communication might be unintentionally harmful but end up being very harmful indeed.  Even the most innocent discussions about someone else can easily get retold and end up in the ears of the actor in the story which can easily be taken the wrong way.  Things get misinterpreted and told differently each time its communicated.  The best way to avoid this is just to never talk negatively about anyone.  Keep in mind that anything you say could get back to that person and so if you’re not willing to say it to them directly, then you shouldn’t say it in the first place.  If you do have something to say, why not tell them directly and deal with the issue, instead of complaining to others about them and making the situation worse.

This works not only for negative things you have to say, but also for positive.  Its not much point in telling someone else about the things a person does well or poorly, you might as well tell them directly.  If you do have feedback for someone, then base it on what they’ve done and don’t make it negative about the person themselves.  I learned this topic primarily from the book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People ” which I definitely recommend if you haven’t read it.  It covers so many critical life topics on relationships you’re missing out if you haven’t learned the teachings from it.

What is an important rule you follow for building relationships?

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