Dear Daughter,

What do you look for in a guy? How will you recognize a good relationship? What can you do to help a good relationship develop and grow? Let me give you three things necessary for healthy relationships of any kind. These three things are respect, empathy, and genuineness.
I believe that you know what is meant by respect. When people have respect for each other, they value each other. They want to know each other’s needs, thoughts, and opinions. There may be disagreements, but the opposing opinion is respected and even valued, if only because the opinion is important to the other person. This can be hard to do at times. It is related to maturity. As we mature, we are better able to hold respect for others.

Think about respect as you date different people. Show respect for your date. Does he show respect for you? Is he interested in your opinions? Does he ask what you would like to do or where you would like to go? These are signs of respect.

Empathy is a wonderful trait to develop. Empathy is the ability to put oneself in the other person’s shoes and to understand their view and perception of a situation. This ability may not come naturally. Fortunately, it is a skill that can be developed. Just start practicing by imagining that you are the other person in a conversation. Try to see their point of view. Try to think like them to understand better. You can even practice this while watching television. Try to put yourself in the various characters’ shoes. Try to see each person’s viewpoint and why they are different.
Does your date show empathy? Does he listen to what you say? Is he able to verbalize your ideas and see your point of view? These things indicate empathy. If two people can provide empathy for each other, conflicts are more easily resolved. Add respect to the relationship, and things are even better. The result is a relationship that will uplift and compliment both persons.

Genuineness relates to both respect and empathy. You have to be yourself in the relationship. Don’t try to put up a front and pretend to be someone else. Just be you, with plenty of empathy and respect. If you are not genuine, it will eventually show, and it is a turn-off for most people. When you show respect, it must be genuine. When you show empathy, it must be real.

Genuineness may be a little shaky early on in the relationship because you will both be on your best behavior. With time the façade will drop, and hopefully, you can both just be yourselves.

Respect, empathy, genuineness, and move toward making them a part of your relationships. Even better, make them a way of life.