We are living in a world and time of lightning speed. Our schedules are over-booked and leaving us exhausted and, at times, overwhelmed.  Sadly, many of us have short-changed nourishing and nurturing meaningful relationships with those we truly care about. The divorce rate is higher now than ever – up to 50% in America and 63% in Los Angeles alone.  We are raising a generation of kids who are dependent upon electronics as a means to communicate.  Human to human relating has dwindled down and my large 90210 practice is filled with sexless couples who don’t talk.   I see a trend toward kids lacking healthy, open and honest communication skills.  

Whether you get together in person or relate via Skype or telephone from hundreds to thousands of miles away, below are my suggestions for creating meaningful conversation versus surface superficial bumping up against each other.  Here are my Top Tips For Nurturing Relationships During The Holidays.

1.  Be curiosity.  Be a “detective.”  Ask the other person questions that require more than a one-word answer.  In other words, don’t simply ask, “How are you?”  You will likely get a quick response of, “Fine.”  As thought-provoking questions including, “Tell me how you’ve been spending your time”;  “What are your hopes, wishes, and dreams over the next 5 years?”;  “What are some of the challenges you’ve been up against lately?”

2.  Share personal struggles.  I am not suggesting that you vent or use your relatives as a receptacle or trash can.  Don’t dump.  Be human.  All of us struggle at times.  When you share and expose your vulnerability the other person feels safe to do the same with you.

3.  Never judge, blame, or be judgmentally opinionated.  People will get defensive and immediately close up to you.

4.  Always be truthful.  Don’t exaggerate or embellish.  People want to connect with the real you. 

5.  Don’t over exude bubbly, syrupy charm.  Others will doubt your sincerity and authenticity.

6.  Be sure you are in a quiet place with no distractions so you can focus on the other person.

7.  Be ready to accept anything the other person says.  You don’t have to agree but list openly without becoming defensive.

8.  Be an empathic listener.  If you are shy and don’t know what to say, offer compassionate reflection of what you hear the other person saying.  This allows the other to feel heard, validated, and accepted – flaws and all!