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23 Things People Who Are Great At Relationships Do Differently

23 Things People Who Are Great At Relationships Do Differently

The perfect couple. You’ve seen them in the park walking hand-in-hand or sitting across from each other in a restaurant (having a conversation, not looking at their phones). They have that special look. There’s a peace in the space between them. You wonder how they do it. What makes their relationship special? What are they even talking about? How do they have so much to say to each other?

A good relationship is not easy. Not everyone can maintain one. Instead of giving into every emotional outburst and speaking every word that they think; solid relationships have the skills to stay glued together, no matter how hard life tugs at them, as it tries to pull them apart.

1. They don’t let their past define their present.

The traumas and dramas of years gone by serve no purpose now. Everyone has a story. Healthy partners leave their stories in the past. They remember the lessons learned then move forward to build a bright future together.

2. They are authentic.

Solid relationships are genuine. They don’t play mental games or act phony. They are free to be who they are with each other. What you see is what you get.

They are honest but know how to use good judgment. They know that every word does not have to be spoken. Often people confuse honesty with authenticity. Great relationships know how to be authentic and when to say the right words.

3. They try to inspire each other rather than change their partner.

Solid partnerships motivate and inspire each other to flourish and grow in the direction of their dreams. These relationships bring out the best in each other.

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4. They let themselves be vulnerable.

There’s an invisible zone between them; a safe space to be able to let their true feelings show. It’s a place where deep dark secrets can be revealed, without the fear of rejection or abandonment.

5. They give willingly.

They don’t see “giving in” as a sacrifice. They give and expect nothing in return. There are no scorecards in a great partnership. It’s not about the time I went to your parent’s house but you didn’t come with me to my friend’s dinner party. When they give, it is pure and only because they want to make their partner happy.

6. They don’t hold grudges.

What’s done is done. Problems are resolved and finished. Their love for each other and value for the relationship overrules any lingering discontent.

7. They allow their partner to be the expert in something.

Each person has his/her strengths and weaknesses. These relationships value the each other’s strengths and allow them to have their own area of expertise. If one person is great with managing finances, both people agree that person is the expert who manages the budget. The other partner knows this and is not insulted or walking away with a bruised ego.

8. They make each other laugh (even if the jokes are bad).

Not everyone has the same sense of humor: different jokes for different folks. But in a great relationship, there is a comical connection. You can make each other laugh and sometimes, even laugh at each other. Just seeing your partner laugh makes you laugh, whether you think it’s funny or not.

9. They can see the positive side to a negative annoying habit.

Every trait has a negative and positive side to it. Great relationships can flip to the positive side of an annoying behavior. When your partner gets on your nerves because he/she wants everything done immediately, asks a lot of questions, and wants every item in the fridge in its proper place, (believe it or not) the smart partner sees this as the trait that makes him/her the president of a successful company.

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10. They respect each other’s differences.

Great relationships don’t “agree to disagree.” They hear what their partner is saying, give it credibility, honor it as simply another point of view, and then discuss the pros and cons of each opinion. The words, “No, you’re wrong,” are never heard.

11. They don’t scream at each other or engage in nasty arguments.

Loud voices, cursing, and insults are never an option. They don’t put each other down or make of checklist of their partner’s negative qualities. Of course, there are angry moments (even in the best relationships), but great relationships never let anger turn into nastiness.

12. They sit down and talk things out and know when to talk.

When problems arise (as they certainly will), they need to be discussed. Great relationships know how to do talk it out during stressful times. A smart woman knows to never present an issue to a man with an empty stomach (and vice versa). It’s always best to know when the time is right to have a talk. They also know when to “pick their battles” knowing that every problem does not require a discussion.

13.  They know how to pause.

They know when to be quiet. There are times when it’s best to let things settle, when no answer is the best response. And when silence is healing. Great relationships know when it’s time to take a time-out and when it’s time to re-visit the situation.

14. They share life goals.

Even though they both may take a different route, they desire the same end result. Opposites do attract as long as they are opposites with shared life goals.

15. They have the same values, moral, and ethics.

Values are different than goals. Ethics, morals, and values are what you live by as you are striving towards your goals. Great relationships share the same basic values.

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16. They show up for one another.

There’s a deep (sometimes silent) connection. They can read each other’s mind. It may be as simple as a text that says, “Hi honey, I’m thinking about you. Are you ok?”  Or “Let’s shut the TV tonight and hang out together.” They know when they are needed and they make themselves available.

17. They don’t keep a relationship scorecard.

There’s no saying, “I went to your mother’s house, why can’t I go out with my friends.” It’s not measure for measure or tit for tat. They know that there are times when the give-and-take balances out and each person will feel they had their fair share.

18. They greet each other when they enter the house.

After a busy day, it’s easy to come home carrying a bag of stress along with your bag of groceries. It’s important to pay attention to each other. If you’re chatting on the phone with your friends, great partners say, “I want to hang up now. My honey just came home.” A little attention goes a long way.

19. They gently remind each other that “maybe you could have said that a little nicer.”

Sometimes it’s important to give a gentle reminder that harsh words were spoken. Not everything has to turn into a dramatic scene. Once in awhile, it’s ok to say, “Next time could you try to be a little nicer?”

 20. They make their relationship a priority.

Bottom line is, their relationship comes first. It comes before their friendships, family, and yes; even before their children. They make time for each other and time for their relationship.

 21. They know when to put their egos aside.

It’s easy to jump into a conflict and fight to be right. Good relationships don’t let that happen. They value the relationship over their ego.

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 22. They are in it for the long haul.

Fights don’t make them run home to their mothers. They have a solid commitment to maintaining a long relationship. A conflict or disagreement is not a marriage-breaker, it’s simply a difference of opinion that needs to be worked out.

 23. They bring out the best in each other.

Most important of all, in a fabulous relationship each person makes the other one an even better person. They balance each other as well as elevate each other. They feed off each other’s good character traits and grow from them.

Life changes people. There are tests, crises, and stages of growth that everyone goes through. Great relationships are on solid ground.

Even though times get tough and the waves rock their boat; great partnerships work to keep the ship afloat, steering the sails through the storms, together.

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

Do you say yes so often that you realize you aren’t really happy about this, wondering how to say no to people?

For years, I was a serial people pleaser. 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. I started to manage my time more around my own needs and interests. 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. It was only when she realized that after years of struggling with saying no, I finally got to this question: “What do I want?”

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

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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 time in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work. We said yes get a promotion. We said yes to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

We say yes because it feels better to help someone. We say yes because it can seem like the right thing to do. We say yes because we think that is key to success. And we say yes because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist like the boss.

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

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How to 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.

The 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.

2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

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 on your time? No one. Only you are at the center of all of these requests. 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. 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:

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 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 FOMO even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

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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.

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 the consequences of saying no or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose respect from others. 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.

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 to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

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.

A 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.

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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…” giving 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 fresh request to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself. If you are the one placing the demand on yourself, try to evaluate the demand as if it were coming from somewhere else.

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. Or, tell someone in your family you can’t loan them money again because they never paid you back the last time. You’ll find yourself much happier.

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Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

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