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5 Things You Do That Are Seriously Affecting Your Relationships

5 Things You Do That Are Seriously Affecting Your Relationships

We all know that relationships are hard work, but they don’t have to be. Here are some much needed solutions to the things you are doing that seriously affect your relationships.

You are clingy.

Sorry to say it, but this is the number one thing that is affecting your relationships. We all know what it’s like to have someone cling to everything you do. At first it can be considered cute. The other person might think you really like them and really enjoy spending time with them. BUT eventually it gets to be too much. Being clingy can lead to the exact opposite of what you are going for. It can end up pushing the other person away.

So what is an example of being clingy? Trust me there are many, but lets stick with the most common. For one, you text or call your significant other more than an acceptable amount of times in one hour. It’s totally fine to see how someone is doing throughout the day. However, you don’t want to do this by sending 15 text messages in one hour asking the same questions. It’s okay to go a few hours without constant communication. You don’t want to be an anoyance to your boyfriend or girlfriend, and you definitely don’t want to seem demanding of all their time. Another good example of being clingy is pressuring someone to say they love you, and you haven’t been together very long. Although you might feel that way, don’t force it on them.

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What’s the solution, then, to being clingy? Give them space. You don’t need to change who you are to be less clingy. Let them text or call you sometimes. Every relationship has a natural flow, and you should let yours have one too. Realize that space doesn’t mean the other person doesn’t care about you as much as you care about them. Take the time you would be focusing on them to focus on yourself. This will create a much healthier relationship, and help you get rid of the label clingy.

You are jealous/overprotective.

At times this can be just as bad as being clingy. Being a jealous person in a relationship can really put a strain on things. Sometimes being jealous is just a reaction, and you can’t always help it. Say your significant other is getting hit on right in front of you; this may cause jealousy no matter what you do. However, you don’t need to get worked up about it and cause a scene. Take it as a compliment. That’s your man/woman, and if you are in a trusting committed relationship they should react accordingly. An example of being jealous/overprotective is when you get mad at your bf/gf for having a night out with their friends (without you). You get jealous and tell them they can’t go, or you invite yourself, or even just show up. First of all this is not a good look for you. Now the friends will have an impression of you being a jealous person as well.

What is a solution to being jealous/overprotective? Take a breath before you react. You might be a jealous person, but if you want this to stop affecting your relationships then you need to think before you speak. Ask yourself some questions: Do you trust them? If not, then you really shouldn’t be with them anyways. Is it really as serious as I am making it? If not, don’t cause an argument that doesn’t need to happen.

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You need constant reassurance of love and affection.

It’s normal to want to know how your significant other feels about you. However, constantly asking them is not the way to go about it. If this is you, then you probably ask multiple times how they feel about you. Do you love me? How much do you love me? Are you sure? The list goes on. You also likely need to have constant affection from them (kisses, holding hands, ect.). This can become overbearing for the other person, and will likely lead to the demise of your relationship.

What is the solution to needing constant reassurance? This might take some time, because there is likely an unresolved issue within yourself. No matter what the issue is, take some time and figure out who you truly are. Once you figure out who you are, what makes you tick, what your greatest assets are, ect. then you can have a serious relationship again. When you know your self worth, you won’t need constant reassurance of how your bf/gf feels about you.

You give the impression you only care about sex.

Ah, here it is, the thing that is affecting you from having a real relationship. We all know that sex is an important part of any committed relationship. However, if you give off the impression that sex is all you care about–you probably wont last long.. in the relationship. If this is you, you might even be known as a “friend with benefits,” but you never get further than that. No real feeling develop because you don’t allow them to.

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What’s the solution to this problem affecting your relationships? It’s simple – open up to someone without making everything about sex. You will be amazed to find out how much better sex is when there are feelings attached. So, open up to the possibility that there is more to a relationship than sex.

You are terrified of being alone.

If this is you, you jump from one relationship to the next. You currently have a backup plan in case your current relationship doesn’t work out. This isn’t just related to a committed relationship, it is also true for your friendships. You are literally never alone. This starts to affect your relationships because you don’t have any time apart. It could also cause problems because you seem insecure, and that in itself is enough baggage to ruin a relationship.

