Subscribe to our monthly e-newsletter - click here

Two Keys to Good Relationships

Blog | Life and Leadership   |   February 19, 2016

by Janina Aritao

“What keeps us happy and healthy as we go through life?” Robert Waldinger asks, in a recent TED Talk. Robert Waldinger is a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, and the Director of a 75-year long study by the Harvard Study of Adult Development.

The longest known study on adult life, the research has been tracking the lives of 724 men, following the men from when they were teenagers all the way until their old age. The research studied their lives, asking them questions every two years about work, home life, and health.

These are among the findings of the study, as shared by Mr. Waldinger:

  • Good relationships keep us happier and healthier

  • Social connections are really good for us. Loneliness kills.
  • People who are well connected to family, friends, and socially are happier, healthier and live longer

  • It’s not the number of friends you have or whether you’re in a committed relationship. It’s the quality of your close relationships that matters

  • High conflict marriages are bad for our health

  • Living in good, warm relationships is protective.
  • The people who were the most satisfied in their relationships at age 50 were the happiest at age 80

  • Good relationships don’t just protect our bodies; they protect our brains.
  • The people who were the happiest were the people who leaned in to relationships.

And the conclusion: the good life is built with good relationships.


Good relationships bring happiness. Now the question is, what makes a relationship good? As we coach and train individuals from varying backgrounds and childhood experiences trust andrelatability continue to stand out as two key elements of a good relationship.

Two keys to a good relationship

1. T R U S T

In the course Courageous Conversations, ROHEI’s first digital online course, relationship counsellor and ROHEI Practice Group Leader Chris Hogan recalls a consultation he had with a 102 year-old family business. The father had passed away and the mother took over the business. At one point she had to demote the older son and the younger brother was promoted to General Manager and they could hardly get along with each other. The relationships among all the family members were painfully strained.

Chris gathered the mother, the two brothers, and the sister and at the beginning of the session he asked, “do you trust each other?”

The answer was “no.”

Chris then facilitated open, honest, and patient communication among them by making sure each one had the chance to be heard and understood. Eventually, the tension was dissolved, and the open, courageous conversations allowed trust to be rebuilt.

2. R E L A T A B I L I T Y

Relatability is allowing the other person to feel heard and understood. Chris Hogan developed 8 ways to be relatable—the Real8ability factors. These factors are a proven and effective guide for handling strained and tense relationships and moving into a place of warmth and connection. Relatability is a means of exercising love, respect, and open communication. Here is a preview of the first three:

See them

This is about acknowledging the other person, showing that they are seen and valued. “One of people’s greatest fears in relationships is being ignored,” says Chris Hogan.

Hear them

This is about stopping and taking time to listen, physically, mentally, and emotionally, to the other person, giving them due attention.

Understand them

This third one involves making an effort to see things from the other person’s point of view. So much changes when a person is able to let go of their own interests and point of view and get a glimpse of what the other person has been experiencing.

The 8 Factors are explored in-depth in the online course, Real8Ability Factors.


These Real8Ability factors have been transformational for many individuals we have coached, and have helped both professional and family relationships.

Trust and relatability create warm relationships. Warmth is a place of closeness and deep trust. Robert Waldinger mentioned in his talk that for those who had warm relationships, in moments of physical pain, their moods did not deteriorate. Warm relationships helped them get through hard times. Good relationships are not free of struggle but they have a foundation that prepares you for life’s difficult moments, making the hard times bearable, and the happy times twice as meaningful.

Questions to ponder on:

1. What are the most important relationships in my life?

2. Is there a strong sense of trust in these relationships? Are there unresolved issues and struggles?

3. What can I do to resolve issues and deepen the sense of trust in these relationship/s?


Back to Team Building

Subscribe to our newsletter


Share via

Share on Facebook0Tweet about this on Twitter0Email to someone

Prev Next

Blog | Life and Leadership

Taking Charge of Your Learning Journey

See more

Blog | Life and Leadership

Take the Leap

See more