Guide to personal relationships

How to strengthen your relationships to create an extraordinary life

What makes a life a good life? Some might say reaching the top of the corporate ladder. Others might say living in their dream city or owning a home. But creating an extraordinary life isn’t about working long hours or making a lot of money – it’s about personal relationships

As Tony says, “The quality of your life is the quality of your relationships.” Humans are highly social. Working together in pairs and groups is in our DNA. And the benefits we get from friendships and love are real: they’ve been shown to lower stress and even increase lifespan. Our personal relationships provide the support we need to thrive – and when we create a strong network, they can also provide opportunities.

What is a personal relationship?

The personal relationship definition can vary depending on the context. But personal relationships are always based on the connections that hold together your life. Coworkers bond via mutual experiences. Friends often bond by shared interests, while family is connected by emotional bonds. Your intimate relationship with your significant other is also based on emotional bond – but one that goes deeper. People often use words like “soulmate” and “kindred spirit” to describe these personal relationships, hinting at an almost cosmic connection. 

Your personal relationship definitions are also constantly evolving. Coworkers can become friends. Old friends can fall out of touch. Intimate bonds can get even deeper. This works in your favor – you’re always able to create new personal relationships that benefit you and leave behind the ones that don’t.

Choose wisely: According to Dunbar’s number, humans are only able to maintain close personal relationships with about 150 people. While you can have 500 acquaintances and recognize up to 1,500 people, your meaningful network is limited to 150. People with strong networks know how to choose those relationships wisely. They raise their standards and use the law of attraction to bring in positivity and eliminate negativity.

personal relationship

How to create extraordinary personal relationships

Personal relationships are everything in life. Friendships give us emotional support and fun experiences. Love gives us connection and companionship. Business relationships give us leverage and opportunities. And you can take action to make all of these relationships extraordinary.

Maintaining family relationships

It can be easy to take family for granted and assume they’ll always be there. But family relationships need to be nurtured just like friendships and intimate relationships. Create time to spend with your family, but also know that being physically present isn’t enough: You must be fully, emotionally present. Listen to them deeply and learn about their lives. Be there for them.

The parental relationship is especially vital. As Tony says, children come into the world like a sponge. The way we’re raised shapes our worldview – often in completely subconscious ways. As a parent, you have the power to instill values and skills that will last a lifetime. Strive to understand your children’s true nature and create real relationships. Skip “How was school today?” and ask deeper questions. Tell them about your day. You’ll build a beautiful personal relationship.

Strengthening friendships

You’ve probably heard the saying, “Friends are the family we choose.” Friendships can be some of the most rewarding personal relationships in our lives. Friends know us in a different way than others – not as “mom” or “boss” but as people. Friendships provide invaluable support, advice and understanding from a perspective we can’t get anywhere else. But friendships need to be nurtured in order to thrive.

Entrepreneur, speaker and influencer Jenna Kutcher talked to Tony about how she strengthens her personal relationships. She says, “Every single day I send three voice texts to people that are on my heart.” More often than not, she hears back from people who really needed words of encouragement at that moment. Acts of kindness like this can not only strengthen a personal relationship, but also help you grow as a person.

Deepening intimate relationships

The definition of a personal relationship doesn’t get any more intimate than the one you have with your partner. That means it can be the source of your greatest pleasure or your greatest pain. To deepen your intimate relationship, you must understand and use the Five Disciplines of Love. One of the most essential of these is also the most difficult for many of us: allowing ourselves to be vulnerable. But vulnerability is the first step to a deep and meaningful personal relationship.

Honesty is another important discipline of love. You must not only be honest with your partner, but also with yourself. Examine your thoughts and emotions and find the inner reasons for them. Embrace and love your authentic self. Only then can you truly share yourself with another person. Encourage your partner to tell you the truth, and offer understanding in return. You’ll strengthen your relationship in ways you never thought possible.

Leveraging your network

Our networks are larger than ever – social media lets us stay “in touch” with hundreds, if not thousands of friends. Video chatting makes us feel close to those who are hundreds of miles away. Texting is a quick and easy way to say hello. But in this age of technology, always keep in mind Dunbar’s number and network accordingly.

Podcaster and radio personality Jordan Harbinger told the Tony Robbins podcast that step one is “minimizing our experience and exposure to people who are energy vampires [and] take value away from us.” Step two is to build rapport to create deeper personal relationships with the right connections. Jordan uses Facebook messenger to stay in touch with his network. It creates stronger one-on-one relationships than you’ll get just by liking a picture. Before you know it, you’ll have a strong network you can leverage to get ahead in life.

At the end of the day, what is a personal relationship? It’s any connection you may have to another human being – but it’s deeper than that. Personal relationships are what sustain and drive us. They just may be the very meaning of life.

Team Tony

Team Tony cultivates, curates and shares Tony Robbins’ stories and core principles, to help others achieve an extraordinary life.

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