Principles of Powerful Relationships

by / ⠀Entrepreneurship Startup Advice / May 20, 2013

Relationship Qualities“The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.”

Emotional Abuse …

Frustration because your needs are not met…

Lack of Support…

Emptiness …


Five things you want to avoid in relationships.

The best way to do that?

Respect is demonstrated by our actions, not our words. When those actions are absent, especially at a trivial or simple level, there is also a distinct lack of respect. In every relationship respect goes hand-in-hand with love and commitment. You cannot love someone you don’t respect or are not prepared to commit to, even for a short time. Otherwise you will resent the time spent with them, or spent doing things on their behalf, when you could be doing something else or be with someone else. Neither can you love someone you really do not trust. Once trust is gone, the feelings become superficial as the relationship shifts in terms of both emotion and power. You would no longer respect that person, tending to be suspicious of their actions instead of celebrating and enjoying their presence.

The Six Dimensions of Respect

Often a lack of respect comes from a misunderstanding of the word. We throw around the word ‘respect’ very glibly, as a single cure-all for our feelings. But respect is not just one term. It carries six other dimensions within it:

1. Curiosity

2. Attention

3. Dialogue

4. Sensitivity

5. Empowerment

6. Healing

If we are not really demonstrating those six concepts in various ways, with regards to the one we say we respect, we are not showing them much respect at all.


Respect starts with curiosity. We have an interest in that person. We want to know as much about them as possible, or at least a few key things to start with. In the dating process we engineer all kinds of opportunities to satisfy that curiosity and are often mortified when we get no response from our interest because are unable to fulfill our curiosity in any way and to give our attention. We feel frustrated, rejected and insignificant.


If curiosity is satisfied, we move to give that person our full attention. Indeed, our curiosity grows too, because that person begins to assume value in our eyes. The amount of value will depend on the way they satisfy our curiosity and attention. If the information we get is weak, unappealing or non-reinforcing, we lose interest rapidly, our attention wanes and we move towards another. However, if we perceive that the new interest aligns with us and matches us in major ways, excitement and interest both quicken. We then lavish even more attention on that person, going out of our way to attract their attention and interest.


Lots of attention inevitably leads to dialogue because that is the only way we can learn about our new interest. We communicate verbally as much as possible because we respect that person enough to want to hear what they have to say. We also take the greatest pleasure in conversing for our own sake. Hence much money will be spent on dates and phone calls, in particular. Where there is little respect, we are not in the least bit interested in that person and won’t even talk to them. If there is also disrespect, for example, we made assumptions about them based upon their gender, color, sexuality etc., we will go so far as to treat them negatively. We might have a dialogue at such times but it will express our anxieties, prejudices or anger, not our respect.

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This is at the core of respect. Accepting the person as they are without wanting to change them to suit us; fully acknowledging their values, culture, identity and who they want to be; valuing their contributions, opinions and inputs and genuinely listening to them and sharing their concerns. These are all essential elements of showing sensitivity to the person they are, and wish to be. When we put ourselves and our needs first, and can only see our values, cultures and opinions, we are lacking great sensitivity to those we care for and are actually denying them respect, no matter what we say to the contrary.


Being curious about someone, giving our attention to, having a dialogue with, him or her, and being sensitive to their needs represent the greatest form of empowerment we can grant to another human being. It shows we value them greatly if we are willing to give them our attention and time, and also care about what they value. Anything else lacks respect. For example, if someone is trying to talk to you but you are busy playing on your computer, or talking to someone else on the phone, that shows little reciprocity for the respect they might be giving to you, or sensitivity to their presence and needs.


Respect has the capacity to heal, especially when we have had past experiences that have been very hurtful or traumatic, so this last dimension is important. When we have had a bad time it is very affirming to be respected and valued by the new person we are attracted to, or the people we interact with, and it is effective in speeding up the healing process. For example, if someone felt really inadequate because her man went off with a younger, more beautiful woman, a new lover in her life demonstrating how wonderful she is would give her much-needed respect and reinforcement. This would heal her pain even quicker than if she had to overcome it by herself. Respect heals because it affirms and reinforces who we are and wish to be. It also puts past hurt into perspective, or even negates it, and restores our confidence.

Respect and trust can never be taken for granted. They are attributes that have to be proven. They are also directly reciprocal to the behavior of others. For example, when we feel that we have had no respect from other people we care about; it is likely that we have given them very little respect ourselves. Most of us are sensitive to when we are not being treated with respect and are then unable to give any in its absence.

If you feel disrespected, what are you doing in the process? There is always a connection. You are either accepting substandard behavior in order to gain approval, allowing yourself to be treated like a doormat, or you are not treating someone well enough. Once you sort out the root cause, mutual respect and trust are usually assured.

Altogether these six dimensions add up to the powerful concept of respect. When we show another human being that respect, we add an even greater experience to their life and perspectives while we too are empowered by its effects.

Respect is an absolute must have in building business relationships and other personal relationships. We would never have the quality of relationships that we do without respect for one another, for our business, and for the talents we poses. Respect boils down to taking personal action and responsibility for mistakes and past actions and moving forward to what we grow and learn to love as our current state of mind and beliefs.

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There are many different kinds of relationships. There will be people you have met and are ‘acquainted’ with. There are people you will know as friends, some as lovers. Hopefully you have more friends than lovers. These significant relationships are difficult to find but let me highlight how we can build these incredible relationships.

