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Finding “The One” by Chance, Keeping “The One” by Choice

Finding “The One” by Chance, Keeping “The One” by Choice

It’s an ongoing debate, in my own head anyway. Does ‘the one’ just exist or do we have to work at it?

Are some couples happier because they found the right partner, or do they work harder at being the right partners?

Or, my own pondering…are some people just totally inept at ever being truly happy with any single person?

Is ‘the one’ out there?

It seems a lot of us think of these questions. Married or single. Male or female. The issue doesn’t discriminate. It just nags at many of us.

If I could count people who comment or message me about my blog as research, I would say it’s the reason a lot of people contemplate or get divorced. The search for ‘the one.’ The belief that they married the wrong person and the right one is out there somewhere waiting for them. (Or, they think they found them already.)

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And, for those of us who are single, we’re sitting around waiting for ‘the one’ to magically appear in our lives. Or, we’re actively pursuing looking for him or her. Or, we’ve decided that we are going to just be happy on our own and ‘the one’ will come along when we least expect it. Whatever it is, it’s all about ‘the one.’

Maybe, maybe not

One school of thought is, ‘yes, the one is out there.’ The quotes say something like, “You’ll never find the right one until you let go of the wrong one.” Or, how all the failed relationships were just leading to the perfect one. This might be true. Or, it might not.

It might be more about making it right. Sure, there are people who are better for each other. People who will have chemistry, share common interests, connect. And, others just don’t work at all. We all have that friend’s husband who we say “there is no way I could be married to him.” So, no, not anyone can be ‘the one.’ But, I’m not sure it can’t be the one you’re with. Or the one you were with.

Most of us start dating for some reason. Some initial attraction. Something that draws us to the other person. Many relationships end quickly, like the next morning when the wine has worn off and you wonder what the heck you were thinking. Or, a few weeks later when you realize he really doesn’t have a job, is living with his parents, and he’s 45.

Other relationships go on from there.  You enjoy each other’s company. Are physically attracted to one another. And/or think it’s a good thing. You start to share your lives with each other. Introduce the kids. And, start making plans together. You might even get married. You are a couple.

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And that’s where the road divides. For a few lucky ones, it goes straight ahead. Onward and upward, to bigger and better things. There might be a few bumps along the way, but they continue on.

For too many others, the road goes off in another direction. Doubt sets in. Communication starts to fail. They forget what they ever saw in the person. And, maybe a new road pops up that looks like a better option. A straighter path to the destination.

The thing is, all roads have their problems. It’s whether you fix it or build a new one that is the question. So how do you know?

By Chance

This is where that combination of chance and choice comes in. Chance is meeting someone. Choice is making it work. We have all had chances to meet ‘the one’ but are we willing to choose that person over and over again.

There is something about meeting someone in your 20s that seems to be problematic. My argument, you have no idea who you are at that age. It’s that college/post-college time when you’re your most rebellious. It’s the time when you are trying to decide who you want to be. Trying to live up to your expectations of yourself. Finding someone who also lives up to those expectations.

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So maybe who we choose during that time is not someone who will easily adjust to who we become when we’ve finally settled in to who we really are. Or, maybe we won’t adjust to them. Maybe that’s when we find a new ‘one.’ Someone who gets us the way we are now.

And, that makes sense. We all want to be loved for who we are. But, is it worth the sacrifices? All the years you invested? The kids? The possibility of being alone for the rest of your life?

And what if you weren’t in your 20s? What if you just met a year or two ago and things just got too complicated? It was too difficult to blend families. You got used to being on your own and didn’t want to give up your freedom. Or, perhaps, you got scared of getting hurt again.

Whatever the scenario, the reality is, you already found ‘the one’ but are now debating letting ‘the one’ go. Unless you choose not to.

By Choice

You can choose to stay with that one. Make things better. Go to counseling. Learn to communicate better. Work at it. But, I mean, really, really work at it.

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This is where the choice truly makes a difference. How hard are you willing to work at it? And, perhaps just as importantly, how willing is the other person to work at it? It really does take two to make a relationship work.

When you work together, you can establish the communication, commitment and collaboration (the 3Cs of relationships, in my opinion) it takes to find what’s missing. What you lost. Or, learn what each other wants now. You can choose to rediscover ‘the one’ you’re with.

Are you ‘the one’ you’re looking for?

Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work out. Sometimes both people aren’t willing to do the work. Which begs the question, of me anyway, are some people just never going to be happy with any single person? Oftentimes, it’s only one person who actually has a problem with the relationship. The other person is perfectly happy and sees no real need to work on anything. They understand you’re not happy, but nothing they do seems to make it any better. So why should it be different in any other relationship, with any other ‘one’?

Maybe the core of the problem is that ‘the one’ you’re not happy with is yourself. Maybe that’s the person you need to worry about first. Perhaps your significant other will understand this and give you all the time you need to figure that out. Perhaps he or she won’t and you’ll need to do it on your own. Whatever the case, ‘the one’ you’re looking for is you. Find you, and maybe then you will find ‘the one.’

Featured photo credit: MarkGroves.tv via markgroves.tv

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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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