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15 Things Happy Couples Do Differently

15 Things Happy Couples Do Differently

Not all relationships are created equally. If you’d like to spice up your relationship with a dose of fun, consider the following 15 things happy couples do differently.

1. They care about each other’s day.

It is easy to get so caught up in our own lives that we forget all about our partners’. Before going off on a rant about what a stupid jerk your boss is, give your partner a hug or kiss and ask, “How was your day?”

2. They embrace trust and avoid jealousy.

Our schools and workplaces aren’t segregated by gender, so how could we expect a person to not have friends of the opposite gender? Recall the tried-and-true statement innocent until proven guilty. If you accuse your partner of cheating without cause, what incentive do they have to be faithful when they feel like you don’t trust them no matter what? 

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3. They find common ground.

That initial spark is a glorious thing but there’s no denying that it can be fleeting. To keep your relationship interesting, find common hobbies and interests to pursue. If you don’t have much in common, explore something that is new to both of you.

4. They compromise.

We can’t have everything we want. If your boyfriend took you to a romantic movie he wasn’t that into, snuggle up with him during Game Night to return the favor.

5. They listen.

Do you really listen to your partner or are you just waiting for your turn to speak? Let them finish their thoughts and paraphrase them to make sure you understand by saying something like, “If I’m hearing you right, you feel like ______. Is that right?”

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6. They deal with confrontation.

Fights are no fun but there is no point in delaying the inevitable. Putting off a confrontation will merely extend the duration (and unpleasantness) of an argument. If you did something wrong, damage control is best performed as fast as possible, so admit your wrong and explain yourself ASAP.

7. They help each other grow.

One of the most hurtful things in the world? When a person you love takes no interest in your personal hopes and dreams. If your partner is exploring an exciting job opportunity, support them. If your partner is training hard to become super fit, cheer them on. Be excited for your partner’s achievements as if they are your own.

8. They don’t hold grudges.

We are all human, and we all make mistakes. A bad day at work, nasty illness, or personal stress could make any of us say hurtful things we don’t really mean. As Marilyn Monroe said, “…if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.”

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9. They express love.

“I love you” is a powerful expression that needs to be said daily. No matter how long you have been together, those three words will make your partner smile.

10. They compliment each other.

When is the last time you told your wife how sexy she looks in that red dress? Have you told your husband that he looks like a real stud in that super fine suit lately? Without the occasional compliment, it’s easy to feel unattractive and under-appreciated.

11. They flirt.

Flirting isn’t reserved for high-school teenagers or the early stage of your relationship: it should be a regular occurrence. When you have kids, sex might not be a regular event, but remember that everything is better when you have to wait for it. You could send a text detailing the things you plan to do to them this weekend or simply exclaim how hot they look today.

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12. They have inside jokes.

There should be things about your relationship that no one else “gets.” A sweet pet-name that everyone else thinks is icky. A ridiculous joke that no one else thinks is funny. An embarrassing story about a date-gone-wrong in your relationship’s early days. You get the idea.

13. They make time for each other.

No matter how busy you are, remember that your relationship is a priority. Just like a plant will rot without water, your relationship will grow stagnate without time together.

14. They value alone time.

This might sound strange since I just told you to make time for each other, but there can always be too much of a good thing. You should never be dependent on your partner for your happiness. Time alone will allow you to explore your own unique passions. A girls’ or guys’ night-out will give you a much-needed break from home life. The best way to grow sick of a person is to spend every waking moment with them. Maintain a little independence and your relationship will be stronger for it.

15. They do new things together.

A person can only do the same thing so many times before they get bored with it. If you go on the same date over and over again, you are setting yourself up for a moldy relationship devoid of fun. Go to a different restaurant that offers a delicious cuisine new to your taste-buds. Avoid the temptation to go to the same town or beach every year for vacation. It is a big world out there full of places to go and things to do. Life should be an exciting adventure, not a choreographed routine.

If you have any additional thoughts on things happy couples should do, please drop them in the comments!

More by this author

Daniel Wallen

Daniel is a writer who focuses on blogging about happiness and motivation at Lifehack.

