Advertising
Advertising

10 Relationship Mistakes That Make Us Lose Sight of What’s Really Important

10 Relationship Mistakes That Make Us Lose Sight of What’s Really Important

Relationships are taxing. They are frustrating, annoying, time consuming, but also absolutely amazing. A healthy relationship is one in which you don’t keep score, you both meet halfway, money isn’t an issue, you both value and respect each other and of course, harbor lots of love for each other.

But if it’s not like that, you may want to stop and consider what’s wrong. These are some relationship mistakes we all make at some point or the other that we absolutely must stop at once and here’s why.

For the Supporting Actors: Stop Undervaluing Yourself

Seriously you’re a superstar. Remember that time you aced your presentation even though you barely had enough time to prepare for it? Or when you just live day in and day out happily even though society often burdens you with ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts’, ‘yes’ and ‘no’ and keeps trying to tell you how to live? Well, you are no less than a superstar.

Advertising

Believe it. Believe in your capacity and your credibility and your accomplishments. To believe in yourself, is to believe in your accomplishments and to believe that you deserve everything you get. Your relationship too, becomes happier as you are less riddled with insecurities and guilt and vulnerabilities and waste less time wondering what you might do wrong and end it or why you deserve it and instead lets you focus more on making your relationship the best it can be.

For the Co-dependent: Stop Outsourcing Your Happiness

Happiness is a strange and rare emotion. People find happiness in different places and different circumstances. Some find happiness in success, some find happiness in giving, some find happiness in contributing but very rarely do people find happiness by themselves. When we depend on others or other things to make us happy, our happiness gets conditional. And that is when something else, something we often have no power over, can make us sad. So stop outsourcing your happiness, especially to your partners. If your partner is the only thing in your life that makes you happy, their absence by itself would be enough to make you unhappy. Of course, you must be happy with your partner but your happiness must never stem from your partner.

For the Mind Readers: Stop Assuming

Men are silly. Women are silly. Many times words are misplaced, sentiments wounded and emotions hurt. It happens in all relationships. The best way to deal with it is to talk it out. A lot of emphasis is placed on communication because that’s the best way to sort things out! So don’t just give up or assume what your partner meant. If the relationship is worth it, one of you (preferably the one who shouted the loudest or who’s words were the meanest) swallow your ego and ask and talk and apologize (if need be). Work towards a better a relationship, not a petty one.

Advertising

For the Morphs: Stop Trying to Change Your Partner

To try to change someone is to indirectly tell them that they are not good enough. If you don’t think that individual is good enough for you, then don’t be in a relationship with them, however if you are in a relationship with them, accept them the way they are. Try to maintain a positive attitude about their habits that bother you and move along. We all have enough insecurities and vulnerabilities and to add to those, just because you want to see them act or behave a certain way is rather selfish. So, instead of trying to change your partner, focus more on adapting and accepting them with to their odd behaviors and weird quirks.

For the Cross Checkers: Stop Comparing Your Relationship

Every time you cross check and compare your relationship with someone else’s relationship, you’re bound to find something in another relationship that you like, that doesn’t exist in yours and then wonder why that is so. All relationships are a careful balance of uniqueness, love and the good and bad.  As far as someone else’s relationship is concerned  you more often than not you see only the ‘unique’ and then compare it to yours. Comparing you relationship to any others will not only tarnish what you have but it will also compel you to find reasons to be dissatisfied in your own.

For the Score Board Keepers: Those Who Keep Scores

It isn’t a game. A relationship doesn’t need scores to be kept. Who did what, when, how many times, these are things that each member in the relationship should be holding themselves accountable for and not keeping tabs on your partner. If you do catch yourself ‘counting’ ask yourself, is that, that insignificant task that would take you simply a minute to do, is more important than the love and support you harbor for each other?

Advertising

For the Competitors: Stop Competing With Your Partner

Competition is good as long as it’s not with each other, to compete with each other shows an attempt to outdo the other as you may not feel you’re good enough. Competing with each other in a relationship ruffles your ego urges you to out do the other in everything to ‘win’ and then subsequently you might end up resenting your partner for your need to constantly compete with them. Instead accept and know that you and your partner are equal in the relationship and feel comfortable in the idea that sometimes your partner will do better than you and sometimes you will. That you partner does well should make you proud of having a partner who is able and capable and not instill petty competition.

