6 Rules for developing and maintaining, healthy and efficient relationships

A much needed guide to creating fruitful relationships


OK, first thing first, this 6 rule guide isn’t for everyone. Who’s it for??

  • Those of us that want to see the most production and success come from ourselves and those around us.

  • The very few who want to understand what went wrong in that bad relationship, or what went right in the relationships we have with our best of friends.

Relationships are the key to life. Sprinkled with friends for life, people we can trust, people we met once but follow on social media, and people we check up on. One of the most fulfilling things in life might be to be apart of a productive relationship that brings you nothing but joy. Fun in the most mundane moments of isolation, deep revealing talks about the future, someone whose presence brings your biggest need of everyday. A productive relationship is a nice thing to have, just one, but imagine if we opened our eyes to the things we can control that lead to them.

That’s the significance of this blog.

What you will learn in this guide

  • Understanding self disclosure

  • Communication climates, positive and negative

  • Recognition, endorsement, and acknowledgment messages

  • Relationship maintenance

  • Personal idioms, rituals, and routines

  • Relationship schemata

  • Attachment theory

It’s a beautiful thing to understand how you look at things could change your life when it comes to building relationships.


Interpersonal communication — The communication between individual people, verbal and non-verbal. Becoming a process of exchange, where the motivation from each person comes from the need to know one another as individuals.

Rule # 1: Understand self-disclosure

Self disclosure is the process of revealing things about ourselves that isn’t already known. Moving things from hidden to the open. Creating a shared reality.

The degrees of self disclosure, being:

  • Safe topics like hobbies or musical preferences, to;

  • More personal topics like fears, dreams, or fantasies.

The more trust created, the more that’s disclosed. The best practice for disclosure being ‘tit-for-tat’ revealing something that is seemingly equal to what they revealed, so the relationship doesn’t feel unbalanced at any point. The first point at which relationships become unbalanced is due to over-or-under self disclosing. That’s why sometimes you may feel like you overshared, or someone else is holding back. The relationship became unbalanced due to a deeper reveal or the response of a shallow one.

Rule # 2: Do everything in your power to build a confirming, or positive communication climate

A communication climate is the overall feeling or emotional mood, or atmosphere between two people, or a group of people. Positive and negative climates can be understood along three dimensions and the attention or lack of attention we may show to them.

  • Recognition messages

  • Acknowledgment messages

  • Endorsement messages

We experience confirming climates when we receive messages that demonstrate our value and worth from those we have a relationship with. Dis-confirming climates coming when we experience the opposite; messages making us feel devalued or unimportant.

Recognition messages — Confirm or deny a person’s existence. “I’m glad to see you” is confirming, while no message or ignoring them dis-confirms their existence.

Acknowledgment messages — Confirm what they say or how they feel, verbally and/or non-verbally. Nodding your head, smiling or laughing at their jokes are all nonverbal forms of acknowledgment. If someone were having a bad day and if you were to say:

“Yeah, that sounds tough. Wanna go somewhere and talk about it or do you want some time alone?”

You would be acknowledging and responding to their feelings. But instead if you were to say:

“Nah, you’ll be good. But, listen to what happened to me today.”

You would be ignoring their experience and placing yours on a pedestal.

Endorsement messages — Recognizing a person’s feelings as valid. If someone came to you upset, to endorse would be to say:

“ Yeah, I could see how you’d feel upset.”

You would be endorsing their right to be upset. While saying something like:

“Get over it, bro. You live a pretty good life as it is.”

Would devalue what they’re feeling.

Rule # 3: Relationship maintenance, maintain your relationships

Relationship maintenance is defined as things we do to keep the relationship we have with someone positive, productive, and beneficial in an emotional sense. Here are the three main things we can do for relationship maintenance:

  • Celebrate and honor accomplishments

  • Spend quality time together

  • Check in (Phone, text, social media, email, etc.)

Relationship maintenance can begin as soon as the relationship starts, in fact, relationship maintenance is a key benefactor in creating a productive relationship. We do some of these things without thinking about it, because of what we define what a good friendship may include, and some relationships of ours may have one more than the other, especially in the one’s where someone means a little more to us. But, in the development of networks and such, leaning on good relationship maintenance will allow more doors to be opened for you in your professional career, as well as if you needed to ask any acquaintance for a favor or not.

Understanding these things in a methodical sense will help you with your success throughout life.