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Published on September 23, 2020

6 Effective Negotiation Skills to Master

6 Effective Negotiation Skills to Master

I don’t know about you, but many times when I hear the word negotiate I think of lawyers working out a business deal or having to do battle with a car salesman to try to get a lower price. Since I am in recruiting, the term “negotiation” comes up when someone is attempting to get a higher compensation package.

If we think about it, we tend to negotiate almost every day in a wide variety of things we do. Getting a handle on the important negotiation skills can be incredibly beneficial in many parts of our lives. Let’s take a look at 6 effective negotiation skills to master.

What is Negotiation?

First, let’s take a look at what negotiation is. Put simply, negotiation is a method by which people settle their differences. It is a process in which compromise or agreement can be reached without argument or dispute.

Anytime two people or sides disagree on something, they are almost always looking for the best possible outcome for their side. This could be from an individual’s perspective or someone representing an organization.

In reality, it’s rare that one side gets everything they want and the other side gets nothing that they are seeking. Seeking to reach a common ground of sorts where both sides feel like they are getting most of what they want is the key to being successful and maintaining the relationship.

Places We Negotiate

I’ve mentioned that we negotiate in just about all phases of our life. For those of you who are shaking your head no, I invite you to think about the following:

1. Work/Business

This one is the most obvious and it’s what naturally comes to mind when we think of the word “negotiate”.

When you first started at your current job, you might have asked for a higher salary. It could be that you delivered a huge new client to your company and used this as leverage in your most recent evaluation for more compensation. If you work with vendors (and just about every company does), maybe you worked them to a lower price or better contract terms.

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In recruiting, I negotiate with candidates and hiring managers all the time to land the best talent I can find. It’s very common to accept additional work with the (sometimes spoken, sometimes unspoken) agreement that it will benefit your career in the future.

Recently, I took over a project that was my boss was working on so that I would be able to attend a conference later in the year. And so it goes, we do this all day long at work.

2. Personal

I don’t know about you, but I negotiate with my spouse all the time. I’ll cook dinner with the understanding that she does the dishes. Who wants to mow the lawn and who wants to vacuum and dust the house?

I think we should save 10% for retirement, but she thinks 5% is plenty. Therefore, we save 8%. And don’t even get me started with my kids. My older daughter can borrow my car as soon as she finishes her chores. My younger daughter can go hang out with her friends when her homework is done.

Then, there are all those interactions in our personal lives outside our homes. The carpenter wants to charge me $12,000 to build a new deck. I think $10,000 is plenty so we agree on $11,000. I ask my neighbor if I can borrow his snowblower in the winter if I invite him over the next time I grill steak. And so on.

3. Ourselves

You didn’t expect this one, did you? We negotiate with ourselves all day long.

I’ll make sure I don’t skip my workout tomorrow since I’m going to have that extra piece of pizza. My spouse has been quiet the last few days, is it worth me asking her about, or should I leave it alone? I think the car place charged me for some repairs that weren’t needed, should I say something or just let it go? I know my friend has been having some personal challenges, should I check in with him? We’ve been friends for a long time, I’m sure he’d come to me if he needed help. I’ve got the #4 pick in this year’s Fantasy Football draft, should I choose a running back or a wide receiver?

Think about that non-stop voice inside your head. It always seems to be chattering away about something and many times, it’s us negotiating with ourselves. I’ll finish up that report that the boss needs before I turn on the football game.

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Why Negotiation Skills Are So Important

Put simply, negotiation skills are important because we all interact with other people, and not only other people but other organizations and groups of people as well.

We all rarely want the same thing or outcome. Most of the time a vendor is looking at getting you to pay a higher price for something than you want to spend. Therefore, it’s important to negotiate to some middle ground that works well for both sides.

My wife and I disagree on how much to save for retirement. If we weren’t married it wouldn’t be an issue. We’d each contribute how much we wanted to on our retirement funds. We choose to be married, so we have to come to some agreement that we both feel comfortable with. We have to compromise. Therefore, we have to negotiate.

If we each lived on a planet by ourselves, we would be free to do just about anything we wanted to. We wouldn’t have to compromise with anyone because we wouldn’t interact with anyone. We would make every choice unilaterally the way we wanted to.

As we all know, this isn’t how things are. We are constantly interacting with other people and organizations, each one with their own agenda’s, viewpoints, and opinions. Therefore, we have to be able to work together.