Fire and Forget relationships… people you meet then never see again

This level of relationship I like to think of as a brief ‘six degrees of separation moment’. These are times in life when you meet somebody who shares a space with you for a moment… and that’s it.

Facebook friendships… people you know but don’t spend much time with

Face book friendships are with people that you know for some reason but don’t really spend a lot of time with. You may think of these people as the step underneath acquaintances.

People you keep at arm’s length… Acquaintances

These are people you know and have spent time with but are not really close to. They are beyond the Face book friend because you have spent time with each other on more than a few occasions. People like this are usually around but not there all the time. You can call them and they wouldn’t mind (I hope) and maybe once in a while you might have dinner with them. But, these aren’t the kind of people you spend a great deal of time with. You are acquainted and may not even like each other.

Real relationships… people you know and love

I have about one or two people in my life I would consider to be deep friends. These are people I share common interests with that I know I am never going to have to give them something in return. The company is enough. My boyfriend is one and the other is a person I know up the coast. Every time I see this guy I know he just wants to talk and chatter away with me. There is no hidden agenda, no mutual bootlicking, no butt kissing or anything like that. It’s all about mutual company not what we can get from each other. No ambition nothing just each other’s company. So how do you find friends like that?

The art of building meaningful relationships

The key to building meaningful relationships is to recognize the relationships you have for what they are. You may have heard that a relationship is a like a garden. You have to work on it. That may be true for some people but it’s the way I have come to understand it. Here are some keys to look for when searching for meaningful relationships.

Key #1 Do they want something in return

These are the kinds of people who want something. They ring and ask to have dinner once in a while but you just know it’s not to see you… it’s to get something. In a perfect world nobody would act this way but it’s the way it works I’m afraid.

Key #2: Is the relationship ‘needs’ based?

Are you providing what’s missing in someone else? This is a relationship of convenience. There are times when knowing the right person to help you out is a must but you would hardly call that a deep relationship. In the Tipping Point Malcolm Gladwell identifies people called ‘connectors’ who are really good at placing people in relationships with other people. He notes that these people often have few meaningful relationships yet know lots of people. There are times when this is a useful thing to be.

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Key #3: Is it a sick relationship?

Another way to find meaningful relationships is to ask if you are in a sick relationship. These kinds of relationships are when you are being used and abused and know it but won’t do anything about it. People of power are great at these. I experienced something a while back where a person was attempting to bully me into making a decision that in hindsight would have been a disaster. Lucky enough, I had the guts to change my mind. Don’t allow yourself to be controlled… by anyone.

Key #4: Looking for mutual satisfaction on a deeper level

The final key is knowing how to look for deeper meaning in your relationships. This is what makes building meaningful relationships an art form. This is where you and another person share a friendship with no expectations. There is no neediness from either of you, it’s not a sick relationship nor is it a relationship that requires you to do tricks in order to get approval. It is simply an understanding that you are mates and that is that. There is no need to be anything other than yourself and there is an unspoken treaty between you and the other person where you share each other’s lives but expect nothing more than friendship in return. If you find a relationship like this hold on it… it’s worth cherishing.

At the end of the day real relationships are formed when we allow people into our lives. I am a person who likes the background. I don’t enjoy being the center of attention neither do I like social gatherings. My idea of a good time is with my significant other. That said, I have a few people (maybe one or two) that I would consider to be meaningful friends. That doesn’t mean that the people I also know (if you are reading this!) are dogs. It just means I don’t share my life with them on that level. Maybe through time this might be so … but I doubt it. In my opinion the art of building relationships involves a level of intuition that’s missing from normal relationships. We shouldn’t embrace this as a horrible thing. Instead I think we should look towards the relationships we do have and build the meaning that’s desired by both parties. Sometimes, people will want more from you than you should give. If you don’t have that for them … it’s better not to give it. You are not responsible for other people. We are all responsible for ourselves. So…

Figure out what matters to you!

While determining what direction to take in life, many of us make the same mistake: we try to apply the principles of our parents, spouses, co-workers, etc., to our own individual journey. Then, we’re surprised when we’re miserable. The first thing to do when trying to connect to your life’s purpose, then, is to set aside the need to please others or live up to anyone else’s expectations. Be completely honest about what matters most to you. Define your core values, and respect and be yourself.

Treasure your relationships not your possessions.

Melissa Krivachek President of Briella Arion is deeply & passionately committed to the growth & effectiveness of young leaders, teams, and organizations. Melissa is a High Caliber Leadership, Sales, and Personal Growth Expert, Author, Speaker, Coach, and Life Enthusiast! To IGNITE your Purpose, Presence, Passion, & Profit visit

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About The Author

Matt Wilson

Matt Wilson is Co-Founder of Under30Experiences, a travel company for young people ages 21-35. He is the original Co-founder of Under30CEO (Acquired 2016). Matt is the Host of the Live Different Podcast and has 50+ Five Star iTunes Ratings on Health, Fitness, Business and Travel. He brings a unique, uncensored approach to his interviews and writing. His work is published on, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, Huffington Post, Reuters, and many others. Matt hosts yoga and fitness retreats in his free time and buys all his food from an organic farm in the jungle of Costa Rica where he lives. He is a shareholder of the Green Bay Packers.


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