Relationships have become increasingly complicated in the modern world, and without good relationship skills, it’s impossible to sustain them.
The right mix of essential skills will ensure that you have a meaningful relationship that will last for many years. So, what are these skills, and how will you know if you’ve got them?
Well, this is exactly why I’m here to help you!
In this think-piece, I shall tell you all about relationship skills, their importance, and how you can build them. So, dear reader, let’s get started…
What Are Relationship Skills?
Relationship skills are a set of skills/qualities that every individual must have to build a long-lasting and meaningful relationship.
Just like the name suggests, relationship skills are a set of skills or qualities that every individual must have to build a long-lasting and meaningful bond with their partners.
When you make an effort to build a deep connection with your partner, you will feel a lot more happy and satisfied in your relationship. Moreover, your partner will also acknowledge you and reciprocate the same.
Some of the common relationship skills that everyone should possess are honesty, integrity, good communication skills, and good listening skills, among others.
However, relationship skills aren’t just limited to romantic partners! If you wish to interact with people and increase your network, then also you must possess some relationship-building skills.
For example, if you wish to resolve a work conflict, you’ll have to listen to both parties, understand their problems, and then make an informed decision. This requires listening skills, empathy, and lots of patience.
Further, a good leader can only become good at their job if they possess the right qualities in the right quantities. And by this, I mean you should neither overdo a certain skill nor underdo it.
For example, trusting others is a good relationship skill, but if you trust people blindly without knowing them first, it will only hurt you later. Or if you always pose 100 questions before trusting them, it may someday hurt the other person.
Even though there can be innumerable relationship skills, especially in a romantic relationship, there are some that stand out more than others. All of these skills have been thoroughly researched and studied by famous psychologists and relationship coaches for many years.
Now that you know the definition of relationship skills, come on, let’s now see the importance of building them.
Why is It Important to Build Relationship Skills?
Relationship skills not only help you build long-term relationships but also come in handy in other aspects of your life.
Well, this is a no-brainer: when you build important relationship skills, you’re much more likely to form meaningful connections with other people, especially your partner, and keep them happy.
For example, if you’re honest with your partner, your partner will understand that you’re a genuine human being and will also reciprocate it.
Famous psychologist and researcher Joanne Davila believes that when you cultivate relationship skills in your romantic life, your mind automatically applies these same skills to other people in your social circle too.
So not only are you making your romantic relationship better, but you’re also subconsciously improving your other relationships too!
The problem with society today is that nobody really makes us understand the importance of relationship skills because most relationships are expected to be short-term. But if you want to build a lifelong relationship, there’s no way you can do it without the right relationship skills in your kitty.
40 Skills for Healthy Relationships
Unfortunately, there’s no handbook or a list of essential relationship skills but most people agree on basic skills like trust, empathy, etc.
…so I planned to make one. 😉
If you wish to start somewhere and know what skills you must work on to build a long-term relationship, this think-piece will come in handy!
1. Emotional regulation
In any relationship, especially a romantic one, learning to regulate your emotions is very important.
Emotional discussions between you and your partner can lead to heated arguments and anger. During these times, one of you has to keep calm and not let emotions overpower you.
If you’re struggling with regulating your feelings, you can try out a simple trick: while in any argument, put your emotions on the back seat and focus only on the problem.
2. Open communication
Communication is one of the most important pillars of any healthy relationship. If you and your partner know how to communicate with each other, there’s nothing in the world that can separate you.
You need to be willing to communicate your thoughts, emotions, and fears to your partner. Similarly, your partner should also open up and let you into their world so that you both can together build a happily ever after.
Remember, good communication not only eliminates any guessing games but also makes a relationship much stronger.
We’ve all learned the phrase “honesty is the best policy” but how many of us actually practice it? If you do, then that’s kudos!
But if you have a habit of keeping things from your partner or even lying to them, then this needs to stop.
Many times, you’ll be tempted to lie to your partner to avoid further arguments but being dishonest with each other will only lead to more problems later.
4. Listening skills
Unlike popular opinion, listening skills can absolutely change the dynamics of your relationships.
A judgment-free zone is essential in any healthy relationship, and non-defensive listening is the foundation for that.
Instead of blindly justifying your actions or blaming your partner, you must first hear what they’re saying without any judgments or biases. It may require a lot of patience, but if you can build it, nothing like it.
5. Understanding different perspectives
Most of us are so busy trying to prove ourselves right that we completely forget to listen to our significant other.
If your partner is trying to explain a perspective that is contrasting to yours, then you should not dismiss it immediately. Instead, make an effort to understand their emotions or thoughts behind it.
It’s not easy for someone to knock their guard down, so if your partner does that with you, they expect you to understand their viewpoints.
Empathy is just as important as trust in a relationship.
