Every day in our lives we are faced with one constant challenge: other people. Often time, people associate the word “relationship” with a significant other, but in reality we maintain relationships with everyone around us. From neighbors, to co-workers, friends to lovers. If there is one common connection between all of these relationships, it is that at some point they will become strained in one way or another.

Too often, people are quick to throw away relationships that could just as easily be mended and strengthened. Mending relationships of any kind takes work. The next time you’re faced with a struggle in any relationship you might have to think of these 4 keys to keeping that relationship intact.

TAKE RESPONSIBILITY

 First off, let’s establish that taking responsibility and taking blame are two different things. If you are at fault, take responsibility for it. Nothing alienates another person quite like ignoring your actions. If you aren’t at fault, take responsibility for how someone else’s actions made you feel. There are two sides to every coin, and as you take responsibility for yourself, you’ll start to see that blame isn’t the point. It is accountability. When two people can agree that they were both at fault in a situation, finding common ground to come back together on is easy.

SAY IT

 Think of the conversations you have when you are mad or hurt. Are you actually Communicating anything other than hostility or frustration? Just because words are coming out of your mouth, doesn’t mean that you are communicating. You’re better off explaining WHY you feel a certain way than you are just saying that you feel that way. Anytime I harp on communication, I use the word “effective” for a reason. You have to let Someone know the ‘why’ of how you feel, not just that you feel it.

STAY RATIONAL

 The closer a relationship may be, the more the tendency to let emotions take control exists. It’s easy to let emotions take over any conversation but when it comes to dealing with another person, rationality will always win. Yes, it is important to have a grasp on your emotional state and to communicate it. That does not mean that your conversation needs to come from a place of raw emotions. That’s where emotional intelligence comes into play.

THE ELSA APPROACH

In the end, there will always come a time when we have to be like Elsa in Frozen, and just let it go. You have to look at the other person and say, “you know what? My relationship with you is more important than winning this argument.” It’s that simple. The key here is that if you have done all of the other things i have talked about here, and the person does not care or adjust whatever it was that started the conflict, maybe it’s time to let go of them