What’s the solution to being terrified of being alone? It might sound crazy… but you should spend some time alone. It will be extremely scary at first, but it will be worth it in the end. You always hear people talking about how you can’t love someone else if you don’t love yourself first—this is so true! Time alone with yourself will help you begin to love yourself. Like I said before, figure yourself out first. A relationship won’t last if you rely on the other person to make you feel good all the time. Also, having time away from each other is good. It helps the relationship, and makes the other person realize how much they care about you when you’re gone.

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Featured photo credit: N/A via mrg.bz

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Published on May 18, 2021

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

We have two ears and one mouth for a reason—effective communication is dependent on using them in proportion, and this involves having good listening skills.

The workplace of the 21st century may not look the same as it did before COVID-19 spread throughout the world like wildfire, but that doesn’t mean you can relax your standards at work. If anything, Zoom meetings, conference calls, and the continuous time spent behind a screen have created a higher level of expectations for meeting etiquette and communication. And this goes further than simply muting your microphone during a meeting.

Effective workplace communication has been a topic of discussion for decades, yet, it is rarely addressed or implemented due to a lack of awareness and personal ownership by all parties.

Effective communication isn’t just about speaking clearly or finding the appropriate choice of words. It starts with intentional listening and being present. Here’s how to improve your listening skills for effective workplace communication.

Listen to Understand, Not to Speak

There are stark differences between listening and hearing. Listening involves intention, focused effort, and concentration, whereas hearing simply involves low-level awareness that someone else is speaking. Listening is a voluntary activity that allows one to be present and in the moment while hearing is passive and effortless.[1]

Which one would you prefer your colleagues to implement during your company-wide presentation? It’s a no-brainer.

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Listening can be one of the most powerful tools in your communication arsenal because one must listen to understand the message being told to them. As a result of this deeper understanding, communication can be streamlined because there is a higher level of comprehension that will facilitate practical follow-up questions, conversations, and problem-solving. And just because you heard something doesn’t mean you actually understood it.

We take this for granted daily, but that doesn’t mean we can use that as an excuse.

Your brain is constantly scanning your environment for threats, opportunities, and situations to advance your ability to promote your survival. And yet, while we are long past the days of worrying about being eaten by wildlife, the neurocircuitry responsible for these mechanisms is still hard-wired into our psychology and neural processing.

A classic example of this is the formation of memories. Case in point: where were you on June 3rd, 2014? For most of you reading this article, your mind will go completely blank, which isn’t necessarily bad.

The brain is far too efficient to retain every detail about every event that happens in your life, mainly because many events that occur aren’t always that important. The brain doesn’t—and shouldn’t—care what you ate for lunch three weeks ago or what color shirt you wore golfing last month. But for those of you who remember where you were on June 3rd, 2014, this date probably holds some sort of significance to you. Maybe it was a birthday or an anniversary. Perhaps it was the day your child was born. It could have even been a day where you lost someone special in your life.

Regardless of the circumstance, the brain is highly stimulated through emotion and engagement, which is why memories are usually stored in these situations. When the brain’s emotional centers become activated, the brain is far more likely to remember an event.[2] And this is also true when intention and focus are applied to listening to a conversation.

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Utilizing these hard-wired primitive pathways of survival to optimize your communication in the workplace is a no-brainer—literally and figuratively.

Intentional focus and concentrated efforts will pay off in the long run because you will retain more information and have an easier time recalling it down the road, making you look like a superstar in front of your colleagues and co-workers. Time to kiss those note-taking days away!

Effective Communication Isn’t Always Through Words

While we typically associate communication with words and verbal affirmations, communication can come in all shapes and forms. In the Zoom meeting era we live in, it has become far more challenging to utilize and understand these other forms of language. And this is because they are typically easier to see when we are sitting face to face with the person we speak to.[3]

Body language can play a significant role in how our words and communication are interpreted, especially when there is a disconnection involved.[4] When someone tells you one thing, yet their body language screams something completely different, it’s challenging to let that go. Our brain immediately starts to search for more information and inevitably prompts us to follow up with questions that will provide greater clarity to the situation at hand. And in all reality, not saying something might be just as important as actually saying something.

