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How to Improve Your Relationships With Those Surrounding You

How to Improve Your Relationships With Those Surrounding You

A key part human existence is the ability to build meaningful relationships over the years. There will be points in your life where you encounter hardships, betrayals, or disappointments. It happens sometimes with friendships, with family, co-workers, and just about any other group. How you react to and execute decisions really has an impact on the result. It is truly about learning to channel your own emotions, feelings, perceptions, and energies to better harness the law of attraction that influences our ability to move forward.

So, how can the “law of attraction” be explained? Everything you think about on a regular basis in your mind translates to flows of energies. According to Wikipedia, the law of attraction is the name given to the maxim “like attracts like,” which in new thought philosophy is used to sum up the idea that by focusing on positive or negative thoughts, a person brings positive or negative experiences into their life. This definition is subject to objection, but the philosophy can be traced back to ancient texts and different religions (Hermeticism, New England transcendentalism, Bible and Hinduism).

The first mentions of the law of attraction in the form of what we think or wish upon the universe can be found in beginnings of human civilization. Below is a list of the thinkers, philosophers, and proponents that echoed the so-called theory:

  • “Likes tend toward likes.” — Greek Philosopher Plato
  • “We are all the ephemeral forms of a consciousness greater than ourselves.” — Philosopher V. Stenger´s paper Cosmic Mind
  • “Thought vibration or the law of attraction in the thought world.” — William Walker Atkinson
  • “…Positive thinking is a strong and consistent predictor of life satisfaction.” — Ji Young Jung Yonsei Medical Journal Paper

So, basically everything that we think about exerts an influence upon us. One of the first pillars to improving any situation — in particular, getting rid of toxic friendships or relationships — is acknowledging the problem. The other difficult task to master is not making excuses and instead taking action to remedy the problem.

How to Execute These Ten Golden Relationship Rules

Keep in mind that this recommended list is by no means definitive or tantamount to 10 commandments for relationships to work perfectly (source: UK Cupid).

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  1. Love each other.
  2. Open lines of communication.
  3. Respect for each other.
  4. Honesty is the best policy.
  5. Sacrifices.
  6. Compromising.
  7. Conflict resolution.
  8. Give space when needed.
  9. Maintain the element of surprise.
  10. Remind the other person why you chose them.

Independent of your background, culture, ethnicity, socioeconomic level, or any other factor, everything should come down to how much you love each other. This feeling or sentiment is recognized in any four corners of the globe. In addition, the lines of communication are crucial and it is better to maintain a high degree of transparency to build everlasting trust.

The third point is one of the essential, if not the most important, aspects of a relationship: respect. Without this, no relationship of any kind can really evolve in a healthy manner. By extension, honesty goes hand in hand with open lines of communication and it is better to tell the truth.

When you give up something, no matter the cost or worth, you are building a lifetime partnership. This opens a smooth transition to the step of compromising and making exchanges that satisfy both parties invested in the relationship.

Nevertheless, conflicts will occur at any point of the relationship. Conflicts sometimes show up in the early phases or at a later stage when getting to know someone. So it is best when a tense argument erupts to have each person walk away and reconvene when moods are settled down. There is nothing worse than saying fowl or mean things in the heat of the moment — you will regret it later. Think long and hard before uttering painful words at the other person.

Chances are, if you have reached item eight on the list, that it is easier from there onward. Co-existing with a lifelong partner requires a lot of work and a sense of renewing the relationship, so allow for the other person to engage in separate activities with others. This helps remove saturation and a sense of routine or boredom with each other.

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Whenever appropriate, plan beyond traditional relationship holidays like Valentine’s Day or an anniversary celebration. Sure you want to keep those days in mind, yet leave plenty of room for spontaneous events. This helps build a sense of adventure and timeliness for any relationship. Remind each other in reasonable amounts why you are with each other in the first place.

Here is a visual graphic to recap how to keep relationships fresh.

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    Five Ways to Maintain Healthy Friendships

    One of the most difficult things to do is to get rid of negative influences. We know deep down when a friend or an acquaintance brings trouble or drama into our lives. Sometimes, we have to clean out our closets to have a fresh start.

    Remember when trying to make new friends or maintain existing ones you must accept that not all friendships will be perfect or perhaps even last. People come and go, so nothing is permanent in this life. It is cruel to say, but if you look at the big picture, you will realize which people make a difference in your life.

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    Here are five helpful tips asserted by Psychology Today to maintain long-term friendships:

    1. Be honest.
    2. Repair misattunements.
    3. Make time and who appreciation.
    4. Alter your expectations and do not make assumptions
    5. Choose compassion over cynicism.

    Some of these tips overlap with the good practices of maintaining a relationship. In a nutshell, be sincere with your lifelong or best friend. If there was or is a falling out, remember we all make mistakes and we must learn to forgive.

    If you are friends with people who have existing relationships or are married, make time to meet up. Just because you have settled down does not mean your friends are forgotten forever. Agree with your partner and make time in your busy schedule to do something with your own friends so you reinforce those bonds of friendships.

    The way your friends act is beyond your control. Give up the idea of reshaping people — not everyone evolves in the same fashion you do. Appreciate who they are and how they came into your life. Last, and not the very least, give compassion a priority over cynicism. It has been show that from as young as the age of two, people come to enjoy seeing others getting help. Compassion is its own reward, and when you share this onto others, you will associate with people who share those same values and bring joy to your life.

    Takeaways and Conclusions

    When you are surrounded by healthy friendships and a stable relationship, everything comes together. When you are around likeminded people who share the same compassionate views and principles, it becomes a win-win situation for all the parties involved.

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    When a relationship is based on superficiality or some inherent material interest, things will result in failure. None of these tips for friendships or golden rules for relationships is the perfect remedy to fixing everything wrong with your surroundings. It is a guide to encourage you to reflect, to become more self-aware of your purpose, and to think about what role certain forces govern in your life. We all must come to grips with managing the good and the bad aspects on this road of life.

    Sometimes, we will come to know solitude and isolation. We all know that sinking feeling. It is really about knowing who you are, learning to be comfortable with yourself, choosing friendships and relationships carefully, and finding your calling.

    Featured photo credit: Felipe Bastos via flickr.com

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    Anthony Carranza

    Multilingual writer and journalist covering all things technology and productivity.

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    Last Updated on March 14, 2019

    7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

    7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

    Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.

    For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.

    Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.

    1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?

    A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.

    It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.

    It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.

    How it helps you:

    If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.

    Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.

    2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?

    Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.

    Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?

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    How it helps you:

    Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.

    Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?

    If so, then this may not be the right match for you.

    Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.

    3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?

    Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!

    Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.

    How it helps you:

    This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.

    For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.

    Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.

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    A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.

    4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?

    To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.

    A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.

    How it helps you:

    One word: hierarchy.

    All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.

    In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.

    If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.

    5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?

    Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.

    Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.

    How it helps you:

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    Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.

    If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?

    This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.

    6. What do you like about working here?

    This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.

    Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?

    How it helps you:

    You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.

    Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?

    Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.

    7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?

    What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.

    As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.

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    How it helps you:

    What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.

    First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?

    Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?

    Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.

    Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.

    Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.

    Making Your Interview Work for You

    Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.

    Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!

    More Resources About Job Interviews

    Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

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