Even if you don’t understand why your partner has said or done something, you should always try to put yourself in their shoes before you hit back.
Yes, you may have a different perspective, but you must remind yourself that you both are different human beings with different viewpoints.
7. Talking calmly after an argument
It’s very easy to argue and call it quits, but it’s much harder to sit down, talk it out and keep walking ahead.
Just like love, fights are an equal part of a relationship. And, if you’ve just had an argument with your partner about something, it’s normal to feel the urge to never talk to them again. But the real fight is to resist that urge and go back to your partner and talk!
Never go to bed angry – make it the mantra of your relationship and trust me, it will work like magic!
8. Taking active interest in your partner’s hobbies/job
So, your partner has returned home from work and is super excited to tell you about the new project they’ve been offered.
You have no idea what that project means or even the nitty-gritty of your partner’s job. So, what do you do?
You ask them questions and show interest in whatever they’re doing! And this extends to your partner’s hobbies too; if they’re pursuing a hobby, encourage them with words of affirmation or small little tokens of appreciation.
9. Being friendly with your partner’s social circle
This might not be a direct relationship skill but it’s important nevertheless. When you date someone, you must be willing to accept them… with their social circle – which includes friends, relatives, family members, and everyone else they share a bond with.
I’m not saying you have to go out of your way and love everyone in your significant other’s social circle but make sure you leave a good impression in their minds.
It may seem unnecessary at this moment, but you’ll thank me when you see that smile of satisfaction on your partner’s face.
10. Expressing love
For people who aren’t that great at expressing love, this can be slightly tricky. But with enough time and patience, you can also master the art of showing love both physically and verbally.
Some of the tiny things you can do to make your relationship stronger are to walk up to your partner and tell them “I love you” or give them a warm hug when they come back home from work.
These things take almost no effort or money but can mean the world to your partner.
11. Understanding consent
For men especially, understanding consent is a huge thing. And I don’t just mean about your bedroom activities. If your partner says no to something, even outside the bedroom, then you just have to respect it.
And of course, when it comes to your sex life, then the phrase “no means no” should always be followed by both of you.
Assuming that you both will always be up for sex just because you’re dating is a huge mistake.
12. Planning super-cute date nights
This might not be on your “top ten relationship skills” list, but trust me, it can make a world of difference. You don’t have to plan anything huge or spend tons of money.
Something as simple as a romantic candlelight dinner or a cute movie date night can make your partner smile from ear to ear!
And while you’re planning all this, don’t forget to gift them a little something just to show them how much they mean to you.
13. Boosting your partner’s self-esteem
This is another undervalued relationship skill that I feel everyone must possess. There are already a lot of people in the world who overlook or worse, dismiss your partner’s strengths and talents.
You, as a partner, need to minimize the damage by being the loudest cheerleader of their life.
So, miss no chance to lift your partner up when they’re drowning in self-doubt. This will keep them motivated and running and also help them explore some hidden talents.
14. Appreciating your partner’s efforts
Love isn’t always about the big gestures. Someone who truly loves their partner will appreciate the little joys in life. And for this, you’ll have to cultivate the skill of learning to find love in whatever your partner does for you.
For example, if they’ve woken up early in the morning to make you a hot breakfast or saved the whole year to buy you the shirt you’ve always wanted – there’s a lot of love in both.
You just need to have the eye to identify these small-little things and be grateful for them.
15. Helping them to get a clear perspective
Is your partner the kind of person who becomes hyper and starts jumping to the worst conclusions when a problem arises? If your answer is yes, then you need to help them get a clear perspective by calming them down.
Using phrases like, “Honey, I know you’re worried but let’s not jump ahead of ourselves” or “Honey, I’m going to be with you every step of the way” can be absolute game-changers.
You can provide clear-headed advice and show them that their fears will go away.
16. Being able to accept your partner’s POV
Any healthy relationship is a partnership built on equal values and opinions. Sometimes you won’t get your way with things, and that’s okay!
When the going gets tough and you know that your partner’s perspective is a better way to help you both out of it, then there’s no harm in accepting that (and trust me, it won’t hurt your self-respect one bit!).
Anyone who has good relationship skills will tell you the importance of finding a middle ground and taking each other’s suggestions.
17. Helping them with physical or mental health issues
Nowadays, both physical and mental health issues are rampant all over the world, and you shouldn’t be surprised if your partner is suffering from one too.
So many people are afraid to go to a therapist or even ask their family members for help. They inevitably turn to their romantic partners for help because they feel that their partners will understand them.
If your boyfriend or girlfriend is also battling a health issue, you should do everything in your power to make them feel comforted.
18. Being vulnerable and raw
Your partner is baring his/her soul to you, but if you behave like a brick wall, then the relationship won’t proceed anywhere.
Believe it or not, being vulnerable is a relationship skill that thousands of people lack (especially men)!
