The key skill you need to build great relationships in life









Do you hide your weaknesses, feel the need to impress and often adjust the truth to sound more exciting to others? If you are, you’re making some serious mistakes.

Your relationships is one of the four most important things in life and making these mistakes has a significant negative impact on your ability to connect with others. What can you do differently?

I used to make these mistakes

First, I need to get something off my chest. On August 8th, 2005, I started to work as an advisor for organisations on business issues. In order to become successful in my job I felt I needed to get to know a lot more people. I decided to do something about that.

I went to numerous conferences, network events, morning coffees, lunches etc. I tried to appear smart. I made sure not to say stupid things. And most importantly, I worked hard to seem interesting.

My main aim of meeting these people wasn’t to understand who they were or what they wanted out of life. No. My aim was to get to know them well enough so that I could benefit in some way because of who they were. Charming.

At the time I was making the mistake of mistakes when it comes to building relationships and I had no idea I was doing it. What was I doing wrong?

You build great relationships by being genuine

I wasn’t being genuine. I didn’t dare to show the real me for who I was and what I believed in. But why?

Poor self-view is the enemy of being genuine

The answer is self-view, one of the other four most important things in life. Even though I had confidence in many areas of life I lacked a strong core. At the time I remember feeling below many of the people I tried to get to know. I remember feeling like the underdog, like I was somebody who was there on borrowed time, someone who didn’t really belong.

Sure enough, I got to know a lot of new people. I even learnt quite a bit during this period of my life. But, I rarely got what I wanted out of those relationships and the few times I did, I didn’t feel good about it.

There’s a lesson here and it’s all about installing a positive self-view

Having great relationships is one of the four most important things in life. In order to build great relationships your need a strong core, or said differently, to have a positive view of yourself.

With that core in place you’ll be strong enough to dare sharing your true self with others. You’ll be strong enough to dare being genuine and you’ll be strong enough to dare being interested in others instead of only striving to be interesting.


Picture 1: My sister Frida, my dad Bjørn and me in Bergen 2012.

Increase your self-view by being genuine

One of the best ways to improve your self-view is to accept yourself for who you are. A great way of doing that is to dare. Dare being more open to others about what you feel, dare sharing what’s important to you and dare talking about the issues you’re facing in life.

I recommend that you start being more genuine this week. But start small! Commit yourself to be more genuine with one person this week and take it from there. Doesn’t sound too hard does it?

Being genuine improves your self-view. Improving your self-view makes it easier to be genuine. And being genuine improves your relationships.

Enjoy and good luck!


14 thoughts on “The key skill you need to build great relationships in life

  1. Henning Attlin

    I found your blog through Andreas post on the diet doctor. I can really tell that you are writing from experience. I just want to say that I agree with you and thanks a lot for sharing your thoughts about life!

  2. Janet

    I like your posts I’m sure many people will find them helpful. I agree being genuine and developing your skills to be more confident is important.
    It is so important to have great relationships and as you say developing skills is one of the key things.

    The key areas for skills development include; communication, listening, resolving conflicts and intimacy. Much of my learning on this topic has come from books or youtube clips by John Gottman, he is also one of the leading researchers in the field.

    It’s great Bjarte that you are sharing what you have learnt and helping others know how to apply it.

  3. Pingback: The four most important things in life | Rethinking Truth

  4. ahmet cengiz

    i found your blog when i searched for what is important in life. it is a great blog. i have been reading it all night

    1. Bjarte Bakke Post author

      Thanks a lot Ahmet, I’m glad you’re finding it helpful. There’s lots more I’d like to get out there and yet I seem to find myself doing lots of research and not so much publishing…I’ll start adding more stuff when the inspiration hits me. Do let me know what’s on your mind these days when you find the time.

  5. Alicia C

    Thank you. This is a helpful article at this point in my life. I’ve read 2 of your articles and I connect. I look forward to reading more of your inspirations.


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