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When we hear the word “invest,” many of us envision financial strategies or education. While those investments are essential to our development, the greatest stake in our success is healthy relationships.

Cultivating a trusted circle of meaningful relationships requires intention, attentiveness, and vulnerability — but the work works. Behavioral studies have shown deep bonds keep us happy and healthy across the board, allowing us to thrive at every stage of our lives.

But how do we sustain a support system as we get older and busier in our day-to-day lives? Here are three key ways to nurture your personal relationships for well-being.

“Relationships survive on your gratitude, not your ego.” – Nancy Twine

Three key ways to nurture your personal relationships:

1. MAKE TIME FOR YOUR PEOPLE

The not-so-obvious step is making time to connect with others. The fuller your schedule, the more intentional you have to become. Plan a weekly dinner date or make an impromptu phone call on your commute to grab lunch. (Because five minutes is better than nothing.) This is especially important when it comes to the relationships you already have and — let’s be honest — can sometimes take for granted. Time is never guaranteed, so don’t let “busy” keep you from your community.

2. ACCEPT CHANGE IN YOUR RELATIONSHIPS

Change is inevitable in all areas of life, including relationships. Sometimes relationships become closer, more distant, or dissipate altogether. Learning to embrace the flow of your connections allows you to be more curious and compassionate toward yourself and others. Your closest confidant may need a few weeks of space to adjust to a new role, or your once-reserved work colleague might become your go-to fitness partner. Bring more quality and joy into your relationships by meeting people where they are and remaining flexible in your expectations of them.

3. REACH OUT FIRST

Hot take: Playing it cool is a waste of time. Relationships survive on your gratitude, not your ego. Instead of waiting for someone to reach out, break the ice with a conversation, an invitation, or a helping hand. Did you recently put your mentor’s wise words into action? Send them a thank you note. Did you read about that amazing entrepreneur you met at a networking event? Send them a LinkedIn message to ask how you can support their new endeavor.

Bonus Reflection

Relationships are mirrors of ourselves. The people and energy that we allow around us speak to what we feel about who we are, what we deserve, and what we want to achieve in this life. Do your relationships mirror your goals, needs, and values? Are you someone you’d want to have a relationship with? Get curious and then implement these strategies to bring your best self — and relationships — forward.

What’s one maintenance step you can implement this week? Share your intention in the comments.

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