Three steps to start (or improve) a relationship with anyone

Apr 18, 2011 by

In my day job, I spend most of my time building and maintaining relationships. Some days that task is easy, some days it is very difficult; but at the core, it is always simple (remember that simple and easy are not the same thing). And of course, its one of the most valuable skills you can have.

Whether you’re looking for a job, trying to keep your job, networking, making friends, moving to a new place, meeting your in-laws or anything in between, you need to have and grow good relationships. After years of doing this professionally and personally, I’ve boiled the science of relationship maintenance down to three steps for you:

  1. Know – If someone doesn’t recognize your name in their inbox or on their voicemail, the likelihood of them returning your email or call is minimal. Therefore, your first step is to get to know the person you need to have a relationship with and let them get to know you too. That means introducing yourself first instead of immediately asking for something from them. It also means providing basic information about yourself or your issue/problem/question instead of assuming that they know what you’re talking about.
  2. Like – Once someone knows who you are, the next step is to get them to like you. You can do this by providing useful information to them, offering help before its needed and then helping them when they ask for it. You can also do this by taking them out for coffee or a meal and talking about their interests and experiences; again, do this before you ask them for anything. Everyone likes to talk about themselves, so you can win by asking about them and genuinely listening.
  3. Trust – Once someone knows you and likes you, its a short step to having them trust you. If you do what you say you will on time and don’t overburden them with requests for help, they will trust you that much sooner. And once they trust you, they will step up to the plate on your behalf whether its by providing a recommendation, introducing you to the right people or going out of their way to help you.

The implicit fourth step here is to keep up with all three of the previous steps. Even if you move away or something else happens to take you out of someone’s immediate circle, you need to cultivate that relationship by staying at the top of their mind and maintaining the trust you’ve built. If you do that, you won’t have to worry about losing connection no matter what happens in your life.

*Photo courtesy of Flickr user susanvg
  • Great advice! Thanks for the tips!

  • Travis Christensen

    I played with my penis now i need to put cocaine on my re brain so that I can die and not look at people with my retarted convict inner eye.  oh yeah and also I wish for christmas to be made angry in my retarted anal raped anal hole so that I can be convicted of murder or some other crime because of my favorite friends in my head. 

    • Delete.

      Elisa M. Ortiz
      Career Coach, Blogger, YNPNdc Leader

      Sent on the road