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15 Silly Habits That Seriously Harm Your Relationship

15 Silly Habits That Seriously Harm Your Relationship

Although some bad habits may seem minor, over time they can really add up and damage the relationship. Often, people underestimate how damaging these seemingly silly habits can be. If your guilty of any of these relationship habits, make changes to help nurture and grow your relationship instead of damaging it.

1. Nagging Too Much

Many studies have pointed to nagging as being the number one factor that makes men dissatisfied with their relationships. Don’t nag your partner. Remember that your partner doesn’t have to do things according to your timeline and nagging will only make the situation worse.

2. Not Taking Care of Yourself

You aren’t going to be a good partner unless you take care of yourself. The best partners are people who care for their emotional, physical, and spiritual health. Take care of yourself so you can give to your relationship.

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3. Taking Your Partner for Granted

The longer you’ve been together the easier it can be to take your partner for granted. Take time to appreciate your partner every day so that you don’t overlook how fortunate you are.

4. Half-Listening

It can be easy to nod your head or say you agree to something without ever really hearing what your partner said. Half-listening to what your partner is one of those relationship habits that can lead to a lot of problems. Work on your communication so you can truly listen to what your partner has to say.

5. Avoiding Discussions About Problems

Ignoring problems won’t make them disappear. In fact, many problems get worse when you don’t address them. Don’t avoid your relationship problems. Instead, be willing to tackle them in an adult manner.

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6. Not Being Assertive

Pretending to agree with your partner when you don’t isn’t healthy. It can lead to anger and resentment over time. Speak up and share your feelings in a respectful manner.

7. Testing Your Partner’s Loyalty

Don’t test your partner’s loyalty. It will likely backfire over time. Instead, focus on your own loyalty toward your partner.

8. Complaining About Your Partner

Don’t call your mother or your best friend to complain about your partner. If you are upset or don’t like your partner’s behavior, talk to your partner directly.

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9. Not Balancing Friend and Family Time

Spending time with friends and family is part of being a well-balanced person. However, if you spend too much time with others, you could neglect your relationship. Strive to find just the right balance and it will help keep your relationship fresh and exciting.

10. Using the Silent Treatment

The silent treatment is a passive-aggressive tactic that can harm your relationship. It is often about control and not about trying to calm down. Learn how to address your issues in a more productive manner.

11. Taking Teasing Too Far

Although a little teasing can lead to a good laugh, taking teasing too far can damage the relationship. Don’t embarrass your partner in front of others or continue to tease when your partner asks you to stop.

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12. Telling “White Lies”

One of the worst relationship habits is lying. Even those little white lies can seriously damage your relationship. Whether you aren’t honest about how much you spent on a shopping trip or where you went last, it can destroy the relationship.

13. Focusing on Your Happiness Only

Too often, people focus on what they’re gaining from the relationship rather than focusing on what they’re giving. Whether you’re happy or not, put effort into making your partner happy.

14. Keeping Score

Don’t keep score about who earned what or whose turn it is next. Instead, focus on working together as a team to do what’s best for the relationship.

15. Making a Scene in Public

Throwing a fit at a restaurant, yelling on the sidewalk, or exhibiting the silent treatment at a friend’s party can all be very damaging to the relationship. Avoid making a scene in public. Instead, keep your private business just between the two of you.

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Amy Morin

A psychotherapist, psychology instructor, keynote speaker, and the author of the bestselling book 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do

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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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