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10 Lessons Everyone Needs To Learn While Being Single

10 Lessons Everyone Needs To Learn While Being Single

Being Single

Being single can be tough, especially for someone who really wants to be in a relationship. When I was single, I could be so envious of those in committed relationships and thought that if only I had someone, all my problems would go away.

The ironic part is that even if those relationships were full of drama and problems, I still thought I’d be happier. I just wanted someone to love me. I wanted it right now.

I used to rationalize the reasons why I was single and would convince myself that it was because of some defect in who I was. We can be so hard on ourselves.

I wish I knew more, when I was younger and single, than what I know now. It would have saved me many years of struggling to be happy as a single guy who really wanted to find true love. Now happily married, I look back at all the stuff that worked and all the things that didn’t when I was single.

In my mature single days, I’ve found that these 10 lessons to be the most helpful.

Love Yourself and Love BEING AROUND Yourself

This is perhaps the most important lesson of all. You may have heard this before, but the only way you can truly love somebody else is if you love yourself first. It really is true.

However, it continues to be a common belief that finding true love will somehow complete you. Remember the movie Jerry Maguire? I remember when I first watched that scene when Tom Cruise rushes in and boldly exclaims, “You complete me.”

I actually thought to myself, “Who can I complete? There has to be hundreds of women who need me to complete them!” I was so cool.

It’s as if we are a complicated puzzle and if we just find that one perfect match, all our problems will go away.

The truth is, nobody can love you more than you can love yourself. A relationship won’t save you or fill some empty part of you.

It’s easy to think this way because we all want to be loved by someone. It feels good to be loved.

But, true love comes when two people love themselves first and can share that intimate love with each other. Love yourself first.

Here is something you can try.

I used to do this a lot when I felt uncomfortable being alone. In fact, it might make you uncomfortable at first, but it’s worth it.

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Go out to eat and treat yourself to a nice dinner. Yep, that’s right you and YOU only. Proudly request a table for one and sit by yourself. Don’t worry about what others think and make sure it’s a sit down restaurant. It can’t be at an airport either! Enjoy the meal and spending time with yourself. Savor the meal you have. Feel uncomfortable? That means you need to do it again.

Love being around yourself.

Find Ways to Lift Up Your Spirit

Ask yourself this, what sort of things get you excited? In other words, if you had a free afternoon to do what you enjoy, what would it be?

You can also think of something that really excites you that you may have neglected when you were in a relationship. Often, in toxic relationships we tend to lose some of who we are and what we enjoy doing.

It can even be as simple as catching up with some old friends.

I used to make “singles mix tapes” (MP3 or Playlist for the younger crowd) of songs that really would lift up my mood.

Find songs that really lift up your mood (I will not go into all the songs I picked but one of them was by a band called Chumbawamba)

Already do things that lift you up? Do more of them. Try something new.

Stop Wishing What Could Have Been

It is so easy to think about the past, especially the good stuff. The good memories take up way more head space than the bad, or at least we don’t remember all of life’s minutiae (life’s minutiae = awesome rock band name).

Many of us figuratively go to that “happy place”- a faraway land where we hope we can live some day.

Have you ever told yourself,
“If only I was still in love with (ex or at all) things would be different. I would be so happy”

I know I have.

When you find yourself thinking about the “what if’s” in life, try the following:

Ask yourself, is this actually useful in helping me be happy right now. Is it helping in any way? Probably not.

It is very easy to think of ideal situations and what could have been. But, when we live in the past, it cripples us from living in the present.

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We begin to hold ourselves back feeling stuck in another time.

Take this Time to Figure Out What’s Really Important

This is the time where looking back at past relationships can be beneficial. Try to look at it as objectively as you can.

What really didn’t work in past relationships? What was something you thought you really wanted but realized that it wasn’t really that important?

Decide for yourself what you truly want out of that relationship. You’ve heard the old saying, “don’t settle for something less”. But, what does that mean for you?

Write it out if it helps. It’s helped me become more objective because it is no longer trapped in my mind.

One caveat.

PLEASE, don’t be the person with “the list”. You know who I’m talking about.

They’ve made a checklist of their “perfect” mate and if that person doesn’t meet exactly every one of those 27, it’s a hard no.

If you tend to do this, I encourage you to ask yourself why all of these are important- the deeper meaning. You may find that it may have something to do with you instead.