You don’t have to tell them your most embarrassing secret right on the first date, but if you see that you both are going steady, you should allow them into your world and let them see the real you.
19. Knowing how to manage your anger issues
Imagine you’ve come back home after a horrible day at work. Your partner wants to cheer you up but everything that they’re doing seems to make you crankier.
Now you can do either of the two things: scream or politely tell them that you’re not in the mood.
If you often do the first, then it’s time to change, my friend! Knowing how to manage your anger issues and not directing them at your partner is a very important relationship skill.
20. Doing your fair share of household tasks
As I’ve told you, a relationship can only thrive if both partners work equally. And this rule is also applicable when it comes to doing household chores.
We’ve moved past the times when women used to be the sole caretakers of the house while men went out to earn bread.
With changing times, you need to lend a hand to your partner with everyday tasks like cooking, cleaning, or washing laundry. Divide the chores according to your preferences, and don’t hesitate to do your partner’s share on bad days.
Remember, it’s never going to be 50/50. Some days it can be 80/20, and on others, it can be 30/70, and you both need to be there for each other to cope with it.
21. Trusting them wholeheartedly
No one can deny that trust is the foundation of all successful relationships.
No, I’m not asking you to trust your partner blindly even if they exhibit suspicious behavior but don’t go snooping in their phones or constantly asking them where they had gone out.
Additionally, don’t play the jealousy card if you’re unable to trust them. If your partner loves and respects you, they won’t ever break that trust.
22. Respect for each other’s personal spaces
No matter how much you both love each other, you both are different humans. Naturally, each of you will have your personal space and hobbies, so it’s important to cultivate those hobbies separately.
If you’re constantly stuck to your partner and can’t imagine spending a single moment without them, then it will eventually suffocate your partner. So, don’t do that.
If your significant other wants to spend some time alone or do something without your help, encourage them with all your heart!
23. Financial management
Knowing how to manage your finances will not only make your relationship more practical and healthy but will also improve all other aspects of your life.
A partner who knows the right balance between saving up and spending money is an asset!
If you’re not sure of where to start, you can always try making a list of essential items and then the non-essential ones. Discuss your finances with your partner and set some rules that will help you both build a secure future.
Self-awareness may not be directly linked to the bond that you share with your partner, but plays a significant role in making your relationship successful.
Just as it’s important to understand your partner’s needs, it’s equally important to know what you wish for, whether from your partner or yourself.
So, spend some time with yourself, dive a little deeper, and you’ll eventually know what you want from this relationship.
Act accordingly and communicate it with your partner.
25. Letting go
In life, you’ll have both good and bad experiences and it’s very important to let go of the later to sustain the former.
Yes, you must learn from your past mistakes and improve on them, but that’s that. Constantly thinking about arguments with your ex or your childhood issues will ultimately impact your current relationship.
However, if you’re finding it difficult to let go of your past baggage, you can try therapy or talk to your current partner.
26. Realizing that love is a conscious choice
Contrary to what they show in movies or books, love isn’t always rose petals. There will be difficult times when you’ll simply want to break up. But these are the situations where true love will be tested.
Love is a conscious choice, long after you’ve fallen in love with your partner. Things won’t just happen magically; you have to make them happen.
Just like you hold each other’s hands when times are good, you have to choose to stay with each other when things get rough.
You’d want your partner to be faithful and loyal to you, right? Then you have to do the same! When you and your partner agree on a monogamous relationship, faithfulness becomes a key relationship skill.
There will be times when you’ll probably get attracted to that sexy coworker or wish to flirt with your ex just to make your current partner jealous.
But remember, if you act upon these small things and let passion overtake you, it will create a huge gap in your relationship.
28. Spending quality time with each other
If you’re having a bad day or you don’t know what to do next, who do you want to go to? The love of your life, of course!
So, spend quality time with each other and give your partner a hug for no reason. Trust me, that will keep me smiling the whole day.
Even if you’re not big on physical intimacy, make sure to reserve at least an hour or so every day so that you can talk about your day or anything else that you might wish to share with them.
29. Making your partner laugh
Humor is important, no matter what your age is. And if you can make each other laugh, there’s absolutely nothing that you can’t do.
And if you don’t, my suggestion is: pick on the cues that make your partner laugh and wisely sneak it in on bad days. Even if you can’t make him/her laugh immediately, they will definitely smile looking at your effort.
Buddy, once in a while, it’s absolutely okay to let go of all your inhibitions and behave like little babies!
In the relationship, you and your partner, both are humans – and it is absolutely normal to make mistakes.
To live a peaceful life, you need to learn to forgive when your partner messes up and walks ahead.
Don’t hold on to petty grudges, but also make sure your partner knows that they can’t get away with the same mistake repeatedly.
