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What Is A Toxic Relationship And How To Deal With It.

What Is A Toxic Relationship And How To Deal With It.

Toxic relationships. Sounds pretty bad and serious, isn’t it?

We might think those relationships must involve cheating, betrayal or even violent physical actions. Of course, they are obvious signs of unhealthy relationships, but does that mean they are the only indicators?

And is it necessary for us to get emotionally and mentally drained before we start to think about our own happiness?

I understand that sometimes it’s hard for us to face problems in the relationship that we have invested and treasured a lot. It’s not always easy to remember who you are and what you want from the relationship. We might put up a lot of excuses and reasons for people who hurt us because simply picturing the life without them makes our heart ache.

I know how that feel and I have been there too, not only had a few broken relationships, I also experienced obstacles with my friends and co-workers. (It’s not just romantic relationship that can become toxic, my friend!)

No matter what kind of relationship it is, it’s important to pay attention to how the relationship makes you feel. Think about it this way, Listening to yourself and pay attention to how you feel is, the key to saving your relationship. Simply letting the other parties know what you really want is the key first step to regaining your own happiness again!

Here I have summarized toxic signs in different kind of relationships and solutions that might help you to get through this unpleasant stage.

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On Toxic Love Relationships

Passive Aggressive

What is it?
It is the indirect resistance to others to avoid direct confrontation. It means on the surface we try not to be aggressive but we actually are. One way is by criticisms. “I hate it when you do this but I have been keeping it to myself.” Sounds familiar, isn’t it? It happens when they try to nudge you in the direction of figuring it out yourself.

Why is it toxic?
It shows that you aren’t ready for open communication. If you feel secure to someone you’ll be open to express feelings directly instead of dropping hints for guessing. If your partner only knows you don’t like the idea but doesn’t know your real meanings, the conflict cannot be solved. You may create distance since your partner may avoid any kind of confrontations by hiding thoughts in the future.

What should you do instead?
If you to be understood, tell them your feelings openly. Tell your partner that you are not blaming him/her but you want to discuss and find out solutions together. By doing this, your partner knows it needs both parties’ effort to work it out. This also gives a chance for both of you to explain yourself clearly to each other and develop a better understanding.


Excessive Jealousy

What is it?
Jealousy is a mixture of insecurity, fear, rage, anxiety and blablabla (and the list goes on).Simply listing them makes me sick too!  A simple and obvious example is you feel bad when you see your partner get in touch (in any form) with others. What do you do? You tell your partner that’s an awful thing to do and try to control your partner by forbidding them to contact ever again.

Why is it toxic?
The emotion signifies a lack of trust. This will often lead to a loop when you start to check your partner’s phone while they are in the shower. A male friend of mine experienced this. His ex-lover checked his phone by looking at the photos, call history, and WhatsApp and Facebook messages. They ended up in a serious argument because the man found it disrespectful while the girl felt emotionally cheated. When jealousy is excessive, both parties suffer and after all the torture, it’s common to say goodbye in the end.
What should you do instead?
A certain level of jealousy is natural and is considered as a sign of affection since you show care. However, excessive jealousy is definitely toxic. Trust your partner. It is just as simple as that. Do not overthink how your partner is going to cheat you. If you feel insecure, tell your lover and let them know how you feel.

Buying the Solution

What is it?
Instead of talking through the problem, you partner try to cover it up with a good feelings and excitement that comes from gifts and treats. Imagine You and your partner had an argument in the morning. At night your partner brings you to a fancy restaurant with your favourite Italian cuisine. You want to talk about the issue but you don’t want to break the atmosphere and so both of you enjoy the pasta with casual talk. So what’s going on with the problem? Guess you guys just let it “pass-ta” away.

Why is it toxic?
You think it helps rebuild the relationship? This isn’t true. Covering up problems doesn’t work since the problem is never discussed or solved. You feel depressed instead of happy even tho you are having a nice dinner because you know your partner isn’t willing to be accountable for the problem. So the story ended up with voice unheard and a man feeling like an ATM.

What should you do instead?
Again. Talk. Talk. And Talk. Communication is always the key. Dig deep into the core problem and try to solve it step by step to make sure it won’t happen again. There’s nothing wrong to treat your lover a nice gift but never use this as a solution to your problem because it will never be. If you try to cover it up with gifts, the problem accumulates and rolls like a snowball, leading to a harmful and enormous threat to the relationship.


