Ask Fred > Career/Work > How do you build healthy relationships?

Select a Category:

Dear Fred

Hi Fred: What prescription would you give someone who desired to build a healthy relationship with another person? Thanks Fred!

Fred's Response

Thank you so much for asking how you develop a good relationship with another person. It is one of my very favorite subjects. I wish that I could give you at least three or four pages on it, but in this answer column I'll have to synthesize or minimize my suggestions. I feel it is one of the areas of I in which I have had success. First, if you want to develop a friendship, you must establish a mutual interest. One of my favorite definitions of friendships is that it is mutual benefit or mutual advantage. When either person stops getting something the friendship withers and dies. It might not be dramatic, but it's very sure that it will. Therefore, establish a mutual interest and not just a superficial one, but one that is important to both people. Then I suggest you make yourself useful to the other person. You don't want to use each other without permission but you certainly want to be useful. You become an asset. Then you want to be sure that you maintain frequent contact. Friends require time to develop. Another thing is, be careful to earn your right to confront or criticize. The other person must know you well enough and long enough to trust your motive when you confront and yet we owe each other the confrontation that helps the other to develop and avoid mistakes. Another thing, learn the psychic space the other person requires. Some people like for others to get real close real fast; others hold people off. For example, I never touched my dearest friend not put my arm on his shoulder because he required a broad psychic space. I learned this from a psychiatrist friend of mine who told me about a client who suddenly starting screaming, "I hate you! I hate you! I hate you!" I asked him, "was that true?" "No, I had violated her psychic space and as soon as I backed out, she became normal again." I would also recommend that you not become too intimate too soon because people in an emotional moment may share something and then feel extremely uncomfortable around you in the future. Be very discreet in intimate conversation. Then one last thing, let the people know you are interested in them but not curious about them. I like for people to be interested in me, but I really don't like people to be curious about me. Interest means they are learning things abut me that will be helpful in dealing with me. Curious means that they are only getting the benefit of knowing things about me. You can usually tell the difference by the questions that someone asks. I hope that you will find these observations helpful as you create healthy friendships.