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14 Questions You Need to Ask Yourself Before Entering a New Relationship

14 Questions You Need to Ask Yourself Before Entering a New Relationship

Entering a new relationship is a big deal, particularly when your past relationships have continually failed. If you’re having reservations about starting fresh with someone new, it might be best to reflect on your dating habits first.

Here are 14 questions to ask yourself to ensure that your next relationship is the happiest, healthiest one yet.

1. Am I ready?

Relationships take time and energy. Make sure your current lifestyle is ready for the commitment. If you have a new job, if you’re in pursuit of a dream, or if you are endearing a family emergency, it might not be best to throw another human being into the mix.  Wait until the storm has passed before inviting another ship into the water with you.

2. Am I truly over my ex?

To make #1 more specific, ask yourself this. Do not enter a new relationship if your answer is no, and you secretly want your ex back. Rebound relationships are not only destined to fail, they’re destined to bruise the ego and emotions of your new partner. No one wants to feel like they’re a rebound, and no one deserves to be one.

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The best way to get over an ex is to work on YOU. Decide what didn’t work in your last relationship, and what personal aspects of your own life need adjusting to make your next relationship a success.

3. What did not work in past relationships?

Perhaps you sacrificed too much for your last partner. Perhaps it lacked trust or honesty. Maybe your relationship didn’t work because of the distance. Make a list of all the things that went wrong in your prior relationships and find solutions.

4. What worked in my past relationships?

If you don’t recognize the positive aspects of a healthy, functional relationship, it will be difficult to transfer those ideas into a new one. If your own relationships lack insight, look at the couples around you. Perhaps your own parents or friends have harbored long-term relationships, and can lend some advice. 

5. What kind of relationship am I looking for?

In other words, how serious do you want it to be? This is important, not only for your own sake, but for the sake of your new, potential partner. Are you looking for a fun fling? Or are you ready to settle down? Be sure to discuss your answer with them before the two of you get in too deep. Avoid wasting time by making sure you’re on the same page.

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6. Do they share my morals?

When I began dating, my grandmother would ask, “how’s your love life going?” Her next question was always, “do you have the same morals?” I never really understood what she meant until I got older. Just because someone likes the same activities, or the same movies or books or food, doesn’t necessarily mean they’re right for you. You have to dig deeper.

Do they have the same beliefs? And I’m not even talking about religion or politics. How do they treat other people in their life? How do they look at the world? What are they passionate about? And if you’re looking to settle down with this person: What will they teach their children? Is it the same thing you would want your own children to learn?

7. What do I want out of this relationship?

Maybe you’re looking for support. Maybe you’re looking for companionship or love. Maybe you’re looking for a best friend. Maybe you’re simply looking for a “good time.” Again, it’s important to determine these things before entering into a new relationship. It’s the only way to decipher whether you’re in it for the right reasons, and whether or not this person can provide what you desire.

8. Do I love myself?

This is the biggest cliché in the book. You cannot love someone else if you don’t love yourself. I personally think you can love someone else even if you don’t love yourself; however, problems will still exist. If you don’t feel deserving of love, you might doubt or deny the love you receive from someone else, which can be extremely frustrating for them.

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9. What characteristics am I looking for in a partner?

Confidence? Sense of humor? Humility? Kindness? Motivation? Hard work? Does your prospective partner embody most of these characteristics?

10. Does this person bring out the best in me?

How do you feel when you’re with them? How do you behave? Are you able to be your complete self?

11. Am I really interested in this person?

I, for one, have made the mistake of dating someone just because. I was bored and confused and blinded to the fact that they were completely wrong for me. They were great; they just weren’t great for me. I was more interested in telling them about myself, than learning about them.

12. Would I be proud to introduce this person as my partner?

When you get into a new relationship, eventually, you’ll have to introduce them to everyone in your life. Are you excited about this? If the answer is no, I’d run.

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13. Do my friends and family like this person?

Usually, the people who know you best also know what’s best for you. If they don’t like your new partner, it’s probably because they’re seeing something you can’t yet.

14. Do I even want to be in a relationship?

If you’ve been in lots of relationships, if you’ve recently gotten out of a draining one, or if you just love being single, maybe you should be. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

But if you’ve considered all of these questions above and feel that you’re ready, then go for it! We’re all rooting for you.

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

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