Tips and Advice on Relationships
Relationships 101 Class
Webster's Dictionary Defines Relationships As
A connection, Association or Involvement
A connection between persons by blood, marriage or kinship
An emotional or other connection between two people
A romantic or sexual involvement
From the day we are born and throughout life we will have many relationships of different shapes, sizes and colors that will impact us in many ways both good and bad.
Our very first experiences with people are with those who, hopefully, care for, love, nurture and teach us. For those not so lucky, the process of building strong and lasting relationships can be difficult and confusing. We are formally taught many things during our childhood with the exception of the importance of how to build good and rewarding bonds with others. I, for one, came from an environment of total dysfunction and if there was a "Relationships 101" class; it must be one of the classes I slept through.
Those of us who were lucky and had mostly good role models usually find it easier and more natural to build and maintain long lasting bonds during our lives. For those of us who were less fortunate and did not have good role models with which to emulate, the core understanding of how to build good relationships may take quite a bit more effort. Sadly, many of us grow up in an environment of dysfunction which is counter-intuitive to knowing how to build strong and trusting bonds in our relationships. This can have a negative effect on a person's ability to form and maintain intimate as well as more general relationships such as those with co-workers. One thing is for certain, building and maintaining healthy lasting relationships takes time, effort and effective communication. Without these three elements, there is no foundation to build on.
In the world we live in today, time is something we all have little of and our relationships may suffer simply because we don't find a way to make the time to make our relationships work. Communication is a key factor in any good relationship. It does not matter what kind of relationship, friends, lovers, roommates, parent, child, siblings and all others; without good communication, the relationship will flounder and fail.
Make the Investment of Time
Time must be made to nurture, grow and maintain any kind of meaningful long lasting relationship. All the other elements needed will not matter if the time is not made to cultivate and nurture a bond. A sad reality is that your chances of winning the lottery are probably greater than your chances of maintaining long-term relationships whether it is marriage, roommates, business partnerships and many other social and family unions. We are either too busy, we don't understand the key elements or we were one of the unfortunate souls who simply had very poor examples and experiences with which to help guide us.
Before we delve in to the key aspects of building and keeping loving, trusting, secure bonds with others, we will address many things, that as imperfect humans, we do to sabotage ourselves with regards to our relationships. Doing any of these things can be the fastest road to destroy any relationship that matters to you.
Now if you are looking for ways to get out of an uncomfortable relationship and don't know how; please read the section, Ten Ways to Ensure Relationship Failure below and read it very carefully. Apply a few of these personality traits and it is a guarantee you will be rid of that unwanted relationship at warp speed. You may then also skip the remainder of this article.
However, if you are looking to keep your relationships strong and healthy, make sure you familiarize yourself with the traits below that may cause your relationship to fall apart. If you can recognize any of these ten destructive patterns of behaviors in yourself, you have work ahead to make corrections and build healthier and happier bonds.
- Abuse - hurting another physically or emotionally causes damage that is often impossible to repair. Sometimes things as simple as sarcastic remarks, withholding affection, mean words, threats and the refusal to talk are all forms of abuse of one kind or another. This can especially cause lasting damage to a child when done in the formative years.
- Overly Defensive - a person who can't handle criticism in any form even when constructive or to open up a line of communication shuts out the valuable feedback and discussion that can help smooth some bumps in the road.
- Always Critical - there are times and situations that call for appropriate criticism, but criticism should be limited to the appropriate times. An overly critical person jeopardizes relationships with a sense of always complaining and who can't be pleased. Not only is this damaging but also unattractive and causes people to keep their distance.
- You Are Always Right - we all have known these kind of people; they usually let the world and everyone close to them know they are never wrong. It is human instinct to want to be right 100% of the time; however, this is not the way to win friends and influence those around you. It tends to do the opposite and make people run whenever you walk in a room.
- Honesty - trust is a very critical factor in any healthy and bonded relationship. It is always better to tell the truth then to get caught up in lies that will haunt you later. We are human; if we mess up, fess up; it is the best way to go.
- Selfish - someone who always has to get their own way, get what they want and never give consideration to the other is the fastest way to create resentment and your relationship will certainly fail.
- Controlling - feeling the need to oversee most aspects of someone's life by the use of criticism, intimidation and domination to make them do what you want as you want.
- Superior - making sure to let everyone know that you are much better then they are. There are many ways to try and show you are superior and it is usually at the expense of others by doing and saying things to make the other person feel like they are less than you.
- Unfaithful - most unions are sealed by promises and agreements to each other. When these promises and agreements are breached the trust factor is destroyed. If your relationship was in trouble prior, the breach of being unfaithful is a sure way to bring it to an end.
- Inflexible - never allowing a discussion about a disagreement because you won't change your opinion closes the door on any possibility of dialog. Without good dialog and a willingness to listen and consider the other person's point of view will eventually damage a relationship.
Sometimes Not Telling the Truth is Better
Honesty and trust are elements needed in any good relationship. With that said, there are, however, a few exceptions with regards to total honesty. There are a few circumstances where it is in the best interest of everyone to 'fudge' the truth a bit.