Blaming One’s Emotion On the Other Half

What is it?
Some people think if two people are intimate, their can rely their feelings on each other. It means that if you get angry then your partner has responsibility in causing that. Imagine a girl who just finished an exhausting day wants to see her partner asap after work. Unluckily the partner had a dinner date planned earlier so he got home late. At home, he got distracted by a business phone call while the tired girl tries to cuddle. The girl ended up losing temper because she felt like being ignored and the partner was insensitive to her feelings. She blamed him to be responsible for all the negative emotions.

Why is it toxic?
It’s just small issue and can be solved easily, but now it ended up with an unnecessary argument. This harms the relationship when the partner finds you irrational and emotional and constant annoyance can possibly reduce intimacy and of course patience.

What should you do instead?
Put yourself in his/her shoes. Think of the frustrations your other half may have in a day. If you are tired frommeant work, he or she may probably feel the same. Take responsibility for your own feelings. Long-lasting partners are meant to be supportive but not obligated to each other’s feelings. You don’t want your partner to put the blame on you for everything they feel too. So next time if you need him/her, just gently ask, ‘I just had a bad day, si that ok if you can talk to me for a while or just comfort me?”


On Toxic Friendships

Encourages bad behavior

What is it?
He or she invites you to join all those events that involve unhealthy activities like smoking or taking drugs and maybe even convince you to try it.

Why is it toxic?
We normally will compromise because of peer pressure and just don’t want to be left out. We try very hard to fit in because they are our friends. and because of that we easily develop habits that affect us because who would want to be left out alone?
However, because of this mentality, in long term, we will simply do things that we don’t want to. In a more serious way, you might also lose yourself and the power to reject.

What should you do instead?
You should understand your stand, what you like or do not like and keep it firm, do only what makes you comfortable and feel right to do. Also, you should understand that friends should be encouraging (in a positive way) and that they will not force you to do the things you do not want in life and how you guys are not on the same path anymore.


All you do is gossip

What is it?
Basically, every time you guys meet, all you guys do is gossip.
You will find yourself constantly gossiping with him or her behind people’s back and judge their behaviors, appearances or any other little things that are not really meaningful in life or have little contribution to your personal growth.

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Why is it toxic?
In order for us not to be awkward, you are forced to give he or she the answers they want to hear and gossip together with them about things that are not important in your life and constantly sending out negativity to people when you make your judgment. In long term, you are wasting your time gossiping in which you could have developed yourself a hobby, read a book and do something more positive or meaningful things to yourself or the society. You might also start to be more negative in life than before as you constantly make your judgment and see only the bad in people and fail to appreciate the others.

What you should do instead?
First, you should avoid gossiping with him or her and learn to see the good things in people around you and in your life. Spend more time focusing on yourself and your friends instead of people that are not around. Always remember to surround yourself with positive and encouraging people. 


You guys are not on the same path anymore

What is it?
You guys have different or maybe even the opposite goals in life and he or she blames you for not following her path and degrades your goals or dreams in life.

Why is it toxic?
He or she blames you for being selfish and not considerate enough to have a different path with him or her in life, in which you might then be persuaded to give up what you want in order to be the ‘considerate’ friend that he or she wants you to be. Finally, you give up what you want to do instead of perusing what you want in your life trying to make your friend, but not yourself, who is the owner of this life.

What you should do instead?

You should stand firm in face of her judgment and blame. Do not stop believing in what you want to do or to achieve in life just because of what she said. Remember that good friend should be supportive of each other despite having different goals in lives.


Everything is in competition

What is it?
Instead of feeling happy about what your friends have achieved, you feel jealous and often compare your own success with theirs. You compete for everything with him or her from what you guys eat, what you guys wear, where you guys live, your exam scores, your positions in work to every little part of your life even though it is not meaningful.

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Why is it toxic?
You start to focus so much on winning that you spend your every dollar, every minute and every bit of energy competing with her. Then, you forget your original plan or goals in life because you are too obsessed with winning her. In the end, you lose track of your goals in lives and forget many other things that are much more meaningful and important than competitions in life, like a true genuine friendship.

What should you do instead?
Don’t lose yourself. True friends should be happy for each other and encourage each other along the way instead of competing. You should know that not everything is or should be a competition and that failing does not mean losing, what is moreimportant is that you learn from your friends and know what you want to improve. Don’t hesistate to ask for help if you think they can teach you!


