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Curiosity Killed The Cat? No, It Can Save Your Relationship

Curiosity Killed The Cat? No, It Can Save Your Relationship

What makes a great relationship? Having things in common? Having the same goals and aspirations? The ability to keep a sense of humour in adverse times? Many things make up a well-oiled relationship but let’s get curious for a minute.

Curiosity is something we don’t often put down as a positive trait when it comes to relationships – after all, it killed the cat which indicates that sticking your nose in where it shouldn’t be will only cause a nasty shock. It’s often believed that ignorance is bliss and what you don’t know won’t hurt you, but when it comes to relationships, is this hindering your ability to bond and truly get to know each other?

Curiosity is a major part of communication between a couple and without it, it can cause us to jump to conclusions, judge the other person, and make assumptions. In essence, without curiosity we are stopping ourselves from seeing the whole picture and this causes unneeded animosity.

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Why Curiosity Paves The Way For A Great Relationship

Curiosity is how we learn. It’s how we gain knowledge of the world and the people around us – it’s how we form good relationships with others. It also brings a sense of being humble by asking the questions and listening to what a person’s response is. All this helps us to form and build close friendships and romantic relationships. Continuing curiosity is important to keep up that special bond.

1. Curiosity Increases Compatibility

Having a sense of curiosity in a relationship increases compatibility because, not only does it enhance your own self-understanding, but it also creates a mutual understanding with the other person. In other words, you are both on the same page which allows forward moving growth and open communication as well as creating intimacy between you.

If you use curiosity in the right way, then situations when, for example, your partner comes home late, won’t end in accusations and assumptions being made about why they’re late. It will create an understanding between you both that carries on into all situations therefore creating a deeper compatibility in your thinking and positive reactions.

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2. Curiosity Opens Up Your Relationship To New Avenues

Actively being curious of each other and the world around you will stop the relationship from entering into a boring dead end routine. If you are both willing to explore more of the world and the people in it, you are both more likely to explore possibilities with your relationship. Curiosity keeps your relationship exciting, fresh and open to new understandings of yourself and the other person. This gives you the chance for you to evolve together.

3. Curiosity Helps With Problem-Solving

It’s easy to make assumptions about someone or a situation and when problems arise, it’s these assumptions that can stop you from being able to problem-solve effectively. Being curious opens up a way of brain-storming and allows you to solve problems together even without realizing it. By adopting a curious nature, you open up a dialogue between you and you’re more likely to navigate away from conflict as well as strengthening your connection.

Preventing misunderstandings, arguments and resentments can all be solved by bringing that curious aspect into your relationship.

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How To Create Curiosity In Your Relationships

Curiosity is all about asking questions but make sure they are open-ended – let the other person talk, listen intently and ask other questions. Doing this will encourage the other person to do the same for you.

The key is to keep your ego in check when you ask them and by that, I mean be genuine and sincere and not asking questions in a demanding or interrogating way. An example of this would be asking how your partner is feeling even if you have an idea of what the answer may be – let them talk and listen. Your aim is to learn and grow from the information you share in a loving way.

By adopting curiosity as part of your communication, you eliminate the assumptions, the judgements we can tend to cultivate about others’ habits and behaviours, misreading situations, misunderstandings, and ultimately reduce unnecessary conflict. It’s about letting go of your ideals and being willing to open up your mindset to a different perspective – one where you don’t know everything about someone but the want to find out is ever-lingering and present.

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We are constantly growing and developing as individuals, so it’s important to keep up with each other. What may be right or wrong for you, may not be the same for someone else and it’s important to always keep this in mind. Believing the person you started a relationship with years ago still has the same feelings, thoughts and ideas is a major misconception and can cause major contention. Curiosity should always be a major factor in friendships and relationships and should be used to find out how your loved ones are changing and developing as individuals.

Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it’s time to treat curiosity as a positive way of living rather than a guarded, cautious one.

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Jenny Marchal

A passionate writer who loves sharing about positive psychology.

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Last Updated on April 6, 2020

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

Most discussions on positively influencing others eventually touch on Dale Carnegie’s seminal work, How to Win Friends and Influence People. Written more than 83 years ago, the book touches on a core component of human interaction, building strong relationships. It is no wonder why.

Everything that we do hinges on our ability to connect with others and formulate deep relationships. You cannot sell a house, buy a house, advance in most careers, sell a product, pitch a story, teach a course, etc. without building healthy relationships. Managers get the best results from their teams, not through brute force, but to careful appeals to their sensibilities, occasional withdrawals from the reservoir of respect they’ve built. Using these tactics, they can influence others to excellence, to productivity, and to success.

Carnegie’s book is great. Of course, there are other resources too. Most of us have someone in our lives who positively influences us. The truth is positively influencing people is about centering the humanity of others. Chances are, you know someone who is really good at making others feel like stars. They can get you to do things that the average person cannot. Where the requests of others sound like fingernails on a chalkboard, the request from this special person sounds like music to your ears. You’re delighted to not only listen but also to oblige.

So how to influence people in a positive way? Read on for tips.

1. Be Authentic

To influence people in a positive way, be authentic. Rather than being a carbon copy of someone else’s version of authenticity, uncover what it is that makes you unique.

Discover your unique take on an issue and then live up to and honor that. Once of the reasons social media influencers are so powerful is that they have carved out a niche for themselves or taken a common issue and approached it from a novel or uncommon way. People instinctually appreciate people whose public persona matches their private values.