For the Dog Lovers: Stop Putting Your Partners Needs Before Yours

Self love is the best love. Love yourself before you love anyone else. As selfish as it may sound, loving yourself fully, completely, madly and in totality is the best way, if not the only way that you can love someone else. If you put someone else’s needs before yours you are likely to eventually burn out and get frustrated in the relationship as your needs then take a backseat. For when you love yourself, you take care of yourself, your needs, your happiness and then this  happiness is what you spread to the world and give to your relationship.

For the Mirrors: Giving Into Your Partner’s Idea Of You

Everyone is unique and just as you shouldn’t try to change them, don’t let your partner change you! You are the best version of you that there possibly could be and to try to change it would mean to live your life on someone else’s terms. That is not what a relationship is about. The change starts with little habitual observations and can blow into an entire attitude. You stick to your guns. If your partner respects you for it, you know you’ve found a keeper, if not, then, well, it’s your decision henceforth.

Advertising

For the Silence Decoders: Stop Taking Their Silence As An Indicator Of ‘Something Else’

Many times we are tired, or are having a bad week or just don’t want to talk. A lot of people tend to resort to silence even when they feel perfectly happy. They just don’t want to talk. If you feel your partner is like that, ask them about it, discuss it and then once you know, let them be. If they get silent don’t take that silence for something it’s not. Don’t over think it. A relationship goes both ways, your partner is bound to tell you if something is bothering them but if nothing is bothering them what will they tell you? Pestering them about it with constant questions, does nothing but annoy them. So don’t over think it, be patient and let them be.

Featured photo credit: Getty via i.huffpost.com

More by this author

The Unwritten (Now Written) Golden Rules of Friendship Top 7 Things Managers Look For What My Introverted Best Friend Taught Me 32 Things You Should Be Grateful For 13 Truths You May Not Know About Domestic Violence

Trending in Communication

1 What Are Interpersonal Skills? Master Them for Better Relationships 2 How To Stop Negative Thoughts from Killing Your Confidence 3 This 4-Year Old Girl’s Explanation On the Problem with New Year’s Resolutions Is Everything You Need 4 What You Really Need to Feel Secure in a Relationship 5 7 Signs You’re Ready to Change Your Life (And What to Do Next)

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on January 15, 2019

What Are Interpersonal Skills? Master Them for Better Relationships

What Are Interpersonal Skills? Master Them for Better Relationships

When I wrote my book Extraordinary PR, Ordinary Budget: A Strategy Guide, I was surprised at the various layers of review and editing necessary to get the book to publication. Before I ever submitted the manuscript, I enlisted a former colleague to read and copy edit my work. Then, I submitted my work to an editor at the publisher’s house, and once she approved it, she sent it to her colleagues and then her company’s editorial board.

Upon editorial board approval of my book, my editor sent my work to reviewers in my field, then a developmental editor, then a designer and layout team and, finally, another copy editor. There were a host of personalities with whom I needed to interact along the way.

It turns out that getting a publishing contract was just the beginning – a lot happens between developing a concept, writing the book, finding an agent and publisher, and getting the book on bookshelves or on Audible or Kindle. Through every milestone of the publishing process, my ability to interact with others was crucial. This underscored for me that no matter what or how much a person accomplishes, you never do it alone – everyone needs assistance from others.

While I conceived of the book and wrote the manuscript, there is no way my book could have hit booksellers’ shelves without the dozens of people who were involved in the publishing process. Further, interpersonal skills can propel or stonewall success.

Even as someone who has written hundreds of essays, press releases, pitch notes and other correspondence, writing itself is not a solitary endeavor. Sure, I may write in solitude, but the moment I am finished writing, there are always clients, colleagues, partners, peers and others who review my content.

What is more, even as a published author and contributor for this platform, I try to never submit final copy (content) that has not been copy edited. I send everything to my copy editor, whom I pay out of my own pocket, for her review, edits and approval. Once she has reviewed my work, caught unbeknownst-to-me errors, I am much more confident putting my work out in the world.

How Interpersonal Skills Affect Relationships

It is clearer to me now more than ever before that interpersonal skills are needed in every profession and every trade.

Advertising

People don’t elect leaders because the leaders are smart. Individuals are motivated to vote when they have a hero and when they feel they have something to lose. If they seriously dislike the other candidate, they are much more likely vote according to a 2000 Ohio State University study:

“A disliked candidate is seen as a threat, and that will be motivation to go to the polls. But a threat alone isn’t enough – people need to have a hero to vote for, too, in order to inspire them to turn out on Election Day.”

In a work setting, interpersonal skills impact every facet of your development and success. Trainers must collaborate with a design team or the company hiring them to facilitate the training. During the training itself, the facilitators must connect with the audience and establish a rapport that supports vulnerability and openness. If the trainers interact poorly with the trainees, they are unlikely to be invited back. If they are invited back, they may be unlikely to inspire cooperation or growth in their trainees.

