Relationships are like flowers - most can benefit from a little TLC, said Charlotte Shoup Olsen, Kansas State University Research and Extension family systems specialist.
"When building a relationship, it's natural to want to impress - or please - the other person," Olsen said.
"As the comfort level in the relationship grows, however, people may step back and begin taking the relationship for granted," she said. When that happens, a couple - or close friends, for that matter - may begin distancing themselves from each other and become more like roommates, sharing parallel lives as they grow apart.
To nurture personal and professional relationships, Olsen offered the following tips:
A response such as "You must be crazy ... itï¿½s winter!" or "Did you bring in the paper?" can disappoint the person who thinks he or she is doing a good deed, and create distance between the couple.
Listening for cues also can prompt partners, friends, family members or co-workers to engage each other. If one person offers a new idea in the midst of a discussion, the other can follow up with "I never thought about that ..." and then ask him or her to tell more.
More information on managing relationships successfully is available at county and district K-State Research and Extension offices and on Extensionï¿½s Web site: www.oznet.ksu.edu.