Healthy relationships are essential both within the church with your fellow clergy, as well as outside of those doors with your close friends and family. Many of us may feel we already possess the qualities needed to maintain our existing relationships. However, no one is perfect, perhaps one of these areas we might each find a few where we can improve.
Listening: Not only should you listen, but actively listen. Look the person in the eyes and show genuine interest in what they are saying. Do not interrupt. Know when it is appropriate for you to talk. Giving all your focus to the person speaking to you makes it easier to avoid environmental distractions.
Being nonjudgmental: Regardless of context, avoid judgment. A fellow clergy person or friend may be disclosing to you something very uncomfortable to them.
Showing your honesty and dependability: These two qualities go a long way. A healthy relationship can become unhealthy the moment trust is broken. When trust is in doubt, it’s difficult, if not impossible to depend on that person.
Keeping positive: Nobody wants to be around someone who is constantly “woe is me.” There is nothing wrong with talking about challenging or tragic parts of your life, but try to generally keep as positive, warm, and upbeat as you can. Not only will it help your relationships, but thinking positive will make it easier for you to get through each day.
Discussing others in a positive light: You will be seen as more professional, more credible, and more approachable if you avoid the negative talk about your friends, family or peers.
Sometimes we get comfortable in relationships and ”get sloppy” with our skills. It is a good idea to periodically assess how well we are actually demonstrating these skills (maybe on a 1-10, 10 being perfectly scale). It is not uncommon for this to be somewhat difficult to honestly assess ourselves. If you find that there is area for you to improve, don’t expect perfection overnight, it is likely to have become a habit and habits take at least 30 days to change so be patient with yourself!