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15 Ways To Have the Best Relationship of Your Life

15 Ways To Have the Best Relationship of Your Life

We have all grown up watching movies where women are princesses, men are their knights in shining armor, and perfect couples ride off into the sunset and live happily ever after. But no one actually teaches us the things we need to do to have our “happily ever after.” So that’s where I come in. Here are 15 things you can do if you want to have the best relationship of your life.

1. Try to talk with your partner about how you impact each other.

No one is a mind reader. And some people aren’t very good at knowing how their behavior affects other people. So you need to tell each other. Not only the negative impacts, but the positive as well. If you want your partner to change something, gently ask without criticism. If you think your partner is awesome, tell them. Thank them. Keep the lines open.

2. When you get in a fight, try to see the situation as if you’re an outsider looking in.

Try to step outside yourself and view the conflict as an objective outsider. This de-personalizes it and helps you see your partner’s point of view. Most people have a “me vs. you” attitude when it comes to fighting. They view it as a battle against the enemy. This could not be more destructive! Instead, have a “we” or team mentality. You’re both in this relationship together, so you have to come up with solutions together. Stepping back and looking at it from an objective perspective helps tremendously.

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3. Invite your partner to build more closeness by practicing empathy daily.

Empathy is key to every relationship. This is the ability to see the other person’s point of view and show them that you value how they feel. You don’t have to agree with them, you just have to allow them to feel what they feel without making them wrong. One empathy “game” you can play is reflecting back each other’s words and feelings. This allows you to check your perceptions and helps you partner feel “heard.”

4. Tune into your emotions and see if you can each share what you need most.

It doesn’t help to repress your emotions. It might make your relationship seem peaceful, but it’s like trying to hold a beach ball under water forever. You can’t do it. Eventually, it’s going to come back up–and probably in an explosive manner. So both people need to keep their emotions in check and continuously share them with their partner. That way, nothing will be a surprise or get buried for a long time.

5. Be mindful of the fact that emotional damage can derail relationships.

It could be cheating. It could be ignoring your partner’s feelings. It could be withholding affection. Emotional damage can take any form. And they deliver brutal blows to relationships. So if there was an emotional injury that took place between the two of you, talk about it. Fix it. Don’t ignore it. That will only make it worse.

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6. Discuss your main relationship goals for the next year and see if you find ways to achieve them.

When we hear the term “goal,” we don’t usually think in terms of “relationship” goals. But just as you would have a career goal, you must have relationship goals together. Do you want to get married? Do you want to buy a house? Have kids? Move to the west coast? It’s helpful to have shared goals, but if you don’t, then each partner has to be respectful of the other person’s desires and at least try to find a mutually satisfying solution.

7. Cherish and honor your connection.

Don’t take your relationship for granted. It’s sacred, so treat it that way! Too many times we get too comfortable and stop trying to make our partner happy. This doesn’t work. Honor what you have. Cherish it. And above all, communicate to your partner that you value their presence in your life.

8. Create small rituals to recognize your bond.

It helps to have rituals that you do together. It could be committing to go on a date night every Saturday or celebrating your anniversary each year at the same restaurant where you met. Or maybe it’s going on a picnic once a month. Anything that tells each other that you are committed to honoring a ritual or routine will help maintain a healthy relationship.

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9. Do little things for each other.

Do the dishes. Rub her shoulders. Vacuum. Call just to say you love him. Bring home a single rose. These are simple things that don’t cost a dime (except for the rose!). These things are valued, especially by women. It shows attention and desire to help or nurture your partner.

10. Laugh. A lot. Don’t take things too seriously.

Who doesn’t like to laugh? I would guess pretty much everyone does. But as relationships get stressful, sometimes people forget to laugh. People start focusing on their partner’s negative behaviors and they get annoyed and resentful. Try not to take things so seriously. Try to look at everything your partner does (and in life) as amusing. This lightens the relationship. Couples that laugh together, stay together.

11. Grow your friendship with each other.

You are probably more forgiving of your friends than you are of your romantic partner. Why is this? Probably because you don’t put as many expectations on your friends. But a solid foundation as best friends is the best way to build a long-term relationship.

