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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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

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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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