"The basis of life is people and how they relate to each other." -- John C. Maxwell

If you've interacted with me, this might be surprised to find out that I don't consider myself a people person.

I appear bubbly and engaging, always ready to add value to people, yet by the end of the day, I crave solitude. People can wear me out, and I often prefer being alone. However, those who've known me for a long time know I've worked hard to find balance and include others in my life without burning out.

I've learned that being a "people person" is not about personality or preferences; it's about choosing to value, respect, and intentionally connect with others. As Maxwell says, "The basis of life is people and how they relate to each other. Our success, fulfillment, and happiness depend on our ability to relate effectively." This belief has shaped my personal and professional life. Throughout these eleven chapters, I hope you'll better understand your tendencies and navigate the challenges of connecting with others.

Key Qualities in Relationships

Think about the qualities and characteristics that draw you to the people you enjoy spending time with. What similarities do they share? How do you feel when you're with them? John Maxwell highlights five universal qualities that everyone needs, likes, or responds to in relationships.

1. Encouragement

There is no better exercise for adding value to others than lifting people up. Consider how many of the people you enjoy spending time with regularly offer you encouragement. Likely, you don't have many strong relationships with those who tear you down rather than build you up.

2. Appreciation

William James said, "The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated." How do you feel when others express appreciation for your work or simply for who you are? When we treat others as important, they respond positively.

3. Forgiveness

In relationships, getting hurt and hurting others is inevitable, often unintentionally. Reflect on a time when you hurt a good friend. How did you feel about their response? Holding a grudge hurts oneself more than others.

“The happiest people are those who have invested their time in others. The unhappiest people are those who wonder how the world is going to make them happy.” — John C. Maxwell

4. Listening

Something profound happens when someone gives you their full attention and actively listens. Think about a time when you tried to connect but felt the person wasn't listening. How did that make you feel?

5. Understanding

Research shows that a significant portion of conflict arises from misunderstandings and miscommunication. Reflect on a time you were misunderstood. What was the result, and how did it make you feel?


This week, consider someone in your personal or professional life that you enjoy spending time with and answer these questions:

  • How do they exemplify these five qualities in their interactions with you?
  • How do you respond to them when they exemplify these qualities?
  • How does this relationship make you feel compared to one lacking these qualities?

Now reflect on yourself:

  • How do you exemplify these five qualities in your interactions with others?
  • How do others respond to you when you demonstrate these qualities?
  • Which of these qualities do you need to develop more intentionally?
  • How can you be more intentional in developing that quality, and when will you start?