Rule # 4: Build, create, and maintain Personal idioms, Routines, and rituals

Building personal idioms, routines, and relationship rituals between those you have a relationship with will deepen the personal bond you both feel towards one another.

Personal idioms — Codes, nonverbal gestures, phrases, ‘inside jokes’, nicknames, etc. Things known only to the people in relation to one another. Addressing someone as a “stepdad” because they have a tendency of dating girls with kids, Saying an inside joke only you and the person it was directed for laugh at; these things are examples of personal idioms. Something only you two or the group shares, creating a sense of value between people.

Personal idioms are a big factor in deep relationships, and/or meaningful relationships.

Relationship routines — Something that happens on a highly consistent basis; for example: Going to the bar every Wednesday or Thursday, watching a new movie with a certain person or group every Tuesday, pregaming before every party, going over to a certain friend’s house to do your makeup before going to the pregame, partying with a certain group of people, etc.

Routines create a feeling of consistency with a dab of comfort.

Rituals — More symbolic, less frequent; for example: Partying at a certain person’s house after every home game win, Going to olive garden for birthday dinners, going to smoothie king with your best friend after every passed test or exam, etc.

These three things; idioms, rituals, and routines are huge in the deepest of relationships, speeding up and deepening the bond of any relationship.

Rule # 5: Understand your relationship schemata

It’s really less of understanding your relationship schemata, and more of understanding that you have one; more importantly what yours is and why.

A relationship schemata is the belief of what we think certain relationships should look, feel, and be like. Made up of past experiences. For instance, if you had a best friend in high school that called you frequently and asked to hang out a lot you’d expect that from your future best friends, not factoring in the fact that not all people are the same. Now, see if your future college best friend had a past best friend who needed their alone time and didn’t like hanging out a lot but always had their back anyway, they would treat you accordingly to that experience. But, you might get the idea that they might be being distant, when that wouldn’t be the case, you guys would just have different relationship schemata’s.

See your relationship schemata in that scenario was built from a best friend who wanted to talk to you as much as possible, and spend as much time, while theirs was built from a best friend who needed space and a little more time to maneuver, not always needing contact.

Relationship schemata is a combination of past and present, combining what you’ve learned from the past to determine how you perform in your present, leading to how you act in the future. Knowing this will allow you to compare and contrast what positives and/or negative are in your current relationship schemata, as well as allow you to understand why you are the way you are when it comes to relationships.

Rule # 6: Understand your Attachment theory

Attachment theory is the form of relational attachment we have due to the relationships we have or had with our primary caretakers, growing up. Understanding what yours is or those around you, will allow you to understand how best to interact with others and why you act the way you do in the terms of relationship. There are three attachment styles;

  • Secure

  • Avoidant

  • Anxious

Secure attachment styles are:

  • Generally comfortable with intimacy

  • Feel like they can depend on people

  • Are generally more effective at managing their emotions

  • Less likely to experience intense negative emotions in negative situations like breakups

Develops from a warm, positive, caring relationship with their primary caregiver.

Avoidant attachment styles are:

  • Discomfort with closeness and don’t like depending on others

  • Fall in love quickly (or like people extremely fast), losing feelings almost just as fast

  • Don’t view love and/or romantic relationships (past the superficial sense) as long lasting and have a general fear of them, because of this

Develops from lack of bonding with caregivers.

Anxious attachment styles are:

  • Desire intimacy, while feeling anxious about being abandoned

  • Self-doubting, in the terms of relationships

  • Blame everyone else for being unwilling to commit as their reason for being anxious about being left

  • Emotionally volatile

Develops from inconsistent caretakers.

Caretakers/givers, are not always parents, they are anyone who had the most influence in your growth from adolescence, to wherever you are now. Attachment theories are where we may begin, and default, but they can be worked on and developed. They are only made up of past experiences, and can be redefined.


The idea of this piece was to help those around me, with understanding the many things they can control when it comes to building and maintaining productive relationships.

Thanks for reading.

Here’s a breakdown of what you learned/read:

Rule #1: Keep a balanced level of self-disclosure

Rule #2: Build a confirming (positive) communication climate

Rule #3: Maintain your relationships, through relationship maintenance

Rule #4: Build, create, and maintain personal idioms, rituals, and routines

Rule #5: Understand your relationship schemata

Rule #6: Define your attachment style; avoidant, secure, or anxious

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