These commonly overlooked non-verbal communication choices can provide a plethora of information about the intentions, emotions, and motivations. We do this unconsciously, and it happens with every confrontation, conversation, and interaction we engage in. The magic lies in the utilization and active interpretation of these signals to improve your listening skills and your communication skills.

Our brains were designed for interpreting our world, which is why we are so good at recognizing subtle nuances and underlying disconnect within our casual encounters. So, when we begin to notice conflicting messages between verbal and non-verbal communication, our brain takes us down a path of troubleshooting.

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Which messages are consistent with this theme over time? Which statements aren’t aligning with what they’re really trying to tell me? How should I interpret their words and body language?

Suppose we want to break things down even further. In that case, one must understand that body language is usually a subconscious event, meaning that we rarely think about our body language. This happens because our brain’s primary focus is to string together words and phrases for verbal communication, which usually requires a higher level of processing. This doesn’t mean that body language will always tell the truth, but it does provide clues to help us weigh information, which can be pretty beneficial in the long run.

Actively interpreting body language can provide you with an edge in your communication skills. It can also be used as a tool to connect with the individual you are speaking to. This process is deeply ingrained into our human fabric and utilizes similar methods babies use while learning new skills from their parents’ traits during the early years of development.

Mirroring a person’s posture or stance can create a subtle bond, facilitating a sense of feeling like one another. This process is triggered via the activation of specific brain regions through the stimulation of specialized neurons called mirror neurons.[5] These particular neurons become activated while watching an individual engage in an activity or task, facilitating learning, queuing, and understanding. They also allow the person watching an action to become more efficient at physically executing the action, creating changes in the brain, and altering the overall structure of the brain to enhance output for that chosen activity.

Listening with intention can make you understand your colleague, and when paired together with mirroring body language, you can make your colleague feel like you two are alike. This simple trick can facilitate a greater bond of understanding and communication within all aspects of the conversation.

Eliminate All Distractions, Once and for All

As Jim Rohn says, “What is easy to do is also easy not to do.” And this is an underlying principle that will carry through in all aspects of communication. Distractions are a surefire way to ensure a lack of understanding or interpretation of a conversation, which in turn, will create inefficiencies and a poor foundation for communication.

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This should come as no surprise, especially in this day in age where people are constantly distracted by social media, text messaging, and endlessly checking their emails. We’re stuck in a cultural norm that has hijacked our love for the addictive dopamine rush and altered our ability to truly focus our efforts on the task at hand. And these distractions aren’t just distractions for the time they’re being used. They use up coveted brainpower and central processes that secondarily delay our ability to get back on track.

Gloria Mark, a researcher at UC Irvine, discovered that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds for our brains to reach their peak state of focus after an interruption.[6] Yes, you read that correctly—distractions are costly, error-prone, and yield little to no benefit outside of a bump to the ego when receiving a new like on your social media profile.

Meetings should implement a no-phone policy, video conference calls should be set on their own browser with no other tabs open, and all updates, notifications, and email prompt should be immediately turned off, if possible, to eliminate all distractions during a meeting.

These are just a few examples of how we can optimize our environment to facilitate the highest levels of communication within the workplace.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Effective communication in the workplace doesn’t have to be challenging, but it does have to be intentional. Knowledge can only take us so far, but once again, knowing something is very different than putting it into action.

Just like riding a bike, the more often you do it, the easier it becomes. Master communicators are phenomenal listeners, which allows them to be effective communicators in the workplace and in life. If you genuinely want to own your communication, you must implement this information today and learn how to improve your listening skills.

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Choose your words carefully, listen intently, and most of all, be present in the moment—because that’s what master communicators do, and you can do it, too!

More Tips Improving Listening Skills

Featured photo credit: Mailchimp via unsplash.com

Reference

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