How to build strong relationships in 2023

Relationships are hard.

And yet, given how much harder life is without them, it’s worthwhile to have valuable people by our side, much like Jules Vernes writes in Around the World in Eighty Days (also available on Audible):

Misery itself, shared by two sympathetic souls, may be borne with patience.

For more inspiration, here are some of my favourite Seth Godin quotes from his 2022 blog posts, together with a recommended title from Blinkist.

Living in community is about limits. That’s a foundational feature that permits it to work. ~ Speed limits 

Learn more: The Book of Boundaries

Social niceties are easy to do half-heartedly. But they’re not for us, they’re for the other person. ~ Begrudgingly 

Learn more: Talking to Strangers

People don’t know what you know, don’t believe what you believe, don’t fear what you fear. They’re not equally skilled, equally fast and equally equipped. ~ Assuming other people have it too

Learn more: Mindreader

If you can’t find a win-win, it might be time to find a win-lose where the most people with something at stake end up benefiting. Often, that means that entrenched interests and those that have traditionally come first don’t do as well in the short run. ~ The win-win fallacy  

Learn more: Split the Pie

Pick your enemies, pick your future. ~ Defining the enemy  

Learn more: Surrounded by Narcissists

Shun the non-believers. Ignore the well-meaning but unmoved. Instead, we have the chance to find and connect and celebrate the people who care enough to make a difference. ~ The ones who didn’t help  

Learn more: Find Your People

The purpose of speech is to alert others to our point of view, and the purpose of conversation is to connect and to persuade. It’s not clear that making language angrier or more cutting is helping much. ~ Sharp language  

Learn more: Words Can Change Your Brain

Words are a moving target, an expression of feelings, and they inevitably shift. There’s no absolute measure of wrong. Simply what we thought vs what they meant. ~ Expressing something 

Learn more: Words That Work

It’s peer-to-peer interaction that shapes our culture, and culture that shapes our world. ~ Preaching to the choir 

Learn more: People Skills

When people feel seen and respected, they’re more likely to focus on what needs to be done, instead of taking umbrage or being defensive. When we leave opportunities and pathways for others, they can move forward with less friction. ~ The kindness bonus Blog

Learn more: Good Arguments

Of course you’re interesting. There’s something about what you’ve done, what you say, how you show up in the world that’s worthy of interest. But that doesn’t mean that people are interested. ~ Interested vs. interesting 

Learn more: The Courage to Be Disliked

If you want to be more liked, begin by liking. ~ The likable brand (or person) 

Learn more: The Like Switch

When someone cares enough to tell us their truth, perhaps the best response is, “thank you.” ~ Five true statements we don’t hear very often 

Learn more: Conversations Worth Having

When the world changes (and it always does) we’ll probably end up disagreeing sooner or later. Being good at it is a skill. ~ And when we disagree…

Learn more: The 33 Strategies of War

The most direct way forward is to default to more respect, simply because that’s what people deserve. ~ A reallocation of respect

Learn more: Talk To Me Like I’m Someone You Love

If you often find yourself saying “sorry” in a way that doesn’t advance the conversation, it might be interesting to substitute “thank you” instead. ~ Sorry/thanks 

Learn more: Powerful Phrases for Dealing with Difficult People

There isn’t a perfect solution to a people problem. Simply an available path forward that helps us get to the next step. ~ People problems are complicated problems

Learn more: Getting Along

Culture works because, for a moment, a group of people share a history, an understanding and a point of view. ~ All jokes are inside jokes 

Learn more: Social Chemistry

Feelings are real, and they can be shared. By all means, let us know. Feelings aren’t arguments. They are different. Arguments have evidence, specificity and logic that enable us to see how things are and to make them better. ~ Logic is a special case 

Learn more: The Argument Hangover

Interhuman events are often more complicated than we give them credit for. ~ It’s not what you deserve, but it is what it is 

Learn more: Making Great Relationships

(If you found this valuable, please subscribe below for monthly updates!)