Solopreneurs interactions with clients and subcontractors, and those interactions will, in part, support or adversely impact their business. If you enjoy a career as an acclaimed surgeon or respected lawyer, your interactions with patients, clients, health insurance agencies and a team of other practitioners – many of whom are shielded from public view – will improve or decimate your practice.

As a hiring manager, one of the things I consider when interviewing candidates is their interpersonal skills. I assess the interpersonal skills they display in their content and face-to-face presentation. I ask probing questions to learn how they interact with others, manage conflict and contribute to a team atmosphere.

When candidates say things like, “I prefer to work alone” or “I can hit the ground running without assistance,” I bristle. When candidates appear to know everything and everyone, I wonder if they will be receptive to learning or open to feedback. Could these statements be indications that these individuals lack interpersonal skills?

It stands to reason, then, that interpersonal skills are among the most valuable and the bedrock of all talents and skills.

Advertising

What are Interpersonal Skills?

Interpersonal skills range from emotional intelligence, empathy, oral and written communication to leadership to collaboration and teamwork.

In sum, interpersonal skills are skills that enable you to interact well with others. They include teachability and receptiveness to feedback, active or mindful listening, self-confidence and conflict resolution.

From a communications standpoint, interpersonal skills are about understanding how colleagues prefer to communicate and then using the appropriate mediums to meet respective needs. It is about understanding how to communicate in a way to get the most out of different people.

For instance, in my career as a public relations practitioner, part of what I am constantly evaluating is which colleagues, clients and members of the media prefer email, text or phone calls. I am assessing how much frill to use with each person depending on what has worked in the past and depending on what I know about the person with whom I am interacting.

Making these decisions and being disciplined enough to follow each person’s known preferences helps me better connect with the various individuals in my orbit. Is this tiring at times? Yes. Is it necessary? Absolutely.

How to Improve Interpersonal Skills

There are tons of resources to teach interpersonal skills. I love books such as Leadership Presence by Belle Linda Halpern and Kathy Lubar, and The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman.

There are also a host of books and articles on emotional intelligence, which is the ability to manage one’s emotions and perceive and adapt to others’ emotions. Emotional intelligence is likewise a critical component of positive interpersonal relations. You can learn more about it in this article: What Is Emotional Intelligence and Why It Is Important

Advertising

Active and mindful listening also support improved interpersonal skills. I recommend you take a look at this piece: Active Listening – A Skill That Everyone Should Master

I have further found that humility helps a ton with interpersonal skills. It takes humility to admit you have more to learn and that you can learn from the people around you. In fact, everyone with whom you interact has a lesson to teach you. And employers are increasingly looking for team members who are lifelong learners, meaning they believe there is always room for growth and professional and personal development.

Forbes contributor Kevin H. Johnson noted in a July 2018 article,

“That’s why, when anyone asks what the next ‘hot’ skill will be, I say it’s the same skill that will serve people today, tomorrow, and far into the future—the ability to learn.”

Don’t overlook introspection.

While interpersonal skills may seem simple enough, introspection is critical to learning where and in what ways you need to grow.

Through introspection and observation, I have learned that my interpersonal skills suffer when I am sleep deprived, because then I am short-tempered and irritable. I’ve observed this connection over a significant period in my life. Unsurprisingly, it is also true of others. Fellow LifeHack contributor, health coach and personal trainer Jamie Logie noted:

Advertising

When you are chronically sleep deprived, it really does a number on you. A lack of sleep can keep your body in a constant state of stress and over time this can get pretty ugly. Elevated stress hormones can be involved in creating a bunch of pretty nasty conditions including anxiety, headaches and dizziness, weight gain, depression, stroke, hypertension, digestive disorders, immune system dysfunction, irritability.

Additionally, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development reported,

“Sleep deprivation can noticeably affect people’s performance, including their ability to think clearly, react quickly, and form memories. Sleep deprivation also affects mood, leading to irritability; problems with relationships, especially for children and teenagers; and depression. Sleep deprivation can also increase anxiety.”

The point is, even as you are identifying ways to improve interpersonal skills, think about what is getting in the way. While sleep deprivation is a trigger for me, your stumbling block may be different.

The Bottom Line

You cannot fix what you do not know is broken. Even as you work to understand and apply interpersonal skills, spend some time in mindful meditation to get clear on what is holding you back from developing solid relationships.

Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

Read Next