Here is an example of when brutal honesty is not appropriate:
Your significant other has been doing very good on a "get fit and healthy" regime but the fact of the matter is; there is still a ways to go with achieving the desired results. However, your significant other went shopping and splurged on a new sexy outfit to sport at the social event you are both scheduled to attend. When she models the new outfit and asks how she looks, the phrase "honesty is the best policy", does not apply here. To tell her she resembles a cow in a tutu, may be true, but it is not the answer you should give. Love, in this instance, overrides honesty and you should compliment her on what a good job she has done getting fit and she looks great! You see how sometimes it is in everyone's best interest to stretch the truth a bit.
Short Video - Building Relationships
Technology and a Fast Driven World
We live in a world that is fast and hard driven. The use of technology in our day to day interactions are mostly dependent on computers, texting and other non face to face encounters. We are more and more connected with our jobs on a 24 hour basis; never out of reach or touch to keep our jobs running smoothly. The fact that this is the world we live in today makes it all the more difficult to find the time to really interconnect to those we love. Love doesn't have a chance to grow by way of voice mail and text messages. Love and friendships grow by making real personal connections and spending quality time together. Forming long lasting relationships in today's world takes a real concentrated effort and the setting aside of the time necessary for cultivation and growth.
1. Be at Peace With Yourself - if you do not have an inner sense of peace of heart and mind, it is very difficult to be at peace with anyone else. Find who you are and be true to yourself first. You must be emotionally healthy to maintain emotionally healthy relationships.
2. Honesty - when you breach the trust of someone close, it is hard to gain that trust back. If you mess up and break that trust, make sure that you are sincere in your efforts to be trustworthy going forward. That means making amends and apologizing.
3. Hold Only Yourself Responsible for Your Happiness - it is impossible to rely on anyone else with regards to your own personal happiness. If you are simply an unhappy person; there will not be anyone who can help you be happy. You and only you are responsible for your personal happiness.
4. Keep Criticisms and Complaints to a Minimum - we all are guilty of criticizing and complaining at times. We are, after all, only human. However, these things do not change the situation or the person who is causing you to criticize and complain. It is better to face what is bothering you, put it out in the open and find a solution to the situation. If that is not possible, then just move past it and not let it interfere with your life.
5. Use Your Mouth Less and Your Ears More - those with great communication skills all have at least one thing in common; they are very good listeners. Being a good listener shows that you care about what the other person has to say and understand what they are trying to communicate. It is hard to really get to know someone if you are doing all the talking. It does not allow the other person the opportunity to get to know you. Relationships take place between people who are genuinely interested in the other. It doesn't take long to meet someone new and everything out of their mouth's are about, "me, myself & I". It is unlikely one would be willing to spend much time nurturing a relationship with a totally self absorbed person.
6. Value Each Other - as humans we all have imperfections, some may be large and others, small. Dealing with the large imperfections will take good open communication and dialog to be able to come to a mutually agreeable understanding. The saying, "let the little things go", is as close to true as you can get. You will never be able to change a person in to the exact human that you wish. To grasp this means that you accept the relationship little flaws and all. When you can accept what you perceive as an imperfection in someone else as part of the whole package, you will be much happier. Making someone feel valuable helps their self-esteem and shows you respect and care for them even when they are less than perfect.
7. Be Flexible and Willing to Compromise - there is not a relationship of any kind that does not call for some flexibility and compromise at times. Insistence on having everything or even most things your way slowly erodes and destroys the relationship. Each must be willing to "give in" now and then as we all have feelings and opinions about things. Removing the ability to be flexible can lead to dead standstills where nothing is accomplished. Again, open communication, some compromising will go a long way towards maintaining strong bonds.
8. Smile Often - it is true, a smile goes a long way. Smiling is contagious and makes others around you feel good. Laughter is a persons best friend. These two things can help not to let the thing called "Life", get in the way of our happiness.
9. Invest in Quality Time - most of us are running on empty when needing to carve out more time for our relationships, however, without that investment, the relationship will cease to be. If there is no quality time for interaction and bonding, there is no chance for a success. This is true in any type of relationship, be it, parent/child, husband/wife, employee/boss, and all other types. Without the investment of time, failure is imminent.
10. Smothering - parents do this to their children, significant others do it, bosses with their employees and the list goes on. There is a point to the saying, "too much of a good thing". In any relationship dependence and independence must be balanced. Giving too much independence, for example to a child, could be a form of neglect and uncaring. The flip side is to smother a child not allowing them stretch their wings and grow, will make it harder for them to learn to be independent through life. Adults can be guilty of the same thing with their significant other. There must be the appropriate balance between the two based on the situation and circumstances. To smother another human being is to rob them of their ability to be themselves.
Do On To Others As You Would Have Them Do On To You
Matthew 7:12 Still the Best Advice Around
If You Live, Laugh and Love the World - the World Will Live, Laugh and Love You Back