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15 Signs You’re In The Right Relationship

15 Signs You’re In The Right Relationship

Relationships are tricky things. Sometimes they are difficult to navigate. Sometimes you’ve been in one too long to realize it’s not right. Sometimes you get so comfortable with unhappiness that you forget what happiness looks like, or don’t feel like you can do better.

But when you’re in the right relationship, everything is different. The sun shines brighter, your smiles are bigger, and even doing mundane chores becomes more enjoyable. It’s good to have clear signs that you’re in the right relationship, and it’s also good to have tasks that you can work on to improve your relationship. Either way, read on for 15 telltale signs it’s the real deal.

1. You spend time together doing things you both enjoy.

It’s great to do what he likes. It’s great to do what she likes. But what’s even better is to find things you both like, and to do them together. It took us nearly four years of marriage to really find things that we both like, but we’re starting to hit a great stride with things like working out together, mountain biking, playing paintball (yep, she loved it!), and even writing together.

2. You spend time apart, doing things you enjoy.

When you’re in the right relationship, your partner understands that there are things you want to do alone. Maybe he’s a gamer, maybe she loves Pinterest. We all need time to do our own things, and the right relationship is one in which both partners understand and appreciate that about each other.

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3. You fight productively.

When you’re in the right relationship, fighting is never about winning. It’s not even about getting your point across (though sometimes it takes that ugly turn). A productive fight is about understanding the other person, finding common ground, compromising, and respecting each other throughout the process. If you end a fight feeling like you’ve won, you’re doing it wrong.

4. You each have your own friends and share friends too.

Some of my friends are in relationships where they only have couple friends. Others only have their own sets of friends. When you’re in the right relationship, you find balance between your social circle, your partner’s, and your shared circle. Missing any of those three elements may be a sign of concern.

5. You maintain self-identity.

You celebrate being you. Your partner does the same. And you appreciate each other more for maintaining your self-identity. In the right relationship both partners are nurtured to continuously improve and develop their “self.”

6. Your friends and family like you together.

One of the easiest ways to know if you’re in the right relationship is to pay attention to the feedback you get from friends and family. Assuming your friends and family want what is best for you, a lot of negative feedback is a bad sign. That doesn’t mean everyone will be enthusiastic about your relationship, but the overall sense you get should be positive.

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7. You are able to disagree respectfully.

Some things you wont agree on. It happens. The right relationship isn’t about everything being perfect, but about partners maintaining a high level of respect when things don’t go perfectly. You can disagree. My wife and I disagree often. But what separates our disagreements from others I’ve seen is that we do it respectfully. There are no hurt feelings, no efforts to change the other person’s mind at all costs, nothing like that. We don’t need to agree on everything. And that’s an important realization, because we definitely don’t.

8. You better your partner, and they better you.

My wife makes me better. Her academic pursuits inspired me to further my own. Her writing inspires me to write. My love for running inspired her to start. It’s a back and forth of improving one’s self through the inspiration of the other. We make each other better, and that’s a sure sign that we’re in the right relationship.

9. You share a passion for your future together.

Ever met the guy who just isn’t interested in “settling down”? If you’re dating that guy, you’re doing yourself a disservice. In the right relationship both partners are enthusiastic about a future together. And while not everything lasts forever, partners who share a vision for what their future entails are in a much better position than partners who don’t, or worse, don’t even discuss the topic.

10. You’re attracted to your partner, mind, body, and spirit.

Sure, you’re attracted to them. That attraction is probably the first thing that motivated the pursuit of a relationship. But are you attracted to his mind? Are you attracted to her spirit? Is he the kind of person you could have conversations with years from now when you’re both old and wrinkly? Is she the kind of person whose joy will shine through when her face shows her age? You’re in the right relationship when you’re just as excited about the late night conversations as you are about what happens between the sheets.

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11. You keep each other’s secrets.

Do you keep her secrets? Does she keep yours? Are you diligent about protecting your partner’s privacy? This is a small, but very important issue that signifies the level of respect and value you hold for your partner. You’re in the right relationship when you are impressed with how much your partner values protecting your secrets.

12. You make a good team.

Ever been in a kayak with your partner? That’s how I first realized my wife and I had some work to do with regards to being a good team. We couldn’t steer, we were super slow, and we complained a lot because we weren’t working together. We’ve since gotten much better. It’s a silly example, but there is value in it. If you and your partner are already making a good team, you’re in the right relationship.

13. You enjoy doing even mundane tasks together.

Grocery shopping is literally one of my favorite things to do with my wife. I take food seriously, and walking around in the grocery story planning our meals and trying new things is really fun. Even a day of errands and chores can be fun if you’re with the right person. Ask yourself this: Could you enjoy a day cleaning out the garage or attic with your partner? If the answer is yes, you’re in the right relationship.

14. You are compatible sexually.

This probably goes without saying, but I’m going to say it anyway! You aren’t always going to be on the same level. Sometimes you’ll want more, sometimes she will. Sometimes you’ll feel adventurous, sometimes he will. But, generally speaking, you should be compatible with your sexual interests and desires, in quality, quantity, style, and all other characteristics. If you’re a 3–4 times a week kind of person and your partner considers once a week a chore, you might need to reconsider the longevity of your relationship.

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15. You share financial goals.

Finances break up even the best of relationships. It’s a good start to share ideas about financial goals, how much income you require to be happy and not stressed, what you want to do about retirement and savings, etc. Strong couples even share budgets and create financial challenges for themselves. If you have your finances in order, you’re probably in the right relationship.

There are many other telltale signs, but these are a few to get you started. Look over the list and do a relationship audit. Does your relationship show signs of being the right one? Are there areas you can improve to get yourself there? Is it time to re-evaluate the relationship you’re in? While these signs may not be universal, they are very telling as to whether or not your relationship even has the legs. Do yourself a favor and really observe your relationship with a keen eye. You may be surprised to find he or she really is the one. Or you may save yourself wasted years and a lot of heartache.

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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

Reference

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