Spend some time on this.

Stop Idealizing Your Ex

Your ex is not perfect. Accept it. We tend to associate this person with all of the good memories when we are feeling lonely. The hard truth is this:

Your ex is a person that you are not in a relationship with any more. That is it.

They are nothing more, nothing less.

Your perception of your ex is in fact YOUR perception of who you think that person is. They may be a great person. That’s fine. There are people in my life who I think are great but don’t put them up on pedestals.

Try and let go of the idea of what this person represents and simply acknowledge their place. It also can be useful to ask yourself what you learned from that person. I’ve even written down why I’m grateful for that person and what they taught me about myself today.

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The more you start viewing your ex as who they are, the easier it will become to let go of what you think they should be.

Feel Genuinely Happy for Others in Relationships

This includes your ex. It’s ok to feel jealous, but it’s important to really understand what jealousy is really masking.

It is human nature to feel jealous. But, next time you feel jealous, stop and ask what is that feeling all about. What is it in me that is missing that I am seeking externally? Am I insecure about something?

One way that has helped me get over some of this feelings is to verbally tell friends how happy I am for his or her relationship. In turn, they are happy to hear it and that energy will only bounce back to you.

The best part? The more you tell people how happy you are for them, the better you will feel about relationships. You begin to associate relationships as something positive even as a single person.

You also stop comparing yourself to others because it isn’t about you. It’s just about telling people how great you feel about them.

Your Life Isn’t Over

After a breakup or a long time living in the single world, I used to think I would actually be single forever. There was no hope.

All I could think about was my life as a long and lonely single one, because it was all I could see. We often put these blinders on and can’t see past what’s in our minds.

Someone once showed me a very simple tool that really helped me keep things in perspective. Draw a long line with a beginning and an end point with the day your were born as 0 and the age you think will be your last, respectively.

Then, draw a square from points representing ages when you have actually been single. You can even break up the square to smaller spaces when you’ve been dating or in a relationship. Or, when you believe you could have been in a long term committed relationship and/or married.

You will find that the space is actually quite small compared to your potential lifespan.

This is just to get you to view this moment in time as only a sliver of life.

Get Out and Meet People

The best time to do this is when you’re single- at ANY age. There are plenty of ways to find and meet new people. Join a meetup.com group or join a free dating site and meet other singles in your area. You may not find a relationship right away, but it’s always great to practice.

Go out drinks with some coworkers after work.

Earlier we talked about doing more things that excite you. What are some things that excite you that other people may also enjoy? Then, think about where you might find like-minded people. Maybe it’s an online group or local club.

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You don’t have to make it your mission to find your soulmate but just go out and meet more people. When people want to be around you, you may find you start attracting more people you may be interested in, without even realizing it.

I don’t even suggest setting expectations for yourself. The point is to not try too hard and to just have fun with it.

Get out there!

Find People You Can Relate To

In my hardest times, I’ve always found it helpful to reach out to someone I trust. A friend, family member, or someone going through the same thing as you, can really help you make sense of how you feel.

It is a lot easier to joke about the challenges of single life with someone who is also single. In fact, it’s helpful to know that you aren’t the only one thinking some of those crazy thoughts.

Beyonce’s “All the Single Ladies” just popped in my head. You can even relate to that!

I also find it helpful to watch comedians talk about their failed relationships. They often have a great way of presenting their own lives as something all of us can relate to. Some of them are so open about their shortcomings. Even better, they make you laugh!

I caution you not to get too wrapped up in the negativity of others. There are some single people I know who constantly complain about their single lives. This doesn’t help you.

Find people who you can relate to but also can lift you up, not put you down.

It’s OK to be single

Embrace this time in your life. Don’t beat yourself up about being single. It is much better to be happy alone than miserable with someone else.

Just because someone is in a relationship, does not mean they are happy. It’s helpful to remind yourself of this.

Every day brings a choice as to how you can live the single life. Remind yourself that it is ok to be single and choose to live a happy single life by loving yourself first.

Despite what all of the sappy country songs tell you, you don’t have to be miserable, lonely, and desperate when you’re single.

I’m going to get a little mushy here- if you do feel bummed that you are single, just start to acknowledge those feelings. It’s better to feel them then hold more of them inside.

Actually, being single can be a lot of fun. Embrace it!

Come back to these lessons as a reminder that everyone is single at one point or another, and it’s how you choose to live the single life that is up to you.

