Relationships: Communication and Common Ground


I remember one time when my mother and sister were crossed up, and they seemed to be at an impasse. I agreed with my sister, and wasn’t sure how it was ever going to work out. Then suddenly, my sister relented, and all was back to normal. I asked her why she caved in, and she said that, to her, it was more important to have a “right relationship” than to be “right.” I’ve never forgotten those wise words, and remind myself of them many times when I find myself at odds with other people that I care about.

family pet

So how can we build and maintain good relationships? I believe there are several key things we can do to develop strong, lasting bonds with family that will last us a long time.


The first thing we can do is to learn to communicate. Learn how to effectively communicate your thoughts and ideas in a way that other people clearly understand. If you do, there is little room for misunderstanding, relieving stress in our relationships.

But communication is not just a one-way street - you talk to someone else. We also have to know how to listen. In fact, listening to others can be more important that talking. If you are a good listener, other people will believe you really care about them, which builds a level of trust that is critical to your relationships.

Common Ground:

Another way to build relationships is to find things you have in common with someone else. Some of my best friendships have come out of meeting someone and then finding we share a common interest in books, animals, sports, or travel. Once you find that common ground, it’s easy to start building a relationship that all parties enjoy.

My sister and I had an early common bond through animals. We both love dogs, and shared a family responsibility to take care of our Cocker Spaniel, Lady. We found out quickly that if we worked together, we could get our chores done, and still have time to enjoy playing with Lady. Even though I didn’t get the “fun job” of house training the puppy and teaching her new tricks, I still enjoyed being around my older sister, and going on walks together around the neighborhood with Lady leading the way.

Taking care of her needs brought us closer together. We still tell stories about those times – visiting neighbors, exploring the woods, and just getting outside – all because of our dog. Even though we are grown, we still remember our "Lady" and the special bond she created between us.

What relationships are most important to you? How can you strengthen them?

Jane Warren loves her family, and her animals, and is thankful that the two blend so well together!! She enjoys writing about insights into a variety of family and pet-related topics. Her website, offers tips and reviews on popular products, like Greenies treats for dogs, and other healthy treats.


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4 responses to “Relationships: Communication and Common Ground”

  1. […] Communication—You know how they say you’re not supposed to help a baby chick hatching out of its shell because that exercise is critical to its growth? You know how sometimes its good to help new moms out, but ultimately you have to let them figure out what works best for them and their baby, that being critical to their growth? And you know how life often hands us trials we don’t expect, and often it’s in the figuring out of those trials that we develop previously-unknown strengths and see beautiful facets of life we would have otherwise never known? Rachel Coleman is one of those diamonds, a woman who has taken the trials that come with having two disabled children and turned them into ways to reflect light back out into the universe. […]

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