Advertising
Advertising

4 Words That Will Ruin A Relationship

4 Words That Will Ruin A Relationship

Even the most successful couples can fail at communication when emotions run high. In the heat of battle, words can be spoken before brains are put into gear. Hurt, resentment, or anger can make the best of us lash out.

As the saying goes: “When emotion goes up… intelligence goes down.

When your partner says something that you feel is unjustified or unfair, it’s super easy to react and spit out something you don’t really mean. Understanding the cause of this reactive behaviour will help you to stop doing it and to understand and deal with it better when it’s thrown at you.

Words are powerful — more powerful than most people realize. They create our reality (and that of others around us), and choosing them carefully will be your greatest friend. When someone throws out a thoughtless comment, the receiving person can easily feel attacked or misunderstood. They feel like they’ve been judged and tried without a jury, and they go into a defensive reaction. They feel the need to state their case and argue down the opposite view. They perceive a strong threat and come out of the corner fighting.

Avoiding or replacing some words can largely avoid a breakdown in communication and a defensive response. Try listening for these in your next heated debate — you’ll be surprised just how often both you and your partner are using them:

Advertising

1. “Should”

    Photo credit: Source

    When you say “you should” or “shouldn’t,” what is coming across to the other person is that you think you are superior, an authority, and that you know better than they do. It changes the dynamic from two equal people discussing to a dominant and a submissive relationship.

    Try instead: “I would really like it if you could…”

    2. “You”

    The second you start talking about what you are feeling in sentences that start with “You,” you’re probably going to be in trouble. You might say “You never listen to me!” only wishing to impart that you feel unheard, but what the other person hears is “It’s all your fault!”

    Advertising

    “You” comes with an imaginary jabbing finger. It’s accusatory, and if the receiving person is already feeling vulnerable, defensive, or emotional, whatever you say after “you” will be interpreted as an accusation.

    Instead, try: “I feel like…” or “When this happens, I feel…”

    3. “Must”

      Photo credit: Source

      Similar to “should,” “must” sets the speaker up as the expert, the more knowledgeable party. It tells the receiving person that you know better and that they should be doing what you say. At some level, the person you are saying this to will feel that you don’t respect their opinion or their logic or their ability to think for themselves.

      Advertising

      Try: “I’d love you to…” or “It would really help me if you could…”

      4. “Expect”

      As someone once said “Peace begins where expectation ends.” Everyone has a “blueprint” in their head, an idea or a mould of how things should be and how other people should behave.

      Come to grips with the concept that other people don’t have to follow your rules and that they may not have the same expectations as you do.

      When you use phrases like “I would have expected that you would…”, it’s accusatory. It somehow says that the other person has failed and that is exactly how they will feel. They’ll feel judged and rejected and will more than likely react negatively.

      So choose your words carefully and don’t give your partner any reason to feel defensive. Talk in terms of yourself, how you feel, rather than what the other person has or hasn’t done or said.

      Advertising

      If you can, take a little time to cool down before you begin to talk together so that you’re calm and ready to listen, and answer slowly — think before you speak!

        Photo credit: Source

        Featured photo credit: John Mark Kuznietsov via unsplash.com

        More by this author

        4 Words That Will Ruin A Relationship How to Boost Growth in Your Life

        Trending in Communication

        1The Gentle Art of Saying No 217 Ted Talks for Kids to Inspire Little Minds to Do Big Things 310 Toxic Persons You Should Just Get Rid Of 4Striving Towards Secure Attachment: How to Restructure Your Thoughts 5Being Self Aware Is the Key to Success: How to Boost Self Awareness

        Read Next

        Advertising
        Advertising

        The Gentle Art of Saying No

        The Gentle Art of Saying No

        No!

        It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

        Advertising

        But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

        Advertising

        What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

        Advertising

        But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

        1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
        2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
        3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
        4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
        5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
        6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
        7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
        8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
        9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
        10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

        Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

        Advertising

        Read Next