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13 Simple Relationship Truths You Need To Know

13 Simple Relationship Truths You Need To Know

We all seek relationship advice at one point or another. Whether we are entering a new relationship or trying to salvage an old one, it’s a safe bet that we basically have no idea what we’re doing. Love is not something that is planned, so most of the time, we just have to go along with it and figure things out for ourselves. Every relationship is different, and every problem calls for a different solution. That being said, there are a bunch of relationship truths that are universal.

1. Relationships aren’t simple.

They take work, time, and effort. They involve a heavy amount of compromise. You need to be like a doctor and have patience.

That was a joke. You also need to have a sense of humor.

2. There is no use “fixing” what isn’t broken.

Just because something isn’t simple doesn’t mean it’s not good. In order to succeed in life and in the business world, you must work hard and persevere. You aren’t going to quit your job just because you actually need to try. Similarly, you shouldn’t quit on a relationship just because it’s not all flowers and rainbows.

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Also, there is nothing wrong with being content. Allow yourself to be happy and don’t be afraid of being comfortable. If there isn’t a problem with the relationship, then don’t go looking for problems.

3. You have to love yourself before you can love another person.

How can you expect to genuinely love another person’s qualities if you have trouble accepting your own? Once you are confident in yourself, others will notice you more. When you accept yourself for who you are, you will be able to fully appreciate and understand the best qualities of other people.

4. You can’t love somebody if you like nobody.

Keep an open mind when meeting new people. Don’t shut everybody out right away. The world has so much to offer, and you’ll never experience any of it if you refuse to venture outside of your comfort zone. Feeling uncomfortable is good sometimes. Like love, people will surprise you.

5. There needs to be a balance of intimacy and space.

Show interest in your significant other’s hobbies and work, but don’t intrude. Also, invite him/her into your own world. Spend time together, but don’t make it seem like you always need to be together in order to be happy. Share information about yourself that you wouldn’t normally share: your stories, your aspirations, your fears. Make yourself vulnerable. Encourage your partner to do the same. Listen.

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Support your significant other and give honest feedback. Let your partner know that you might not be there during the climb but that you’ll be right behind, ready to catch him/her if he/she falls.

6. Communication is paramount.

Be on the same page as your partner, or at least be on the same chapter. I was in a relationship in which my girlfriend and I were in completely different books. As corny as it sounds, honesty actually is the best policy. Be honest with yourself and be honest with your partner.

7. Arguing is healthy.

You and your partner are not going to agree about everything, and that’s perfectly normal. The essence of healthy arguing is that you both know how to discuss these topics and understand each other’s opinions. Be mature and admit when you’re wrong, and accept the fact that not everybody shares your opinions.

8. People change.

This is something you cannot control. It is important to accept these types of things and worry instead about what you can control, which is the progress you make.

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9. Relationships are not projects.

People might change, but you shouldn’t go into a relationship wanting to change somebody. It never works out the way you plan, and it means that you don’t truly love your partner for who he/she is.

10. Once a cheater, always a cheater.

If he cheated on his ex-girlfriend with you, what makes you think he won’t cheat on you with somebody else? Sure, people change, but morals don’t just appear out of thin air. When you embark on a relationship with somebody, you should have an idea of what you are getting yourself into.

11. You shouldn’t “stay friends.”

This is a mistake many couples make when a relationship ends. Everybody knows what it means: one person doesn’t want to cut the other out of his/her life completely, and the other person is thinking: “Awesome. We’ll be friendly for a while and then be back together within a month.” This is usually a bad idea for everyone, and it often leads to hatred. A way to avoid this is communication.

12. Hate leaves bruises, but love leaves scars.

Feelings of hatred and scorn are usually temporary. However, the damage that love can do to a person is often much more permanent. Lost love becomes a part of us; a mark we wear every day that reminds us of our past and all of the lessons we have learned. On the flip side, that “damage” can be a positive type of permanent. My parents have been in a loving marriage for over thirty years, and they certainly have the scars to prove it.

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13. Relationships are like shoes.

Some look stylish on the outside, but only the person wearing them knows the pain they bear inside. Walking in a new pair is like being with a new person—unfamiliar at first, but as you break them in, you develop a sense of security. You reach that comfort zone in which you rarely need to untie the laces.

Some shoes, you outgrow. Some get worn out. Some cause you pain or leave you exposed. Some shoes you wear anywhere. Some shoes get dirty, and when you wear them, you can’t forget where they’ve been. Some shoes you hesitate to throw away. Some people wear shoes until they’re soulless.

Learn from these relationship truths

Of course, we all wish there was just one simple truth about relationships. Well, there isn’t one. Every relationship we participate in will teach us something new about ourselves, as well as other people. It is this experience that will ultimately lead us in the right direction—hopefully to someone who understands, accepts, and supports us.

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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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