On Toxic Working Relationships

Pointing to the person instead of the problem

What is it?
When there is a problem at work, your colleagues blame you or your team members instead of fixing it together. Imagine something went wrong in a project. Rather than investigating the problem deeply or learning from the mistake, your colleagues keep blaming and pinpointing at one particular person, claiming that it’s all his/her fault. Sounds annoying, isn’t it?

Why is it toxic?
Does blaming help? Definitely not. Nothing will improve by simply putting the blame on someone instead of finding ways to improve. Members who are blamed will feel demotivated and embarrassed. It is also possible for them to do the same and blame the others next time.

What should you do instead?
Try to talk openly about the problem as a team instead of an individual. Make sure you talk objectively and based on fact instead of feelings. Let your team members know open communication is the only way for the team to learn and grow.


Not sharing responsibilities

What is it?
When there is a big project that requires effort from different parties, some colleagues refused to contribute either they are too busy with their own stuff or fail to fulfill what’s promised.

Why is it toxic?
How do you feel if a team member doesn’t contribute as much as the others? That’s just NOT FAIR, I bet you are screaming this in your head. The colleague who doesn’t share responsibilities is likely to be disliked by the others. It demotivates others too because they may feel dissatisfied due to the lack of contribution of the colleague. This doesn’t only ruins the relationship and it might delay the project progress.

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What should you do instead?
Always remember you are not working on your own but as a team. Whenever someone needs help, offer help. And when the work requires shared work, get involved, contribute, and take up responsibilities. Try to find out why your team member failed to contribute their part, make deep investigationa, find out the reasons and offer as much help and assistant as you can!  Again, just what we stated above, point to the problem, not the person!

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Jolie Choi

Gone through a few heartbreaks and lost hundreds of friends but I am still happy with my life.

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Last Updated on April 11, 2019

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in every phase of your life. This is especially true in the workplace.

I have personally worked with several leaders who were masters of communication. A few were wonderful speakers who could tell a great story and get everyone in the room engaged. Those of us in attendance would walk away feeling inspired and eager to help with what came next. Others were very skilled at sharing a clear direction and job expectations.

I knew exactly what was expected of me and how to achieve my goals. This was the foundation of an energized and vibrant role I was in. What I have found is strong communication skills are incredibly helpful and sometimes critical in how well we perform at work.

Here we will take a look at how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

How Communication Skills Help Your Success

Strong communication skills pave the way for success in many ways. Let’s look at a few of the big ones.

Create a Positive Experience

Here are two examples of how well developed communication skills helps create a positive experience:

When I first moved to the city I now live in, I began a job search. Prior to my first live interview, I was told an address to go to. Upon arriving at the address provided, I drove around and around attempting to find the location. After 15 minutes of circling and looking for the address, I finally grabbed a parking spot and set out on foot.

What I discovered was the address was actually down an alley and only had the number over the door. No sign for the actual company. The person that gave me those very unclear directions provided a bad experience for me.

Had they communicated the directions to get there in a clear manner, my experience would have been much better. Instead the entire experience started off poorly and colored the entire meeting.

As a recruiter, I frequently provide potential candidates with information about a job I’m speaking to them about. In order to do this, I also provide a picture of the overall company, the group they might be joining, and how their role fits in and impacts the entire company.

Time and time again I have been told by candidates that I have provided the clearest picture of a company and role they have ever heard. They have a positive experience when I clearly communicate to them. Even when the position does not work out for them, often times they will want to stay in touch with me due to the open communication and beneficial experience they had during the interviewing process.

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Strong communication skills will provide a positive experience in virtually any interaction you have with someone.

Help Leadership Skills

It’s certainly a skill all its own to be able to lead others.

Being a mentor and guiding others towards success is a major hallmark of great leaders. Another characteristic of effective leaders is the ability to communicate clearly.

As I referenced above, having a leader who can plainly articulate the company’s mission and direction goes a really long way towards being the Captain of the boat that others want to follow. It’s like saying “here’s our destination and this is how we are going to get there” in a way that everyone can get on board with.

Another critical component of everyone helping to sail the boat in the right direction is knowing what your portion is all about. How are you helping the boat move towards its destination in the manner than is consistent with the leaders’ vision?

If you have a boss or a manager that can show you what it takes for not only you to be successful, but also how your performance helps the company’s success then you’ve got a winner. A boss with superior communication skills.