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12. Support each other’s hopes and dreams.

Maybe you want to open a restaurant. Or your partner wants to go back to school for a Ph.D. Whatever your dreams, you both need to be supportive of each other. Even if you don’t agree with the dream or think it’s silly, you still need to be encouraging. Being your partner’s rock and biggest fan is essential to a healthy relationship.

13. Put your partner’s needs equal to or before your own.

You may not want to admit it, but there may be times when you are a little selfish. And that’s fine. As long as you aren’t selfish all of the time. If you only worry about your needs and you ignore your partner’s, then they will eventually grow resentful. People need to know that their partner loves them enough to put them first‒at least sometimes.

14. Give the relationship attention.

When I teach about relationships, I always use the metaphor of a plant. Plants can be beautiful, but they need to be watered every day. They need attention. And so do relationships. If you don’t “feed” your relationship, it will die. It needs nourishment just as much as a plant. You can’t ignore it and put in minimal effort and expect it to flourish. It takes constant attention.

15. Don’t expect perfection.

We all want to ride off into the sunset with that perfect prince or princess. But we all know that perfection is a myth. No one is perfect. So instead of looking at your partner’s faults and focusing on what they should change, accept them as they are. Focus on the good. Feed the good stuff. And then you will reach a place of calm acceptance and have a peaceful relationship.

More by this author

Carol Morgan

Dr. Carol Morgan is the owner of HerSideHisSide.com, a communication professor, dating & relationship coach, TV personality, speaker, and author.

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Last Updated on January 24, 2021

How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

Do you say yes so often that you no longer feel that your own needs are being met? Are you wondering how to say no to people?

For years, I was a serial people pleaser[1]. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time, especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

It took a long while, but I learned the art of saying no. Saying no meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. When that happened, I became a lot happier.

And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

The Importance of Saying No

When you learn the art of saying no, you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey, considered one of the most successful women in the world, confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything.

Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

Warren Buffett views “no” as essential to his success. He said:

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

When I made “no” a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success, focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say no.

From an early age, we are conditioned to say yes. We said yes probably hundreds of times in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work, to get a promotion, to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

We say yes because we feel good when we help someone, because it can seem like the right thing to do, because we think that is key to success, and because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist.

And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves.

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At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we are feeling bad that we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

The message, no matter where we turn, is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

How Do You Say No Without Feeling Guilty?

Deciding to add the word “no” to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say no, but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of no that you could finally create more time for things you care about.

But let’s be honest, using the word “no” doesn’t come easily for many people.

3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time, especially you haven’t done it much in the past, will feel awkward. Your comfort zone is “yes,” so it’s time to challenge that and step outside that.

If you need help getting out of your comfort zone, check out this article.

2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

When you want to learn how to say no, remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it: who else knows about all of the demands in your life? No one.

Only you are at the center of all of these requests. You are the only one that understands what time you really have.

3. Saying No Means Saying Yes to Something That Matters

When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else that we may care more about. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

6 Ways to Start Saying No

Incorporating that little word “no” into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

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1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

One of the biggest challenges to saying no is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no will reflect poorly on you?

Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because of FOMO, even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better[2].

3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say No

Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say yes because we worry about how others will respond or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose their respect. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

Keep in mind that saying no can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way.

You might disappoint someone initially, but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to. And it will often help others have more respect for you and your boundaries, not less.

4. When the Request Comes in, Sit on It

Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say no. There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

5. Communicate Your “No” with Transparency and Kindness

When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest[3] to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

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How do you say no? 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

    Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

    Clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

    6. Consider How to Use a Modified No

    If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” as this will give you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

    Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task, but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

    Final Thoughts

    Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

    Use the request as a way to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself.

    Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project, but not by working all weekend. You’ll find yourself much happier.

    More Tips on How to Say No

    Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Science of People: 11 Expert Tips to Stop Being a People Pleaser and Start Doing You
    [2] Anxiety and Depression Association of America: Tips to Get Over Your FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out
    [3] Cooks Hill Counseling: 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

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