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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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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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