Featured photo credit: Ryan Mcguire via gratisography.com

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Published on September 23, 2020

6 Effective Negotiation Skills to Master

6 Effective Negotiation Skills to Master

I don’t know about you, but many times when I hear the word negotiate I think of lawyers working out a business deal or having to do battle with a car salesman to try to get a lower price. Since I am in recruiting, the term “negotiation” comes up when someone is attempting to get a higher compensation package.

If we think about it, we tend to negotiate almost every day in a wide variety of things we do. Getting a handle on the important negotiation skills can be incredibly beneficial in many parts of our lives. Let’s take a look at 6 effective negotiation skills to master.

What is Negotiation?

First, let’s take a look at what negotiation is. Put simply, negotiation is a method by which people settle their differences. It is a process in which compromise or agreement can be reached without argument or dispute.

Anytime two people or sides disagree on something, they are almost always looking for the best possible outcome for their side. This could be from an individual’s perspective or someone representing an organization.

In reality, it’s rare that one side gets everything they want and the other side gets nothing that they are seeking. Seeking to reach a common ground of sorts where both sides feel like they are getting most of what they want is the key to being successful and maintaining the relationship.

Places We Negotiate

I’ve mentioned that we negotiate in just about all phases of our life. For those of you who are shaking your head no, I invite you to think about the following:

1. Work/Business

This one is the most obvious and it’s what naturally comes to mind when we think of the word “negotiate”.

When you first started at your current job, you might have asked for a higher salary. It could be that you delivered a huge new client to your company and used this as leverage in your most recent evaluation for more compensation. If you work with vendors (and just about every company does), maybe you worked them to a lower price or better contract terms.

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In recruiting, I negotiate with candidates and hiring managers all the time to land the best talent I can find. It’s very common to accept additional work with the (sometimes spoken, sometimes unspoken) agreement that it will benefit your career in the future.

Recently, I took over a project that was my boss was working on so that I would be able to attend a conference later in the year. And so it goes, we do this all day long at work.

2. Personal

I don’t know about you, but I negotiate with my spouse all the time. I’ll cook dinner with the understanding that she does the dishes. Who wants to mow the lawn and who wants to vacuum and dust the house?

I think we should save 10% for retirement, but she thinks 5% is plenty. Therefore, we save 8%. And don’t even get me started with my kids. My older daughter can borrow my car as soon as she finishes her chores. My younger daughter can go hang out with her friends when her homework is done.

Then, there are all those interactions in our personal lives outside our homes. The carpenter wants to charge me $12,000 to build a new deck. I think $10,000 is plenty so we agree on $11,000. I ask my neighbor if I can borrow his snowblower in the winter if I invite him over the next time I grill steak. And so on.

3. Ourselves

You didn’t expect this one, did you? We negotiate with ourselves all day long.

I’ll make sure I don’t skip my workout tomorrow since I’m going to have that extra piece of pizza. My spouse has been quiet the last few days, is it worth me asking her about, or should I leave it alone? I think the car place charged me for some repairs that weren’t needed, should I say something or just let it go? I know my friend has been having some personal challenges, should I check in with him? We’ve been friends for a long time, I’m sure he’d come to me if he needed help. I’ve got the #4 pick in this year’s Fantasy Football draft, should I choose a running back or a wide receiver?

Think about that non-stop voice inside your head. It always seems to be chattering away about something and many times, it’s us negotiating with ourselves. I’ll finish up that report that the boss needs before I turn on the football game.

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Why Negotiation Skills Are So Important

Put simply, negotiation skills are important because we all interact with other people, and not only other people but other organizations and groups of people as well.

We all rarely want the same thing or outcome. Most of the time a vendor is looking at getting you to pay a higher price for something than you want to spend. Therefore, it’s important to negotiate to some middle ground that works well for both sides.

My wife and I disagree on how much to save for retirement. If we weren’t married it wouldn’t be an issue. We’d each contribute how much we wanted to on our retirement funds. We choose to be married, so we have to come to some agreement that we both feel comfortable with. We have to compromise. Therefore, we have to negotiate.

If we each lived on a planet by ourselves, we would be free to do just about anything we wanted to. We wouldn’t have to compromise with anyone because we wouldn’t interact with anyone. We would make every choice unilaterally the way we wanted to.

