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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 July 8, 2020

How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

Do you say yes so often that you realize you aren’t really happy about this, wondering how to say no to people?

For years, I was a serial people pleaser. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

It took a long while but I learned the art of saying no. Saying ‘no’ meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. I started to manage my time more around my own needs and interests. When that happened, I became a lot happier. And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

The Importance of Saying No

When you learn the art of saying ‘no,’ you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey considered one of the most successful women in the world confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything. It was only when she realized that after years of struggling with saying no, I finally got to this question: “What do I want?”

Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

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Warren Buffett views no as essential to his success. He said,

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

When I made ‘no’ a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say ‘no.’

From an early age, we are conditioned to say ‘yes.’ We said yes probably hundreds of time in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work. We said yes get a promotion. We said yes to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

We say yes because it feels better to help someone. We say yes because it can seem like the right thing to do. We say yes because we think that is key to success. And we say yes because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist like the boss.

And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves. At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we feel guilty we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

The message no matter where we turn is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

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How to Say No Without Feeling Guilty

Deciding to add the word ‘no’ to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say ‘no’ but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of ‘no’ that you could finally create more time for things you care about. But let’s be honest, using the word ‘no’ doesn’t come easily for many people.

The 3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time especially you haven’t done it much in the past will feel awkward.

2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

Remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it, who else knows about all of the demands on your time? No one. Only you are at the center of all of these requests. are the only one that understands what time you really have.

3. Saying ‘No’ Means Saying ‘Yes’ to Something That Matters

When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

6 Ways to Start Saying No

Incorporating that little word ‘no’ into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

One of the biggest challenges to saying ‘no’ is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no reflect poorly on you?

Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because FOMO even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

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Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better.

3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say ‘No’

Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say ‘yes’ because we worry about how others will respond or the consequences of saying no or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose respect from others. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

Keep in mind that saying ‘no’ can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way. You might disappoint someone initially but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to.

4. When the Request Comes In, Sit on It

Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time, or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say ‘no.’ There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

5. Communicate Your ‘No’ with Transparency and Kindness

When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

A clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

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6. Consider How to Use a Modified ‘No’

If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” giving you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

Final Thoughts

Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

Use the request as a fresh request to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself. If you are the one placing the demand on yourself, try to evaluate the demand as if it were coming from somewhere else.

Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project but not by working all weekend. Or, tell someone in your family you can’t loan them money again because they never paid you back the last time. You’ll find yourself much happier.

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Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

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