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15 Things Serious Couples Understand

15 Things Serious Couples Understand

Before I met my wife, I had never been in a relationship which lasted more than a few months. The thought of being with the same person for a long period of time somewhat frightened me, but as I write this, I can’t remember why. That’s because the past six years have been filled with the most amazing love I could have possibly asked for. I won’t go on and on about what a fairy tale I’m living, but in all honesty, because we follow the points in this article, my marriage is as close to a fairy tale as can be.

1. Living separate lives, together

When you first enter a relationship, all you want to do is be with that person. Nothing else matters; friends, school, and work all take a backseat to your new-found love. Not only that, but either side of the relationship might feel slighted if an offer for a date is rain-checked for a night. As you grow together, you realize that it’s important not to get too attached and let other aspects of life pass you by, and to let the other person have the same freedom that they allow you.

2. Compromise is necessary

Once it’s been established that each person in a relationship accounts for two individual lives, it’s important for each to see the world from the other’s perspective. You can’t just have it your way 100% of the time; sometimes you have to do things you don’t exactly want to do. However, compromising can lead to whole new experiences you never would have had if it weren’t for your significant other. I wouldn’t be caught dead at a craft fair by myself, but going to one with my wife is another opportunity to create memories that will last a lifetime. The same goes for when I drag my wife to a Yankees game. By compromising, we introduce each other to a new world that we otherwise would never have known.

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3. Understanding is vital

Along with compromise must come understanding. It’s one thing to compromise and be okay with your partner spending the night out with friends, but it’s much more important to understand why they need that time. Understanding a person’s needs is just as important as letting them have their way at times. By doing so, not only are they fulfilled, but you also are comfortable in knowing their intentions.

4. Jealousy ceases to exist

The best relationships work under the knowledge that there is only one person out there for the other. This understanding is truly important in allowing each other to grow separately and individually. It means that one can spend time away without the other constantly wondering what they’re up to. There’s a huge difference between not being able to wait until the other is home so you know they aren’t messing around, and not being able to wait until they’re home because you want to hear all about their night.

5. Grudges must be dropped

In order to move forward in a relationship, you must let go of the past. There’s no point in forcing your partner to carry a burden because they made a mistake months ago; and if it’s something that continues to pull at you, the relationship is doomed anyway. Bringing up past arguments only serves to rehash negative feelings. Serious couples realize each party will make mistakes, and they will grow closer as they let each other’s faults slip away.

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6. Apologies and forgiveness work hand-in-hand

True apologies work in two stages: the act of saying sorry, and the act of changing your behavior. Forgiveness also works in two stages: the act of showing forgiveness, and the act of letting go. Like we discussed, holding a grudge is nothing but detrimental to a relationship. Of course, if a party doesn’t hold up their end of the apology, it needs to be revisited. But the point of apologizing is to improve as a person and as a couple. Even the best relationships require hard work.

7. Don’t sweat the small stuff

Just like letting go of grudges, serious couples don’t let petty annoyances get on their nerves. If you’re going to spend the rest of your life with someone, you can’t nitpick at the tiny things. And, like with grudges, if something small really pulls at you, the relationship isn’t meant to be. The mark of a true relationship is the fact that each of you knows everything about each other and looks past their insignificant negative factors to see the overall good person that they are.

8. Communication is key

Keeping feelings bottled up is a surefire way to ensure an explosion. Serious couples survive so long because they talk to each other. They lay their feelings out on the table and make it clear when something bothers them. Just like with apologies, an open line of communication serves to improve the relationship.

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9. Communication must be pure

A common problem in society today is people have trouble discussing the “tough stuff” in person. Text messages, emails, even phone calls can all exacerbate an issue if one party takes something the wrong way. The most loving couples know they can face each other head-on in order to solve their problems, no matter how uncomfortable it may be to do so.

10. Honesty is the best policy

We all have secrets, and everyone has baggage. But the best part about being in a serious relationship is that you can let these secrets out, since you have someone to help carry your load. And as far as being honest with your significant other, there’s no reason not to be. From a logical standpoint, why would you want to spend time with someone you can’t be yourself around? And from an emotional standpoint, loving someone means being able to bare everything to them, good and bad.

11. Cultural norms are meaningless

My wife and I were together for five years before we even lived together, let alone got engaged. While this was partly due to her being in school and other aspects of our lives, we simply never felt pressured to jump into something we weren’t ready for. In those five years, I can’t begin to tell you how many of our friends moved in with a partner, broke up, and had to move back home; or how many got engaged and broke it off; or how many had kids before they were ready. We’ve taken it slow, but it’s because we wanted to know we were ready for the next step. On the other hand, we did push our wedding up a year, because we were ready much sooner than we thought we’d be!

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12. Keeping it fresh

Everyone’s heard the saying “the honeymoon’s over,” which, to me, is a euphemism for “we’re in a rut already.” I don’t mean to be rude, or make it sound like my relationship is perfect, but that’s how that sounds to me. People in serious relationships never quite “get used” to each other; but that’s because each of them is always doing something to surprise the other. Something as simple as cooking a nice dinner, going out to eat on a Tuesday, or getting flowers “just because.” Making sure you never fall into a routine is how you ensure you never hit a snag.

13. Fidelity is never a question

Of course, serious relationships require fidelity. I guess this should go without saying. The running thread through this article is simply, if you have doubts about being with only one person, you’re not taking the relationship seriously. People in serious relationships can look at each other and know they couldn’t ask for anything more from this world besides the loving embrace of their soul mate.

14. Focusing on the future

Couples who plan together, stay together. They don”t just go about their day-to-day life, eventually reaching the points where they “should get married” or “should start a family.” They actively plan these momentous occasions. It’s part of the fun of being in a serious relationship: making commitments to take the next steps in life together.

15. Unconditional love thrives

We’ve touched on it in some of the other entries, but unconditional love transcends all else. True matches made in heaven are full of a love that is never-ending, through the good and the bad. There are no doubts, no hesitations, no hangups. You see past the other’s mistakes, and you love them with every fiber of your being, without question.

Featured photo credit: Pixabay via pixabay.com

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Last Updated on March 14, 2019

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.

For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.

Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.

1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?

A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.

It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.

It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.

How it helps you:

If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.

Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.

2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?

Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.

Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?

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How it helps you:

Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.

Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?

If so, then this may not be the right match for you.

Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.

3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?

Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!

Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.

How it helps you:

This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.

For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.

Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.

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A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.

4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?

To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.

A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.

How it helps you:

One word: hierarchy.

All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.

In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.

If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.

5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?

Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.

Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.

How it helps you:

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Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.

If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?

This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.

6. What do you like about working here?

This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.

Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?

How it helps you:

You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.

Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?

Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.

7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?

What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.

As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.

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How it helps you:

What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.

First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?

Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?

Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.

Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.

Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.

Making Your Interview Work for You

Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.

Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!

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Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

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