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20 Keys To Have An Incredibly Happy Relationship In Today’s World

20 Keys To Have An Incredibly Happy Relationship In Today’s World

How many times have you heard your grandparents throw out the phrase, “When I was your age…” When they inevitably complain about the price of movie tickets, you realize that there is much more that has changed in the world. Ticket prices does not even scratch the surface.

The current generation is experiencing a turbo-charged, technologically advanced world like none other. The world is literally at our fingertips. Social media has made geographical spaces nonexistent. Yet with all the development and the ability to be more connected than ever, the National Health Statistics Reports show that the number of failed relationships has barely changed over the past couple of decades. So if our world is providing us with the best resources to have the happiest lifestyle, why are our relationships not reflective of these improvements? The way we interact in our relationships has fallen behind the times and needs to catch up!

Here are 20 ways to have an incredibly happy relationship in today’s world.

1. Boast About Love.

Not only can you let that special person know how much you love them, but you can also tell the whole world. Nothing is sweeter than seeing a public declaration of love — everyone loves seeing a romantic proposal video go viral online. Don’t be shy, the world needs to see more love.

2. Daily “Us” Time.

In the hustle and bustle of the daily rat-race, your relationship can easily become lost in the crowd. Make your relationship a priority by carving out daily time for one another. It may just be a phone call, but do not let the relationship get strangled by all the busy-ness.

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3. Keep The Change.

The ancient Greek saying, you never step into the same river twice, still rings true today. Change is inevitable. In fact, you can bank on change being the one thing that never changes. The person you fell head over heels with that first day will grow and evolve. And so will you. Understanding that, and growing together, is the key.

4. Stop The Social Stalking.

Let’s be honest: this is unfortunately as prevalent as the midnight chocolate binge but far more damaging to your happy relationship — stalking your ex on social media. It is an awful habit that does nothing but undermine the strength of your relationship. To avoid constantly sticking your hand in the cookie jar, get rid of the cookie jar altogether. If you truly value the current relationship you are in, delete the temptations to be a creepy stalker and play any comparison game.

5. Be Vulnerable.

The alpha personality that dominates today’s culture and leaves no room for vulnerability may be effective for the corporate world, but it is detrimental for relationships. Do not let your work attitude seep into your personal relationship. Be vulnerable and share your feelings and emotions with one another. Build that trust.

6. Space Out.

Step out of each other’s pockets and give yourself some alone time. If you have to go a day without seeing one another, then let that happen. It is ok to disconnect from being so connected. Give each other the space you need. But also be sure to tell one another that you need that time- ignoring will just make things worse.

7. Exclusivity.

The monogamy vs. polygamy debate can get heated. However, an extensive online search of relationship studies and journal articles will reveal the statistics favor monogamous relationships. A Clark University poll of over 1000 18-29 year olds found that 86% desired to have a marriage that “will last a lifetime.” The search for that one soul-mate still rules and is shown to equal a happy relationship. The is no greater scar than that caused by infidelity and cheating. Do not even entertain the thought. Make the clear verbal commitment to one another: regardless of how the relationship unfolds, you will commit to being exclusive to one another.

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8. Forgive.

Nobody is perfect. We live in a constantly improving world, but not a perfect world. Prince Charming and Cinderella are merely figments of idealistic imagination. But even if they were real, they would still need to forgive one another. By all means, express that you have been hurt, but be quick to tell one another that you accept their apology. Kiss and make up.

9. Back To Reality.

As entertaining as many of today’s romantic movies can be, they can also be very damaging in the message or picture they convey about the ‘ideal’ relationship. On one end you have tear-jerking providential perfection of A Walk To Remember, on the other end the catastrophic one-nighter portrayals from Wedding Crashers. Perfection on one end, pollution on the other. Be careful not to find yourself with lofty fairytale expectations, nor become miserable with idea that no relationships work.

10. Just Listen.

With so much information available today to solve any problem, it is easy to jump in and feel as though you need to always be a problem solver. Your partner may just need to vent and you just need to simply listen. As helpful as all the “How-To” guides are, God gave you two ears and only one mouth for a reason.

11. Get Old-school.

Remember the last time you received a hand-written letter in the mail? Probably never. But those that have will recall it being pretty special. With almost all communication being digital, be a little different and write your loved one a hand-written letter. You could even go out and get something called a stamp and mail it to it!

12. Fight.

As paradoxical as it sounds, there are healthy elements in disagreeing and working toward a resolution. Even fairytales involve conflict. You may have heard the saying, “couples that fight together, stay together.” Arguing is actually an effective form of communication, conflict identification and resolution. Of course there is a huge difference between constructive forms of arguing and destructive forms. If your fighting simply leads to nowhere, or it is sparked simply out of spite, then that is a different story.

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13. Cook Together.

There are so many options for restaurants to eat out today. You can get almost anything even delivered to your home. Great bonds and conversations happen over any meal. Greater bonds and conversations will happen as you get to cook together.

14. Use Technology.

Take advantage of technology. If you are traveling it doesn’t mean you have to neglect the time that you would spend physically with one another. Have yourself a virtual date. Have fun and even get dressed up!

15. Enough’s Enough.

One of the dark sides of technology’s constant connection, is the difficulty in cutting off relationships that really need to be cut off. However, technology does help in allowing you to block the person from social media. Just be aware of how easy it is to be connected, and STAY connected. The earlier you can cut off a bad relationship, the better.

16. Spontaneity.

We live in a world filled with options. With so many choices for activities and attractions, why not be spontaneous and do something random and new? Have a date night at the theatre, look for a cheap flight and motel and go away for the weekend.

17. Public vs. Private.

People forget that when they post something online, it become very public and is almost impossible to take back. If you have something you are not sure about saying that relates to your partner, do not go and post anything on a social media site for the world to see.

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18. Get Physical.

As opposed to always being virtual. With the ability to have video chat, video messages, text messages and phone calls, do not neglect the most import form of communicating: face to face and in person. Be careful not to let technology actually distract you from seeing each other physically.

19. Send A Gift.

With a click of a button you could have a dozen red roses sent to the other side of the world. Why not go ahead and put the biggest smile on your partner’s face and send them a box of chocolate, some roses and a romantic note?

20. Learn Something Together.

You can learn pretty much anything on Youtube. Pick something that the two of you are interested in and learn it together. It could be a musical instrument, a language or a sport. Encouraging one another is a sure way to build a strong and happy relationship.

If you have found that your relationship has become a little dusty, outdated and bland, go ahead and give it an incredible happiness boost with these 20 different ways!

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Thai Nguyen

Thai's a Mindfulness-Meditation Coach, a 5-Star Chef and an International Kickboxer.

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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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