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Ten Insights to Help Us Better Relate to Others

  • Anna Kuta
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  • 2013 Jul 23
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How can we better relate to the people we encounter around us on a daily basis? Thom Rainer tackles this question in a blog post analyzing a recent Harvard Business Review article about understanding people. Rainer summarizes 10 key questions from the article that give an insight into understanding the "why" and "how" of a person:

  • What is the talk-to-listen ratio?
  • Does the person give or take energy?
  • Does the person act or react?
  • Is the person real or fake?
  • Do you know his or her spouse?
  • How does this person treat someone he or she doesn't know?
  • Has this person struggled in his or her own life? 
  • What does this person read?
  • Would you go on a long car ride with this person?
  • Is this person self-aware?

Rainer cautions that "these guidelines do not necessarily mean we are to avoid those who don't measure up on all 10 points." To the contrary, he says, "as Christians we are called to relate to people who might not 'normally' be our best friend. We are to have big hearts that have room for a host of hurting people." 

So how can we as Christians effectively build better relationships with those around us? In an article on Crosswalk.com titled "Get Along Better with Coworkers," Whitney Hopler lists some ways to build better relationships with people at work, even those who are difficult to get along with. In another Crosswalk.com article titled "Build Better Relationships," Jeanne Doyon states: "As a Christian I am God's representative to a dying world. Even if I don't say a word, my actions reveal my heart attitude. Scripture offers many examples to follow to express love for one another." Doyon goes on to say: "Relating to others begins with how I relate to the Savior of my soul. Until I love the Lord with all of my heart, mind, soul and strength I will be unable to fully express that love unselfishly to others. As I experience His love and grace, my outward actions will dramatically change. I will be led by a spirit of humility. This radical love will begin to transform my relationships the same way they did for those whom Jesus loved throughout Scripture."

Do you agree that relating to others better begins with first understanding them better? How can we work to understand and build relationships with those around us to ultimately show them the love of Christ?

Anna Kuta is the editor of ReligionToday.com.