6 Negotiation Skills to Master

Having strong negotiation skills helps us create win-win situations with others, allowing us to get most of what we want in conjunction with others around us.

Now, let’s look at 6 effective negotiation skills to master.

1. Preparation

Preparation is a key place to start with when getting ready to negotiate. Being prepared means having a clear vision of what you want and how you’d go about achieving it. It means knowing what the end goal looks like and also what you are willing to give to get it.

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It also means knowing who you are negotiating with and what areas they might be willing to compromise on. You should also know what your “bottom line” is. By “bottom line” I mean what is the most you are willing to give up to get what you want.

For instance, several years ago, I decided it was time to get a newer car. I say newer because I wanted a “new to me” car, not a brand new car. I did my research and figured out what type of car I wanted. I decided on what must-have items on the car I wanted, the highest amount of miles that would already be on it, the colors I was willing to get it in, and the highest amount of money I was willing to pay.

After visiting numerous car dealerships I was able to negotiate buying a car. I knew what I was willing to give up (amount of money) and what I was willing to accept, things like the color, amount of miles, etc. I came prepared. This is critical.

2. Clear Communication

The next key skill you need to be an effective negotiator is clear communication. You have to be able to clearly articulate what you want to the other party. This means both clear verbal and written communication.

If you can’t clearly tell the other person what you want, how do you expect to get it? Have you ever worked through something with a vendor or someone else only to learn of a surprise right at the end that wasn’t talked about before? This is not what you would call clear communication. It’s essential to be able to share a coherent and logical vision with the person you are working with.

3. Active Listening

Let’s do a quick review of active listening. This is when you are completely focused on the speaker, understand their message, comprehend the information, and respond appropriately. This is a necessary ingredient to be able to negotiate successfully. You must be able to fully focus on the other person’s wants to completely understand them.

If you aren’t giving them your full attention, you may miss some major points or details. This leads to frustration down the road on both sides. Ensure you are employing your active listening skills when in arbitration mode.

4. Teamwork and Collaboration

To be able to get to a place of common ground and a win-win scenario, you have to have a sense of teamwork and collaboration.

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If you are only thinking about yourself and what you want without giving much care to what the other person is wanting, you are bound to wind up without a solution. The other person may get frustrated and give up if they see you are unwilling to meet them halfway or care little for what they want.

When you collaborate, you are working together to help each other get what is most important to you. The other upside to negotiating with a sense of teamwork and collaboration is that it helps create a sense of trust, which, in turn, helps provide positive energy for working to a successful conclusion.

5. Problem Solving

Problem-solving is another key negotiation skill. When you are working with the other person to get the deal done many times you’ll face new challenges along the way.

Maybe you want a new vendor to provide training on the software they are selling you but they say it’s going to cost an additional $20,000 to provide this service. If you don’t have the additional $20,000 in the budget to spend on the software but you feel the training is critical, how are you going to solve that problem?

From what I’ve seen, most vendors aren’t willing to provide additional services without getting paid for them. This is where problem-solving skills will help continue the discussions. You might suggest to the vendor that your company will also be looking to replace their financial software next year, and you’d be happy to ensure they get one of the first seats at the table when the time comes if they could perhaps lower the pricing on their training.

There’s a solution to most challenges, but it takes problem-solving skills to work through them effectively.

6. Decision-Making Ability

Finally, having strong decision-making ability will help you seal the deal when you get to a place where everyone feels like they are getting what works for them. Each step of the way you can cross off the list when you get what you are looking for and decide to move onto the next item. Then, once you have all of your must-have boxes checked and the other side feels good about things, it’s time to shake hands and sign on the dotted line. Powerful decision-making ability will help you get to the finish line together.

Conclusion

There you have it, 6 effective negotiation skills to master to lead a more fulfilling life. Once we realize that we negotiate in one form or another almost every day in every phase of our lives, we realize how critical a skill it is.

Possessing strong negotiation skills will help you in nearly every one of your relationships at both the workplace and in your personal life. If you feel your arbitration tools could use some sharpening, try some of the 6 effective negotiation skills to master that we’ve talked about.

More Tips to Improve Your Negotiation Skills

Featured photo credit: Windows via unsplash.com

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