The 7 Best Books to Help Improve Your Relationships

UPDATED: April 1, 2024
PUBLISHED: March 20, 2024
Happy couple sitting on couch smiling

All types of relationships, from romantic to platonic and everything in between, are complicated. We all approach them differently, especially since each is so unique. But one thing we know to be true is that relationships often require work, whether it be communicating more effectively, learning to set boundaries, or just generally trying to show up more in your friendships, romantic partnerships and professional connections. From memoirs about friendships to self-care “bibles” written by relationship experts, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best books on relationships to get you started on improving yours. 

Books to improve communication in relationships

Communication is key to keeping any relationship healthy and strong—from professional relationships at work to family and loved ones. Without it, a relationship can easily break down, and everyone involved can feel confused and unfulfilled. Luckily, there are some fantastic relationship books on improving your communication skills.

1. Digital Body Language: How to Build Trust and Connection, No Matter the Distance 

By Erica Dhawan

  • What it’s about: Described as “the definitive guide to communicating and connecting in a hybrid world”
  • What makes it unique? This book focuses on how to better understand digital communication and how to communicate more effectively in our digital landscape.

Dhawan, an award-winning keynote speaker and leadership expert, breaks up what could easily be an overwhelming topic—digital communication—into three distinct yet easy-to-understand sections in Digital Body Language. She defines exactly what digital body language is and explores topics like the four “laws” of digital body language through engaging storytelling. This relationship book blends significant research and Dhawan’s personal experiences to help support actionable advice.

With over 600 reader reviews on Amazon that highly recommend this book, Digital Body Language is a must-read.

2. Set Boundaries, Find Peace: A Guide to Reclaiming Yourself 

By Nedra Glover Tawwab

  • What it’s about: Learning how to set simple but powerful boundaries in your life
  • What makes it unique? It offers a very specific in-depth look at setting boundaries in all aspects of your life, from family to social media.

With over 9,000 reader ratings on Amazon, Set Boundaries, Find Peace has frequently been described as life changing by many and as the “boundary bible” by Alexandra Elle, author of After The Rain. Tawwab, a licensed counselor and relationship expert, approaches the fairly complex topic of learning to set boundaries pragmatically by breaking down what boundaries are, why you may not have healthy boundaries and what you can do to work on setting them.

3. We Need to Talk: How to Have Conversations That Matter 

By Celeste Headlee

  • What it’s about: Simple tools and strategies to help you become better at conversations
  • What makes it unique? It emphasizes the importance of being able to listen and speak well in all of your relationships.

This 2017 Silver Nautilus Award winner was adapted from Headlee’s popular TED Talk “10 ways to have a better conversation.” And, just as in her TED Talk, Headlee digs right into a number of different strategies that readers can use to improve their communication skills—specifically through conversation. You’ll read through why you should try to have better conversations in your life and how to improve your listening and talking skills.

Books to improve relationships with friends 

Friendships are an important part of life from childhood into adulthood. And just like you’re never too old for friends, you’re never too old to learn more about improving your friendships. Here are a couple of our favorites. 

1. The Art of Showing Up: How to Be There for Yourself and Your People 

By Rachel Wilkerson Miller

  • What it’s about: A guide on how to show up for yourself and others
  • What makes it unique? It offers a two-pronged, practical approach to maintain friendships.

The Art of Showing Up digs into two areas in-depth: showing up for yourself and showing up for your friends. You can’t have one without the other, and Miller offers a variety of suggestions and guidelines on how to do both effectively. You’ll even find answers to highly specific questions and scenarios, like if you struggle to cancel plans and how to better stand up for yourself.

2. Big Friendship: How We Keep Each Other Close 

By Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman

  • What it’s about: The story of the two authors’ friendship
  • What makes it unique? Big Friendship looks at the importance of nurturing friendship through the lens of a real-life friendship—including the highs and lows.

With well over 20,000 reader ratings on GoodReads, Big Friendship provides a very intimate look at Sow and Friedman’s actual friendship over the course of a decade. This is a very much memoir with a splash of self-help, helping it stand out from other books on friendship. You’ll find relatable moments and ideas on friendship here that are uniquely explored through Sow and Friedman’s story—including how to handle communication issues between friends. 

Books to improve romantic relationships 

While we can’t guarantee all your romantic questions and woes will be answered, these two books on how to be in a relationship are standouts that address quite a few common relationship issues.

1. The Mathematics of Love: Patterns, Proofs, and the Search for the Ultimate Equation 

By Hannah Fry

  • What it’s about: The patterns that shape everyone’s love lives
  • What makes it unique? It offers a unique look at the popular topic of love through the lens of mathematical equations.

Romance is covered in all types of books on how to be in a relationship. But The Mathematics of Love approaches different aspects of romance, from online dating to post-marriage, from a more analytical perspective. As Fry writes, “The goal of this book is to reveal the patterns that govern one of life’s greatest mysteries” in a relatively short but approachable read on how mathematical methods apply to love.

2. ADHD & Us: A Couple’s Guide to Loving and Living With Adult ADHD 

By Anita Robertson

  • What it’s about: Simple strategies for people with adult ADHD navigating relationships 
  • What makes it unique? It provides inclusive and practical advice for modern couples where one or more partners have ADHD. 

Relationship books and advice tend not to account for neurodivergent individuals, usually offering tips and tricks that apply to a broad audience. ADHD & Us helps fill that gap by specifically providing readers with adult ADHD simple and effective strategies that they can utilize in their relationships—including how to better understand ADHD, how it can affect relationships and how to meet each partner’s needs a little better. With an average rating of 4.6 stars on Amazon, readers have found this relationship book helpful and easy to understand.

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