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12 Behaviors that Destroy Relationships, and How to Fix Them

12 Behaviors that Destroy Relationships, and How to Fix Them

Relationships are destroyed when communication breaks down. Communication involves transmitting and receiving, so when you are being receptive to someone, send the other person signals that what they are saying and showing is being received. It’s even better if you can send them signals that their words are being valued. Remember that you communicate with more than just words: your actions and body language say a lot to the other person.

The behaviors listed below tend to poison relationships. Are you doing any of these?

1. No eye contact.

Eye contact is basic. If you don’t make eye contact with the person speaking, you aren’t giving them 100% of your attention. Be sure to hold their gaze as they speak.

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2. Frowning.

Look in the mirror: are the corners of your mouth turned down? For many people, what they believe is a neutral expression is actually a frown. A person on the receiving end of that frown will interpret it as though you are not happy with her. Interrupting. When you interrupt someone, you tell them, “What I have to say is more important than what you are saying.” If you think you know what people are going to say, don’t say it for them; just let them say it. If you want to offer a counterpoint to the discussion, bookmark it in your brain and offer it when there is a pause.

3. Drumming fingers or toes.

Drumming creates an audible interruption which tells the speaker that you want them to hurry up and that you are getting impatient with them. Keep your hands still and in a receptive position, such as with your palms facing upward and in your lap.

4. Crossed arms or hugging knees.

This says to the other person, “I need to protect my heart from you. I don’t trust you.” Instead, uncoil and relax.

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5. Rolling eyes.

When you do this, you tell the other person, “Here we go again with this foolishness”. Instead, soften your gaze and turn on your peripheral vision.

6. A rapid exhale.

This type of exhale sounds exasperated—yet another sign of impatience. Instead, keep your breathing slow and even.

7. Flicking a wrist.

If you are making a “shoo-fly” motion with your hand, you are dismissing the speaker like a pesky insect. Basically, you are telling them, “You annoy me. Go away.” If you need to retrain this habit, hold your hands.

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8. Showing them the palm.

“Talk to the hand” puts a physical wall between you and the speaker. If you do this, you are telling them, “Stop speaking. I’ve had enough of you.” Keep your arms at your sides as the other one speaks.

9. Reading or texting.

If you think you are doing this surreptitiously, you’re not. People can tell, and it’s offensive. The signals you are sending the other person are, “I would rather be doing this than listening to you. I merely tolerate what you say.” Instead, stop what you are doing and give the person your full attention.

10. Walking out of the room.

This is the epitome of dismissal. What you are saying is, “I don’t value what you are saying, and I would rather be somewhere else.” Instead, hold still and receive what the other is saying—however uncomfortable. The other thing you have to do can wait a little bit. If you must leave urgently, wait for a pause, and explain to the other why you must leave now.

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11. Saying, “Well, you do it” when someone give constructive criticism.

That doesn’t give the impression that you value their feedback. Rather, it sounds like you are justifying your behavior. Instead, thank them for their feedback and tell them that things will change in the future (or that you will weigh their comments carefully).

If you are doing any of these behaviors, you have an opportunity to receive more out of life.

As you practice the art of listening, observe your posture, your facial expressions, your breathing, and your movements.

Remember that everyone wants to feel valued, and one way to let them feel valued is to receive and acknowledge what they say. Give them the gift of being heard.

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Last Updated on January 18, 2019

7 Ways To Deal With Negative People

7 Ways To Deal With Negative People

Some people will have a rain cloud hanging over them, no matter what the weather is outside. Their negative attitude is toxic to your own moods, and you probably feel like there is little you can do about it.

But that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

If you want to effectively deal with negative people and be a champion of positivity, then your best route is to take definite action through some of the steps below.

1. Limit the time you spend with them.

First, let’s get this out of the way. You can be more positive than a cartoon sponge, but even your enthusiasm has a chance of being afflicted by the constant negativity of a friend.

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In fact, negativity has been proven to damage your health physically, making you vulnerable to high levels of stress and even cardiac disease. There’s no reason to get hurt because of someone else’s bad mood.

Though this may be a little tricky depending on your situation, working to spend slightly less time around negative people will keep your own spirits from slipping as well.

2. Speak up for yourself.

Don’t just absorb the comments that you are being bombarded with, especially if they are about you. It’s wise to be quick to listen and slow to speak, but being too quiet can give the person the impression that you are accepting what’s being said.

3. Don’t pretend that their behavior is “OK.”

This is an easy trap to fall into. Point out to the person that their constant negativity isn’t a good thing. We don’t want to do this because it’s far easier to let someone sit in their woes, and we’d rather just stay out of it.

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But if you want the best for this person, avoid giving the false impression that their negativity is normal.

4. Don’t make their problems your problems.

Though I consider empathy a gift, it can be a dangerous thing. When we hear the complaints of a friend or family member, we typically start to take on their burdens with them.

This is a bad habit to get into, especially if this is a person who is almost exclusively negative. These types of people are prone to embellishing and altering a story in order to gain sympathy.

Why else would they be sharing this with you?

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5. Change the subject.

When you suspect that a conversation is starting to take a turn for the negative, be a champion of positivity by changing the subject. Of course, you have to do this without ignoring what the other person said.

Acknowledge their comment, but move the conversation forward before the euphoric pleasure gained from complaining takes hold of either of you.

6. Talk about solutions, not problems.

Sometimes, changing the subject isn’t an option if you want to deal with negative people, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still be positive.

I know that when someone begins dumping complaints on me, I have a hard time knowing exactly what to say. The key is to measure your responses as solution-based.

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You can do this by asking questions like, “Well, how could this be resolved?” or, “How do you think they feel about it?”

Use discernment to find an appropriate response that will help your friend manage their perspectives.

7. Leave them behind.

Sadly, there are times when we have to move on without these friends, especially if you have exhausted your best efforts toward building a positive relationship.

If this person is a family member, you can still have a functioning relationship with them, of course, but you may still have to limit the influence they have over your wellbeing.

That being said, what are some steps you’ve taken to deal with negative people? Let us know in the comments.

You may also want to read: How to Stop the Negative Spin of Thoughts, Emotions and Actions.

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