For many, home is where we are safe and secure. Especially for those who work away from home or rarely get to spend time at home. The very thought of catching a few hours of rest or a few days of vacation at home is a welcome feeling, full of emotion. But right now, we are all confined within the four walls of this so called shelter of home. It leads to a lot of unrest and friction. The old adage, Familiarity breeds contempt, certainly applies when we are forced to be with the same people, throughout the day, within the shared space, even if it is home.
No matter how much we try to keep ourselves occupied, we are facing a drastic change from our daily routines which is placing a strain on our relationships. The typical relationships we share with the people who are confined with us, be it family or friends or even simply room-mates is thrown into a confusing light that is challenging our tempers. But the quarantine period is also an opportunity where you can use the time to build stronger bonds with those around you. Here’s how you can do this with simple changes in your attitude and temperament.
Rethink your priorities
When we are faced with such a situation like this quarantine, our first priority is whether all our basic needs like food, shelter, security are met. Once we have all of these, the focus is upon social interaction. We crave deeper and more meaningful connections when there is plenty of time on our hands. Each and every individual around you has these cravings. So take time to talk and share with everyone. They might be facing fear and uncertainty which can be laid at rest with open conversations.
Sustain your connections
The quarantine is stressful and sometimes all you feel like is shutting yourself from the rest of the world and curling up into a ball. But that will only serve to push you further into depression. Step out of your comfort zone and pick up a conversation with your family. You can even throw in non verbal cues like nods, smiles, a hand on the shoulder etc to show your love for them. If you feel comfortable sharing personal stories is a great way to bond, especially if you are only getting acquainted with them. If you stay away from them, pick up the phone and initiate a conversation over calls and texts. Maintain a positive communication that will set their hearts and minds at ease. They will in turn help you and act as your own support system.
Acknowledgement and Rewards
Appreciate even small gestures. Even something as simple as making an extra cup of coffee for you in the morning. Verbal communication like a simple Thank You to similar gestures of affection will go a long way in assimilating brownie points for your relationship. Assure them that you find their presence comforting and are grateful for what they do for you. If the gesture merits it, you can reward them with gifts that you think are appropriate. The gift can be an object or an experience. Just giving them a break from their usual routine and cook them their favourite meal as a reward. This will show that you have taken the time and effort to know them well and also create a good rapport between that person and you.
Celebrate the Special Moments
Now that you are away from your usual routine you now clearly have no excuse for missing important occasions. With all the means you have, celebrate the birthdays, anniversaries, memorable moments. Highlight the good that they bring to your life and offer your gratitude for it. Take lots of pictures. This will show that you are caring, a positive influence and a person who will cheer for them at all times. You will become a confidant and the person they go to for emotional and moral support. Promise them that you will stay through the good and bad. The level of impact you have in their lives increases and with it, your importance.
Commit to their Trust
Share your goals and ambitions leaving enough space for them to share theirs too. Learn how each of you can mutually benefit the others to help them achieve their desires. You may be surprised at how easily achievable some of them are with just the right amount of help from the right person. Show them that they can trust you to reveal their ambitions and you are always open to advice and counsel. This trust cannot be built in a day and needs to be evolved over a long period of time. This will only happen if you prove yourself to be genuine in your interactions and actions. Even a small amount of mistrust can adversely affect the relationships and topple them easily. In relationships with spouses and kids, you can now use the free time to focus on them and build the commitment level, which was previously challenged by your work and other stress factors.
Have no doubt that conflicts will arise. The problem starts when you choose to ignore it or let it stew. When you ignore it, the person involved feels left out and develops distance from you. Always address the issue head on. Do not be afraid to ask for advice. Maintain your calm and composure even when the other party is aggressive. Take a moment to remind yourself of their positive characteristics before rushing into accusations and arguments. Give them space to voice their opinions and concerns and acknowledge them. Figure out where the miscommunication is happening. Own up if you are in the wrong. Ego is not going to help the relationship. Forgive easily and ask for forgiveness as easily. This will give yourself and others the incentive to behave more appropriately next time.
Set up fun activities involving everyone in the home with you. Games, DIY renovations, pujas, cooking etc. The very act of doing something together will automatically help bring people together. Teach and learn equally to share your skillset. This mutually beneficial activity will have them on equal footing with you. Treat them with respect and genuinely lend ears to their tips and techniques. You will learn new things about them. The time will pass by productively and resolve conflicts along the way. It will help them like you, which will suppress any grudges and irritation they may have built towards you.
It is okay to not be the perfect person all the time, but we can very well try to be. We need to remember that the people around us, respond to our behaviour. Thus we need to keep a watch on how we talk, our body language and what we do. If we can engage with them in all three in a positive, likeable manner then relationships tend to get better. If you have tips and activities to how you are bonding with the people around you, then share them in the comments section below.