As we all know, this isn’t how things are. We are constantly interacting with other people and organizations, each one with their own agenda’s, viewpoints, and opinions. Therefore, we have to be able to work together.

6 Negotiation Skills to Master

Having strong negotiation skills helps us create win-win situations with others, allowing us to get most of what we want in conjunction with others around us.

Now, let’s look at 6 effective negotiation skills to master.

1. Preparation

Preparation is a key place to start with when getting ready to negotiate. Being prepared means having a clear vision of what you want and how you’d go about achieving it. It means knowing what the end goal looks like and also what you are willing to give to get it.

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It also means knowing who you are negotiating with and what areas they might be willing to compromise on. You should also know what your “bottom line” is. By “bottom line” I mean what is the most you are willing to give up to get what you want.

For instance, several years ago, I decided it was time to get a newer car. I say newer because I wanted a “new to me” car, not a brand new car. I did my research and figured out what type of car I wanted. I decided on what must-have items on the car I wanted, the highest amount of miles that would already be on it, the colors I was willing to get it in, and the highest amount of money I was willing to pay.

After visiting numerous car dealerships I was able to negotiate buying a car. I knew what I was willing to give up (amount of money) and what I was willing to accept, things like the color, amount of miles, etc. I came prepared. This is critical.

2. Clear Communication

The next key skill you need to be an effective negotiator is clear communication. You have to be able to clearly articulate what you want to the other party. This means both clear verbal and written communication.

If you can’t clearly tell the other person what you want, how do you expect to get it? Have you ever worked through something with a vendor or someone else only to learn of a surprise right at the end that wasn’t talked about before? This is not what you would call clear communication. It’s essential to be able to share a coherent and logical vision with the person you are working with.

3. Active Listening

Let’s do a quick review of active listening. This is when you are completely focused on the speaker, understand their message, comprehend the information, and respond appropriately. This is a necessary ingredient to be able to negotiate successfully. You must be able to fully focus on the other person’s wants to completely understand them.

If you aren’t giving them your full attention, you may miss some major points or details. This leads to frustration down the road on both sides. Ensure you are employing your active listening skills when in arbitration mode.

4. Teamwork and Collaboration

To be able to get to a place of common ground and a win-win scenario, you have to have a sense of teamwork and collaboration.

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If you are only thinking about yourself and what you want without giving much care to what the other person is wanting, you are bound to wind up without a solution. The other person may get frustrated and give up if they see you are unwilling to meet them halfway or care little for what they want.

When you collaborate, you are working together to help each other get what is most important to you. The other upside to negotiating with a sense of teamwork and collaboration is that it helps create a sense of trust, which, in turn, helps provide positive energy for working to a successful conclusion.

5. Problem Solving

Problem-solving is another key negotiation skill. When you are working with the other person to get the deal done many times you’ll face new challenges along the way.

Maybe you want a new vendor to provide training on the software they are selling you but they say it’s going to cost an additional $20,000 to provide this service. If you don’t have the additional $20,000 in the budget to spend on the software but you feel the training is critical, how are you going to solve that problem?

From what I’ve seen, most vendors aren’t willing to provide additional services without getting paid for them. This is where problem-solving skills will help continue the discussions. You might suggest to the vendor that your company will also be looking to replace their financial software next year, and you’d be happy to ensure they get one of the first seats at the table when the time comes if they could perhaps lower the pricing on their training.

There’s a solution to most challenges, but it takes problem-solving skills to work through them effectively.

6. Decision-Making Ability

Finally, having strong decision-making ability will help you seal the deal when you get to a place where everyone feels like they are getting what works for them. Each step of the way you can cross off the list when you get what you are looking for and decide to move onto the next item. Then, once you have all of your must-have boxes checked and the other side feels good about things, it’s time to shake hands and sign on the dotted line. Powerful decision-making ability will help you get to the finish line together.

Conclusion

There you have it, 6 effective negotiation skills to master to lead a more fulfilling life. Once we realize that we negotiate in one form or another almost every day in every phase of our lives, we realize how critical a skill it is.

Possessing strong negotiation skills will help you in nearly every one of your relationships at both the workplace and in your personal life. If you feel your arbitration tools could use some sharpening, try some of the 6 effective negotiation skills to master that we’ve talked about.

More Tips to Improve Your Negotiation Skills

Featured photo credit: Windows via unsplash.com

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