Contradictions bother us because we crave stability. When someone professes to be one way, but lives contrary to that profession, it signals that they are confused or untrustworthy and thereby, inauthentic. Neither of these combinations bode well for positively influencing others.

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2. Listen

Growing up, my father would tell me to listen to what others said. He told me if I listened carefully, I would know all I needed to know about a person’s character, desires and needs.

To positively influence others, you must listen to what is spoken and what is left unsaid. Therein lies the explanation for what people need in order to feel validated, supported and seen. If a person feels they are invisible, and unseen by their superiors, they are less likely to be positively influenced by that person.

Listening meets a person’s primary need of validation and acceptance.

Take a look at this guide on how to be a better listener: How to Practice Active Listening (A Step-By-Step Guide)

3. Become an Expert

Most people are predisposed to listen to, if not respect, authority. If you want to positively influence others, become an authority in the area in which you seek to lead others. Research and read everything you can about the given topic, and then look for opportunities to put your education into practice.

You can argue over opinions. You cannot argue, or it is unwise to argue, over facts and experts come with facts.

4. Lead with Story

From years of working in the public relations space, I know that personal narratives, testimonials and impact stories are incredibly powerful. But I never cease to be amazed with how effective a well-timed and told story can be.

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If you want to influence people, learn to tell stories. Your stories should be related to the issue or concept you are discussing. They should be an analogy or metaphor that explains your topic in ordinary terms and in vivid detail. To learn more about how to tell powerful stories, and the ethics of storytelling, take a look at this article: How To Tell An Interesting Story In 4 Simple Steps

5. Lead by Example

It is incredibly inspiring to watch passionate, talented people at work or play. One of the reasons a person who is not an athlete can be in awe of athletic prowess is because human nature appreciates the extraordinary. When we watch the Olympics, Olympic trials, gymnastic competitions, ice skating, and other competitive sports, we can recognize the effort of people who day in and day out give their all. C

ase in point: Simone Biles. The gymnast extraordinaire won her 6TH all-around title at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships after doing a triple double. She was the first woman to do so. Watching her gave me chills. Even non-gymnasts and non-competitive athletes can appreciate the talent required to pull off such a remarkable feat.

We celebrate remarkable accomplishments and believe that their example is proof that we too can accomplish something great, even if it isn’t qualifying for the Olympics. To influence people in a positive way, we must lead by example, lead with intention and execute with excellence.

6. Catch People Doing Good

A powerful way to influence people in a positive way is to catch people doing good. Instead of looking for problems, look for successes. Look for often overlooked, but critically important things that your peers, subordinates and managers do that make the work more effective and more enjoyable.

Once you catch people doing good, name and notice their contributions.

7. Be Effusive with Praise

It did not take me long to notice a remarkable trait of a former boss. He not only began and ended meetings with praise, but he peppered praise throughout the entire meeting. He found a way to celebrate the unique attributes and skills of his team members. He was able to quickly and accurately assess what people were doing well and then let them and their colleagues know.

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Meetings were not just an occasion to go through a “To Do” list, they were opportunities to celebrate accomplishments, no matter how small they are.

8. Be Kind Rather Than Right

I am going to level with you; this one is tough. It is easy to get caught up in a cycle of proving oneself. For people who lack confidence, or people who prioritize the opinions of others, being right is important. The validation that comes with being perceived as “right” feeds one’s ego. But in the quest to be “right,” we can hurt other people. Once we’ve hurt someone by being unkind, it is much harder to get them to listen to what we’re trying to influence them to do.

The antidote to influencing others via bullying is to prioritize kindness above rightness. You can be kind and still stand firm in your position. For instance, many people think that they need others to validate their experience. If a person does not see the situation you experienced in the way you see it, you get upset. But your experience is your experience.

If you and your friends go out to eat and you get food poisoning, you do not need your friends to agree that the food served at the restaurant was problematic for you. Your own experience of getting food poisoning is all the validation you need. Therefore, taking time to be right is essentially wasted and, if you were unkind in seeking validation for your food-poison experience, now you’ve really lost points.

9. Understand a Person’s Logical, Emotional and Cooperative Needs

The Center for Creative Leadership has argued that the best way to influence others is to appeal to their logical, emotional and cooperative needs. Their logical need is their rational and educational need. Their emotional need is the information that touches them in a deeply personal manner. The cooperative need is understanding the level of cooperation various individuals need and then appropriately offering it.

The trick with this system is to understand that different people need different things. For some people, a strong emotional appeal will outweigh logical explanations. For others, having an opportunity to collaborate will override emotional connection.

If you know your audience, you will know what they need in order to be positively influenced. If you have limited information about the people whom you are attempting to influence, you will be ineffective.

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10. Understand Your Lane

If you want to positively influence others, operate from your sphere of influence. Operate from your place of expertise. Leave everything else to others. Gone are the days when being a jack of all trades is celebrated.

Most people appreciate brands that understand their target audience and then deliver on what that audience wants. When you focus on what you are uniquely gifted and qualified to do, and then offer that gift to the people who need it, you are likely more effective. This effectiveness is attractive.

You cannot positively influence others if you are more preoccupied by what others do well versus what you do well.

Final Thoughts

Influencing people is about centering your humanity. If you want to influence others positively, focus on the way you communicate and improve the relationship with yourself first.

It’s hard to influence others if you’re still trying to figure out how to communicate with yourself.

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Featured photo credit: Wonderlane via unsplash.com

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