How to Get a Relationship Off the Ground

by Maura Banar

Human beings rely on relationships for nearly every basic requirement for survival. Arguably, without interpersonal interaction, humans would wither like plants without sun and water. Getting a relationship off the ground is often the most difficult step toward expanding your opportunity to nurture and be nurtured by another person. With intentional effort to widen your social opportunities, you can find individuals with whom you can form successful, long-term relationships.

Learn how to be more assertive. Human beings respond consciously and unconsciously to individuals who appear genuine, confident and open. Assertiveness can help you pursue and encourage another person to get a relationship off the ground, without overpowering or intimidating the other person. Assertiveness, explains the University of Illinois, includes being specific about your intentions, asking the other person about his feelings and remaining nonjudgmental. Assertiveness, in contrast to aggressiveness, provides you with the opportunity and confidence to state your feelings without expectations for returned feelings.

Avoid or ignore your expectations, or at least place them on hold. Although you might be very interested in getting a relationship off the ground, the other person may not have the same thought at the same time. Having expectations can change the dynamics between two people, particularly when expectations differ. Move forward with the intention to be a better friend and to get to know the other person. Although this approach isn't officially defined as initiating a relationship, it contains the steps for building a healthy foundation that can eventually lead to friendship.

Share more of yourself. In a 2008 article published in the "Handbook of Relationship Initiating," the authors explain that self-disclosure is important in facilitating and nurturing a relationship. Although it's not necessarily easy to share more about yourself with a prospective partner, it helps to break down walls of superficiality. Self-disclosure is an art form, and there is such a thing as too much information. If you are unsure whether something is appropriate or helpful to share, consider choosing a different piece of information. Once something has been shared with someone, it cannot be "un-shared."

Increase opportunities to include the other person in your circle of friends and family. Getting any relationship off the ground should be accomplished with the intention of increased inclusion in your life. Don't overwhelm the other person by suddenly immersing her in your life. Instead, casually invite her to spend time with you, family and friends, having lunch or dinner. Over time, the relationship will progress, depending on the level of comfort and willingness the other person has to pursue it. If you have friends or family members who are pushy or overwhelming, consider waiting until a later time to introduce them to your new friend.

About the Author

Maura Banar has been a professional writer since 2001 and is a psychotherapist. Her work has appeared in "Imagination, Cognition and Personality" and "Dreaming: The Journal of the International Association for the Study of Dreams." Banar received her Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Buffalo State College and her Master of Arts in mental health counseling from Medaille College.

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