31. Being your partner’s best friend
Happiness is an essential ingredient in any relationship but how do you know that you’re truly happy with your mate? Simple… If your partner is also your best friend, then you know that they’re the one.
Similarly, you should also make efforts to become your partner’s best friend- from sticking together as a team to goofing around with each other- do everything that best friends do with each other!
And… On days when they need a friend, be a friend. On days when they need a partner, be a partner.
32. Making sure your partner feels safe around you
No amount of love can qualify for abuse. If your partner doesn’t feel safe around you or withdraws from you, then it’s on you, buddy.
As a partner, it’s your duty to provide a safe space for your partner and make them feel warm in your arms.
Moreover, love is definitely not a reason to show abuse. If you’re policing your partner every moment of the day and justifying it through love, then you need to change your methods right away.
33. Giving time to your partner and/or kids
Yes, you may be very busy building the life of your dreams but giving time to your partner and/or kids is an essential relationship skill.
So many people nowadays have no time to even smile at their spouses, let alone talk to them properly.
With time, we start taking each other for granted, and the love eventually takes a back seat. Don’t do that. Instead, go out with your family on the weekends, eat dinner together and party with your friends.
Long story short, learn to balance your personal and professional lives!
34. Keeping promises
This relationship skill goes hand-in-hand with the previous one.
If you’ve promised your girlfriend that you’ll attend her promotion party on time, do everything in your power to keep that promise.
Or if you’ve promised your boyfriend that you’ll make him a home-cooked meal, try your best to do it.
These tiny promises might not look like much, but with time, they turn into empty promises that lead to heartbreak. Simple things like giving time to each other or being there on time are some of the essential promises that you can start working on.
35. Having realistic expectations about the relationship
If you’ve just been with your partner on a couple of dates, don’t immediately start planning your wedding or what you’ll do ten years in the future. Yes, it’s great to plan ahead but make sure your plans are realistic.
Similarly, if you have just committed to each other a few weeks back, don’t expect your significant other to introduce you to their family right away.
Remember, good things take time, and having a practical mindset can actually do wonders for your relationship.
36. Defending your partner
Imagine a scenario where you’re being insulted or bullied by someone, and your partner, instead of standing up for you, is sitting quietly. Wouldn’t you feel humiliated and angry?
Now reverse the situation and think about what you’d do if your partner were put in an uncomfortable situation.
This is why defending your partner and standing up for them is a crucial relationship skill. You don’t have to wage a war against the person who insulted your partner but make it clear that nobody’s allowed to mess with them!
37. But also pointing out their mistakes
Now, defending and supporting your partner is all good and fine, but what happens when your partner is the one at fault? My advice is to point out their errors but only when there’s nobody around you.
After all, it can be a little embarrassing for your partner if you keep rectifying them in public.
Don’t be rude or behave like a know-it-all but ensure that your partner reflects on their mistakes and improves themselves.
38. Understanding what they like in the bedroom
Sex is obviously an important aspect of any healthy relationship, and you must know your partner’s preferences to abide by them.
This isn’t a direct relationship skill that you need to cultivate, but it is still important.
For example, if you’re someone who likes to go the extra mile and try out new moves while your partner believes in toning things down, try to understand why they prefer it that way and see how to make both of your desires work together.
Again, remember the mantra – consent is sexy! 😉
39. Changing yourself for the better
Human beings are constantly changing and evolving. And if you’re in a relationship with someone, it’s natural that their values and behavior will reflect in you and vice versa.
Even then, making a conscious effort to improve yourself and trying your best to make your partner proud of you is a useful relationship skill.
If you improve yourself and let go of all your bad habits, it will not only progress your relationship, but your entire life will change for the better!
40. Knowing when things aren’t working out well
I’ve told you what to do when the relationship is going great, but what should you do when things just don’t seem to fit properly? Here is where the last relationship skill comes into play – knowing when to leave.
You’ve given your best, but even then the bond between you and your partner that was once magical is now starting to feel like a burden.
In this situation, it’s best to break up and walk your separate paths. But knowing how and when to break up amicably is important.
A word from ThePleasantRelationship
Relationships are fun and fulfilling but it takes a lot more than just love to make it work.
So dear reader, I hope you have read and understood all the essential relationship skills that you must build to become the best partner ever!
Plus, if you’re ever in doubt, take a quick look at this think piece!
Surabhi wakes up every day with a drive to craft words that can create a soulful impact. Creatively adventurous, she is always seeking to learn new skills and acquire new experiences. With a hidden soft corner for languages (especially Urdu), she writes poetry occasionally, binges on romantic shows, and LOVES to talk. A hustler, admirer, chaser, Surabhi is just another-someone who refused to give up on her dreams. She says, she is just somebody who’s trying to make herself a writer and for now, she’s just writing...