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11 Common Mistakes In Relationships That You Can Avoid

11 Common Mistakes In Relationships That You Can Avoid

So you have gotten past the initial dating stage and are now in a “relationship.” This can be the best or worst part of your life depending on how you proceed. I am coming at this topic with a five year (and counting) relationship with many highs and lows. Learn from my mistakes and triumphs and do not fall into these common relationship mistakes.

1. Losing the romance in the relationship is one of the key reasons why relationships fail.

It is easy to become complacent and slack on making an effort for romance. The truth is, relationships are work. Not that you won’t have any fun along the way, but you need to remember it takes a focused effort to be romantic with your partner.

2. Trying to control our significant other.

Many of us either have control issues or things that the other person does that drive us crazy. Both of these scenarios can lead to us wanting to control or comment on every move the other person makes. Think about it though, would you like someone telling you what to do every waking minute? You are not this person’s parent. If he/she is a grown adult, treat them like one.

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3. Expecting perfection.

We are all human. We all make mistakes. Do not hold your significant other to some unrealistically high expectation. This is especially hard for those of us who hold unrealistically high expectations for ourselves, but that’s another topic altogether.

4. Avoiding confrontation.

Fighting is not the way most of us want to spend our time, so it can be tempting to just brush all of the problems under the rug. The flaw with that plan is that the problems collect and multiply. This will ultimately end up in an explosive argument, or a parting of ways with the other person baffled as to what went wrong. Communication is huge in any relationship and should not be avoided.

5. Fighting about everything.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, do not make everything an argument. Think about all of the problems you have with your partner and really consider whether these are deal breakers or if you can build a bridge and get over them.

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6. Trying to change the other person.

In relationships, we need to realize we are unique individuals. Often we are drawn to someone who is completely opposite to us and after a while we can be tempted to try to change them to be the same as us. Take a step back and remember why you fell in love with this person in the first place. My boyfriend is for the most part carefree and funny, but sometimes his jokes start to drive me nuts or I wish he was more organized. I have to remember that I love that he can make me laugh and that he has such a positive outlook on life.

7. Keeping secrets from your loved one.

This is something that goes along with keeping communication open—do not keep secrets. Not that you have to tell the other person every minute detail about your life, but you should not intentionally keep something major from them. You know it is a secret that needs to be shared when you feel even slightly guilty for not telling them. It will come out eventually and sooner is always better than later.

8. Not taking time for yourself and being too co-dependent.

If you spend every waking moment with your significant other, you will ultimately lose who you are as an individual. Things like going to the store on your own will be hard and you will find yourself consulting that person for every small decision you make. Take some time to do what you love. Have your own hobbies, interests and friends. You will both benefit from this and have a richer life as a result.

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9. Not taking differences in core values seriously.

Even though you like the same music and enjoy spending time with one another, you will still have a hard time getting past major differences. Core values include things like religion, morality, and the importance of things like family, friends, careers and money. Take some time to discuss these things before you move your relationship forward or you might be in for disappointment later.

10. Not talking about money.

Money is always a tricky subject. You might have come from different backgrounds. If one person grew up wanting for nothing and the other has always had to pinch pennies, there may be some disagreements over how money is spent. If you are in a serious relationship, even if you have separate money, be sure to discuss these things as money issues are guaranteed to come up eventually.

11. Forgetting to appreciate your partner.

Lastly, never forget to tell your significant other, “thank you” or “I love you.” At the beginning of the relationship you surely noticed all of the kind things that he/she was doing for you and praised him/her accordingly. You said you loved each other all of the time. Sometimes we forget how awesome the other person is until we think about it. Tell your significant other right now how you feel about them!

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Now that you have been warned about these common relationship mistakes, you have a much better chance of surviving as a couple!

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Amanda DeWitt

Writer. Photographer. Instagrammer. Future Educator.

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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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