Build Better Teams

Most of us work in teams of some sort or another. During the course of my career, I have led teams up to 80 and also been an individual contributor.

In my individual contributor roles, I have been part of a larger team. Even if you are in business for yourself, you have to interact with others in one manner or another.

If you have strong communication skills, it helps to build better teams. This is true whether you are in an IT department with 100 other fellow programmers or if you own your own business and have customers or vendors you communicate with.

When you showcase your robust ability to communicate well with others while interacting with them, you are building a better team.

Now let’s jump in to how to improve communication skills to help you pave the way for your workplace success.

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How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

There are many tips, tricks, and techniques to improve communication skills. I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much information, so let’s focus on the things that will provide the biggest return on your time investment.

Most of these tips will be fairly easy to become aware of but will take time and effort to implement. So let’s go!

1. Listen

Ever heard the saying you have two ears and one mouth for a reason? If you haven’t, then here’s the reason:

Being a good listener is half the equation to being a good communicator.

People who have the ability to really listen to someone can then actually answer questions in a meaningful way. If you don’t make the effort to actively listen, then you are really doing yourself and the other person a disservice in the communication department.

Know that person who is chomping at the bit to open his or her mouth the second you stop talking? Don’t be that person. They haven’t listened to at least 1/2 of what you’ve said. Therefore the words that spill out of their mouth are going to be about 1/2 relevant to what you just said.

Listen to someone completely and be comfortable with short periods of silence. Work on your listening skills first and foremost.

2. Know Your Audience

Knowing your audience is another critical component to having strong communication skills. The way you interact with your manager should be different than how you interact with your kids. This isn’t to say you need to be a different person with everyone you interact with. Far from it.

Here is a good way to think about it:

Imagine using your the same choice of words and body language you use with your spouse while interacting with your boss. That puts things in a graphic light!

You want to ensure you are using the type of communication most relevant to your audience.

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3. Minimize

I have lunch with a business associate about 3 times a year. We’ve been talking for several years now about putting a business deal together.

He is one of those people that simply overwhelms others with a lot of words. Sometimes when I ask him a question, I get buried beneath such an avalanche of words that I’m more confused than when I asked the question. Needless to say this is most likely a large portion of why we never put the deal together.

Don’t be like my lunch business associate. The goal of talking to or communicating with someone is to share actual information. The goal is not to confuse someone, it’s to provide clarity in many cases.

State what needs to be stated as succinctly as possible. That doesn’t mean you can’t have some pleasant conversation about the weather too.

The point is to not create such an onslaught of words and information that the other person walks away more confused than when they started.

4. Over Communicate

So this probably sounds completely counter intuitive to what I just wrote about minimizing your communication. It seems like it might be but it’s not.

What I mean by over communicating is ensuring that the other person understands the important parts of what you are sharing with them. This can be done simply yet effectively. Here’s a good example:

Most companies have open enrollment for benefits for the employees in the fall. The company I work for has open enrollment from November 1 to 15. The benefits department will send out a communication to all employees around October 1st, letting them know open enrollment is right around the corner and any major changes that year. There’s also a phone number and email for people to contact them with any questions.

Two weeks later, we all get a follow up email with basically the same information. We get a 3rd communication the week before open enrollment and another one 1 day before it starts.

Finally we get 2 emails during enrollment reminding us when open enrollment ends.

There’s minimal information, it’s more of a reminder. This is effective over communication.

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5. Body Language

The final critical component to how to improve communication skills for workplace success is body language. This is something most of us have heard about before but, a reminder is probably a good idea.

When I am in a meeting with someone I am comfortable with, I tend to kind of slouch down in my chair and cross my arms. When I catch myself doing this, I sit up straight and uncross my arms. I remember that crossing arms can many times be interpreted as a sign of disagreement or conflict.

In general, the best rule of thumb is to work towards having open body language whenever possible at work. This means relaxing your posture, not crossing your arms, and looking people in the eye when speaking with them.

When you are speaking in front of others, stand up straight and speak in a clear voice. This will convey confidence in your words.

Conclusion

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in many facets of your life and most certainly in the workplace.

Good communication helps create better teams, positive experiences with those we interact with, and are critical for leadership.

There are numerous tactics and techniques to be used to improve communication skills. Here we’ve reviewed how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

Now go communicate your way to success.

More Resources About Effective Communication

Featured photo credit: HIVAN ARVIZU via unsplash.com

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