If you want to build better relationships as you get older say goodbye to these habits

As we grow older and wiser, some of the things we once prioritized begin to fade.

Going out and vapidly socializing, striving to be popular, gaining followers and likes on Instagram or Twitter… all these pursuits take a backseat to more substantial things in life. 

For most of us, cultivating strong, quality relationships becomes a growing concern.

After all, when we’re old and gray, our relationships will bring us meaning and joy as much as anything else. 

In this article, I’ll go through the habits you need to let go of if you want to build better relationships, as you get older. 

Once you get a better idea of things, you can act accordingly. Let’s dive in!

1) Avoiding communication

You’ve heard it before: effective communication is the foundation of any functioning relationship–romantic, platonic, or otherwise.

I remember being in my early twenties, at a time when the bar was pretty low for “friendships.” 

Exchanging a few words, a few empty minutes of dialogue, was sufficient enough basis for me regarding someone as a friend. 

These days, I have a vastly different approach to approaching relationships. My standards are just higher. 

Sure, being open and friendly is always a bonus. But this is surface-level stuff. 

Letting someone into your more intimate circle should come with more specific criteria, such as having the ability to openly communicate. 

At the end of the day, people who choose to avoid honest, respectful communication, preferring to keep things superficial, tend to lack genuine connections. 

Not where you want to be.  

2) Holding grudges

Nobody is perfect. Far from it. 

Believe it or not, even your celebrity crush (Dua Lipa for me) has their fair share of flaws. 

Maturity means accepting people for who they are, shortcomings, and all. 

Maybe they’ve made mistakes at your expense in the past, and at one point, you might’ve rightfully held it against them. 

Extreme cases aside, it’s perfectly understandable for you to be upset on occasion; but at the same time, you eventually have to go of that baggage at some point.  

It’s simply healthier for you… and everyone else involved. 

From my experience, the longer you hold on to past grievances and wrongs, the more you feel emotionally burdened as a person, however unconscious that feeling may be. 

Accept sincere apologies, overcome pride, and move on. 

I promise, it will be a weight lifted off your shoulders. Real talk. 

3) Resisting change

Just like anything in life, people change. 

Change isn’t necessarily a good or bad thing; it’s how we approach it that will define us and our relationships. 

If you stubbornly cling to outdated norms since “that’s the way it’s always been done,” you’ll likely end up on the losing end. 

People evolve, and so do relationships. Adaptability is strength. 

I think we all know a few parents who have all but disowned their children for their “alternative” lifestyles. 

Potentially losing a child because you disagree with their life choices and refuse to adapt? That’s sad. And intolerant. 

This is no longer the 19th century. 

Be flexible, embrace change, and grow with your relationships rather than resisting adjustments. 

You’ll notice a huge difference in no time.

4) Neglecting self-care

The quality of your relationships is a direct reflection of how you regard yourself as an individual. 

If you want to get drunk at a dive bar on a Tuesday afternoon, that’s your choice. But your social circle (if any) will oft represent that lifestyle. 

Conversely, if you genuinely have it together, with a solid work-life balance and regular self-care routines, you will attract a more sophisticated crowd. 

Taking care of yourself isn’t at all selfish; in fact, it’s necessary. 

When you’re well-balanced, you tend to contribute more positively to your relationships. 

Remember, when it comes to making connections in life, just like the hit song, you only get what you give.

5) Ignoring boundaries

first date phrases want a deep and meaningful relationship If you want to build better relationships as you get older say goodbye to these habits

Respect is another cornerstone trait of a functioning relationship. 

When you childishly demand instant gratification, and that comes at the expense of another person’s boundaries, they’ll often take exception to this. 

Boundaries in any relationship are critical. 

We are all autonomous, independent people, and we have to respect one another as such. 

Expecting anything of others less is selfish. 

So if you haven’t already, start making it a point to acknowledge and accept boundaries, and set your own ones too. 

If people begin to disregard those boundaries, they are rarely worth your time. Their loss, not yours. 

6) Over-overdependence or excessive independence 

We touched on balance earlier. 

But it’s worth repeating, balance is key if you want to have successful relationships in life. 

When you become too dependent on other people for happiness and contentment, this can be off-putting, even overwhelming, and unfair, for them. 

You’re your own person. 

You have to be self-sufficient–something particularly true as you get older, and standards for people change. 

On the other end of the spectrum, isolating yourself excessively can also put people off. 

I remember going through some personal turmoil in the past, and as a result, I’d regularly neglect messages and calls from friends. 

I essentially went dark for months; and while most were understanding, others took the radio silence personally. 

Rebuilding those affected relationships was an uphill battle. 

7) Negativity

The world is a dreary enough place.

Being around a perpetually negative and cynical person can be tiring and stressful, once the novelty inevitably wears off. 

As a young man, I used to think being a bit pessimistic made me “edgy” and hip. 

But after a girl dumped me for being such a downer 24/7, I knew I had to change things up.

The fact is, constant negativity will almost always drain relationships. 

Making the extra effort to maintain a positive outlook, focusing on solutions rather than problems (even if that isn’t your natural inclination), will have a profound effect on your relationships down the line. 

8) Ignoring the needs of others

When a relationship is revealed as one-sided, the other party will become alienated pretty quickly. 

And for good reason. 

Selfishness isn’t typically a trait one looks for when developing a friendship or romance. 

If you want to be a good friend or partner, having a bit of emotional intelligence is critical.

We will all encounter struggles in life. 

If friends suddenly, conveniently disappear during these times of strife, that doesn’t bode well for the future of those relationships. 

You can always tell who your true friends are simply by taking note of who stuck around when you needed them the most. 

And vice versa. 

Empathy and consideration for the feelings and needs of others are major assets in life, particularly in relationships.

Final words 

When the dust settles, our relationships are what will bring us joy in life. 

So it’s in your interest to start investing in them. 

There’s always some room for improvement. 

Avoid the behaviors in this article; and if you slip up now and then, don’t be too hard on yourself. You’re human.

As long as you stay focused and committed to the goal of building better relationships, you’ll be in great shape. 

Don’t let up. You got this.  

Picture of Clifton Kopp

Clifton Kopp

Welcome to my writings on Ideapod! I'm a bit of a "polymath" in that I like writing about many different things. Often I'm learning from the process of writing. I hope you enjoy, and please leave a comment on one of my articles.

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