Building relationships with others will support and strengthen you every day. Relationships aren’t limited just to your family; they include your friends, neighbours, co-workers, school friends and people you meet in your local community.
Developing close relationships and socialising with friends, family and others, is important for good health and wellbeing.
Broadening your social networks and range of relationships with others in the wider community, is also important for your wellbeing.
Significant research evidence shows, having other people in our lives matters to our quality of psychological wellbeing at every age. There are two types of social relationships important for us to build and maintain for wellbeing:
Relationships which are strong and deep These are relationships with people who are close to you, such as family and friends. This type of connection takes time to develop and is not at the acquaintance level. They provide support, enjoyment, encouragement and meaning.
Broad Relationships Which may be more superficial (but important) with others in your community and the wider world. These relationships provide a sense of familiarity, connectedness, self worth / position in community.
Benefits of Developing Relationships
Human beings are ‘social animals’. Our relationships with others contribute to feeling good, so it’s important to socially connect with others where we can. Developing healthy social relationships can increase our feelings of happiness, security, belonging and self-worth. Creating bonds with family and friends allows us to feel secure.
Sharing positive experiences give us a chance to help and support others, which can be personally rewarding. It also gives us a chance to receive emotional support from others.
Wellbeing can be passed on through relationships. Spending time with positive people can improve your own psychological wellbeing.
Survey results have shown that social participation is the most significant difference you can make towards high levels of wellbeing today!
How to stay socially connected
Organise regular catch-ups with a friend.
Have dinner with your family.
Phone or email a friend who you don’t see often.
Walk in nature.
Spend time with pets and animals.
Introduce the 5 Ways To Wellbeing to others in your family, social groups, workplace, school or university, as a way to connect in a more meaningful way!
How to stay in contact with your family and friends
Sometimes it’s hard to stay in touch with the people you care most about in our busy lives. How do you usually stay in touch? Is there more that you could be doing to stay in touch?
Engage more with others by smiling and catching their eye.
Schedule a time of the week to talk to friends over the phone, by texts, emails, or visiting (variety helps).
Go out for coffee or see a movie with friends, family or work friends.
Ask friends or family members to help you organise regular, fun activities.
Read stories to your children, or ask them to read one to you.
Invite a friend for a ‘walk and talk’.
Ask people how they are going and really listen to their answer.
Invite a friend over for a meal.
Write an email or a letter to a friend or relative.
How to make new social connections
Smile and make eye contact.
Say “Hi” or “Hello” and greet them by their name if you know it.
Have open body language when you are meeting others.
Try to get the conversation going using small talk (“It’s been cold lately”, or “I like the scarf you’re wearing”).
Be present. If you really want to connect with people, then you have to work on being present in the conversation.
If you don’t think that you have anything to offer, a smile can go a long way!
Help the other person feel comfortable.
Ask questions and keep things positive, and really listen to the answer.
Show that you’ve been listening by giving sincere compliments or advice.
Find something you share in common to talk about.
“I baked a cake and took it round to my elderly neighbour today. Best feeling I have had in ages.”
“At least twice a week I arrange to meet a friend in town for soup over my lunch break. It’s been so good to catch up with people, and arranging it [in] advance means I can’t just work over my lunch hour like I used to.”
“I really enjoy a good chat and make time to speak to everyone I see in our building. When I’m not working I love spending time with my wife and children…”