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Whether a work relationship or a personal one, keeping that connection takes work.

This past week was a special one for me. My husband, Steve, and I celebrated our 33rd wedding anniversary (I know, hard to believe when I’m only 39, lol).  

Marion and Steve on stairwell posing for photo

Commemorating our wedding and marriage gave me a moment to reflect and think about, what is it that keeps people together or rips them apart? 

I came up with a list you may find useful. It’s worked for Steve and me for decades and I’m guessing it will work for you too, whether in the workplace or at home.

Remember the please and thank yous.

Exchange common courtesies. It’s as simple as saying please and thank you. For example, when you ask a colleague to do something, say “please”. When they do, say “thank you”. 

Steve thanks me for dinner, I thank him for taking out the garbage. We don’t take each other for granted, not even for the routine tasks we do everyday. We catch each other doing things we appreciate and, instead of just feeling grateful, we tell the other person we are. 

Who is doing something for you right now that you appreciate? Tell them.

Humour helps.

During stressful times, laughing at the ridiculousness of the situation helps you get through it. When it’s something not too serious and you can see the light at the end of the tunnel and it’s not a train, it could be the right time to laugh.

During our anniversary dinner, the manager seated us then we waited 15 minutes before the server arrived, only to tell us that we had to be finished in an hour because they were expecting a big group at that time. Oh boy, didn’t we feel special? Then Steve ordered these special house chips that arrived burned and cold. The so-called gravy on my poutine (I decided to splurge on a caloric treat I seldom get) was disgusting and the cheese was indistinguishable. I didn’t eat them. Steve ordered a salad with ranch dressing. The dressing arrived without the salad. About ten minutes later the salad arrived with another little cup of dressing. We burst out laughing. It was like a scene out of movie, a comedy of errors.

What has gone wrong in your world that you could laugh at now? The shorter time between the event and you finding the humour, the more developed your funny bone (way to go).

Build the trust.

Without trust, there is no relationship. You do business with people you trust to provide the goods and services they say they will, when they say they will. The same is true in personal relationships. Every time you say you’re going to do something, do it. Gaslighting and lying is a surefire way to burn bridges and undermine trust.

Once trust is destroyed it is difficult, sometimes impossible, to build it back again. The scope, depth, and frequency of the deception are variables that factor into the feasibility and time required to mend those fences, if ever.

Building trust means doing what you say you’re going to do. It’s so simple. If you say you are going to call someone at a certain time, call exactly at that time. If you are dropping something off for someone, make sure they get it. When you take on a project and your team is counting on you to finish your piece by a certain date, make sure you do.

Do what you say you’re going to do. That alone will distinguish you from the competition and build your relationships on solid ground.

Your thoughts?

What additional behaviours have you used to build long-term relationships? Post your comments below in my blog and share your thoughts. 

©2023 Marion Grobb Finkelstein (MarionSpeaks)

Marion Grobb Finkelstein
Keynote Speaker / Corporate Trainer / Author
Recipient of APEX “Award for Leadership in Service Innovation” 
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Leadership communication expert, Marion Grobb Finkelstein shows leaders at any level how to build resilient and respectful workplaces by changing how they communicate. Chat with her at or and sign up for her FREE “Marion’s Communication Tips” at

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Marion Grobb Finkelstein

Marion Grobb Finkelstein helps leaders use their natural communication strengths to build resilient teams that talk.

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