“The quality of my life is the quality of my relationships”: Taking a relationship first approach to life

Patrick Westöö
4 min readJun 3, 2022

My ex, a woman wise beyond her years told me once, “The quality of my life is the quality of my relationships”. I have never before herd a view of life so clearly distilled into one sentence.

I had been leaning towards something like this during the last 10 years but it was when I first herd it so clearly that I understood what it means. It is a very simple yet profound way to organise your life and one that is proven to create happiness.

“The quality of my life is the quality of my relationships”

When I was in high school I went through a period of unhappiness, like many who are young. But I handled this very poorly, I disengaged instead of engaging. I became more private and focused on myself instead of my relationships. It was a very bad way of handling it. But I have since rethought my views of life and and how to deal with adversity and the ups and downs of life. The solution I believe is to have a relationship first approach to life, to engage instead of disengage.

When I look back to my years abroad, my time at LBS and Google, there is only one thing that I really bring with me and that is the relationships that I have built. Everything else fades but relationships only become stronger with time and investing in them always pays off. Both professionally but mostly personally. Life is richer with many people in it. Everything else is forgotten, promotions & projects but the people they stay. The curse of individualism still flows through our society but it is a deeply flawed way of viewing life. Humans are tribal creatures and we need people around us. We cannot live alone. I have met my Google friends all around the world, Greece, Mexico, Spain, Holland and Sweden. The friendships are as strong as when we shared a floor in Dublin.

So what does a relationship approach to life mean in real terms to me.

  1. Invest in all of your relationships, and dedicate as much time as you can to the people around you. Go to all the parties, say yes to all events and do your best to invite people yourself. If you visit a town call whomever you know lives there. Make an effort. It will always pay off in the long run. I am always surprised of just how much positivity and joy that is created over time from my relationships. They might start really small and then blossom and become a huge part of my life…