Grow Your Friendships at The Friendship Page! :)
Friendship Page Home
Friendship Quotes - browse the largest (and friendliest!) friendship quotes collection on the net
Friendship Poetry - enjoy poems covering all aspects of friendship, submitted by visitors
Find-A-Friend - search for new friends of any country, hobby or age!
Friendship Chat Room - meet others in a safely moderated, friendly & fun environment!
Friendship Advice Board - post your friendship questions and reply to others
Friendship Tributes - express how much a special friend means to you
Friendship Songs & Movies - find lyrics to great friendship songs and summaries of movies
Friendship Writing - browse our fun writing, philosophy, research and inspirational thoughts collection
Friendship Academic Resources - find resources for studying friendship
Friendship Writing - browse our fun writing, philosophy, research and inspirational thoughts collection
Friendship Writing - browse our fun writing, philosophy, research and inspirational thoughts collection
Friendship Cards & Gifts - send free e-cards to your friends or browse gifts!
Friendship Day - discover ways to celebrate International Friendship Day
About Us - discover the purpose and team behind The Friendship Page
Support Us - link to us, or become a member of our team
Contact Us
Tell a friend about The Friendship Page
Search The Friendship Page
Friendship Page banner

Considering Your Resolutions: What About Your Relationship Goals

by Jan Yager, Ph.D.

When I ask women and men what their resolutions are for the new year, typically the response is, “Lose weight,” “Make money,” “Exercise more,” or “Handle my time better.” Rarely do I hear, “Listen more attentively to others,” “Be a more responsive friend,” or “Show more patience with my loved ones.” Yet the relationships in our lives are as pivotal to our health and happiness as our diet, exercise habits, or work goals.

Creating Relationship Resolutions

Think back over the last year. Ponder your friendships, how you got along with your parents, siblings, and even your extended family, as well as with your own children. What about your relationship with your romantic partner? Was the openness of your communication as well as the intimacy that you shared what you both seemed to want and need? How about the relationships at work including those you work with, for, and those who work for you? Even consider the quality of the relationship that you have with vendors or service providers. Did you take the time to say “thank you” when exceptional service was provided?
Are you pleased with how you were treated by those in your personal life or at work? Did you feel appreciated? Respected? Understood? If not, what are you going to do about it so that there can be positive shifts in your relationship? Is it something you did? He or she did? Did you put enough time and energy into each relationship that matters to you? How are your listening skills? Do you listen to what someone else is saying, whether over the phone or in person, and then react, or do you find you’re already thinking about what you want to say in response before the speaker is even finished? Do you find you’re cutting others off in mid-sentence or before they have completely shared their thoughts?

Taking a Relationship Inventory

How do you feel about the number of friends you have in your life as well as the quality of those ties? How about your romantic relationship? If you have one, is it fulfilling? If you do not have one right now, are you making finding a romantic partner a priority goal in the months or year ahead? Are you the parent you’ve always wanted to be or do you have work to do on your parenting skills? If you always wanted to become a parent but you have not yet achieved that goal, what are you resolved to do to make that goal more likely?
Susan* is a 24-year-old single marketing associate at a medium-sized firm. Right now she is very content to put all her energy into her career, her friendships, and her family. She is not too concerned about finding a romantic partner. Her attitude is if it happens, fine, but she’s not putting that much time or effort into trying to find a date or a mate. She knows it is very much tied to her age: her career is her key concern right now. Here is Susan’s relationship resolution: “To show the people who are important in my life how much I appreciate them. I don’t think I do enough of that.”
I am sure we would all agree that Susan’s relationship goal is a wonderful one, something we would all like to do in our own lives. Susan has a second resolution that is even more specific and notable: “To make time for them. Really getting together. Phone time is nice but I like face to face time.”
How many of us use “I’m busy” as the excuse for putting off those visits with friends or family members that are so meaningful? Of course e-mail is fast and convenient, but you can’t hug an e-mail. You can’t hear an e-mail laugh or giggle when you’ve said something witty.
Do you and your romantic partner go out on a “date” at least once a week, even if you’re married and especially if you have young children at home? Resolve to make time for that all-important “couple time,” for having fun together, and for continuing to explore each other, and to grow as individuals and as a romantic pair.

Write It Down

In your journal, if you keep one, on a piece of paper, or even in your computer in a file that you label “Relationship Resolutions,” with the date to distinguish each year, concretize your relationship resolutions by writing each one down. Keep the number of proposed resolutions to just a couple; no more than two or three. You’re more likely to accomplish each and every relationship resolution if you keep it to a manageable number.

How Will You Measure Your Success?

In addition to making your resolution distinctive and clear, writing it down, and keeping it to just a couple of specific goals, also find a way that you will measure how you have achieved your goals. For example, if you want to listen more to your teenage son or daughter, perhaps your resolution might be to go out to dinner once a week, just the two of you. It will be a clear goal and you will easily be able to measure your success by checking your appointment book and making sure that your commitment to having dinner together with your teenager is always included in your weekly schedule.
If your relationship resolution is to start a new friendship with someone who shares your current career goals, you can note the steps you will take to find such a friend. Write down educational or professional activities that you might attend where someone who shares your work goals might also be in attendance. Or you might join one or more new associations and volunteer to be active on a committee where a likeminded fellow member might in time become a new friend. Recognizing that you have at least one new friend who shares your work interests will be the measure that you succeeded in that relationship goal.

Happy New Day! Each and every day offers us a chance to create, and implement, resolutions that can direct our energy toward change. Relationship resolutions provide a chance to apply that skill toward the people that matter in our lives (in addition to the diets, business goals, fitness, health, spiritual, and financial resolutions, which of course also matter).

*Susan is a pseudonym to protect the identify of the true-life example used in this column.

Jan Yager, Ph.D. is the Connecticut-based author of When Friendship Hurts, Friendshifts, and Who’s That Sitting at My Desk? among other books. A sociologist, friendship coach, and speaker, for more information about her, please visit her websites: and

Disclaimer: This column is not intended as a substitute for seeking out the services of a counselor, therapist, coach, or mental health professional.

Copyright © 2007, 2004 by Jan Yager, Ph.D. All rights reserved.

The Friendship Page: Friendship Writing: Column 1 © Global Friendship 1996-2007
Last updated: | Visitor number: since 11 November 2007!