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7 Ways To Have Amazing Relationships When Chasing Dreams

7 Ways To Have Amazing Relationships When Chasing Dreams

I read somewhere the right person always comes into your life at the wrong time. In my experiences, this is very accurate. I think this happens because we don’t truly appreciate something when it’s handed to us. Most people feel more possessive of what we’ve worked for, be it a goal, item or person’s affection.

We’ve all had dreams. You might have wanted to be a fireman, school teacher, doctor or business person who makes so much money you could buy anything your heart desired and crush anyone in your path. Whatever your dream is, the way you get to the end result is to set goals. Your dream is the long-term goal but a lot needs to happen before you get there. Inevitably along the way, you will be smitten with someone.

You might decide to focus on the end game and pass on taking on anything which could distract you from your goal. Or you may decide to take a chance and give the relationship a shot. Deciding to accept another person into your life will immediately split up your free time and focus. Below are essential things you’ll need to do if you want the relationship to last after the new relationship feeling wears off.

Take your relationship seriously.

Making your relationship a priority is important. When you are focused on chasing dreams, it’s easy to put blinders on and give everything else the minimum amount of attention needed. Minimum attention might work here and there once you have an established relationship, but you need a great foundation first.

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When you are a couple of months into a relationship, you start to slack off and fall back into your old habits and routines. Slacking off at this point is a mistake if you want to keep the relationship going. Showing effort to talk and share company can go a long way.

Listening to your partner is a must.

Listening means more than hearing words. Aside from small talk, people tell you things because they want you to know about their life. They want to involve you. Sure what they are saying can be mind-numbingly boring to you, but they are telling you for a reason. Try to be part of the conversation instead of just a pair of ears to talk at.

Asking a few questions about what they are talking about can give you insight into the way they think and why they react to things the way they do. You might not know your new boyfriend lets out a girlish shriek when he sees a ladybug due to trauma caused by his older brother when they were kids. Listening to his story about how he was driving to work and had to screech the car to a halt because there was a bug in the car might clue you in. Asking about the incident might help you know him better.

Set relationship goals like you did for your dreams.

Goals in a relationship might seem a little bit out of place to some. However, knowing if your partner wants kids, marriage, to travel the world or all of the above is very advantageous to the relationship. When the two of you aren’t on the same path and there isn’t a middle ground, consider calling it quits. A relationship is a collaboration of your lives to make one happy life for two people.

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Goals aren’t always marriage, travel and stuff like that. Relationship goals can be financial goals such as getting out of debt, moving in together or how to be involved in a child’s life when one of you is a single parent. Remember, not all of your goals need to be lofty; they are meant to be something to work toward together.

Take a deep breath, think and respond to loved ones.

Stress can take its toll on a relationship. When one or both of you is overwhelmed, you can easily take out your frustration on the other. When you feel overwhelmed, remember your better half is there for you. When you belittle and take out your frustrations on him or her, he or she is not the cause of your frustration.

When things aren’t going your way, try taking a deep breath, relax and talk with your partner. Having a civilized talk will accomplish a couple of things for you and your relationship. While talking about your situation out loud to someone else, you could come up with a solution. It works for the people on Wheel of Fortune doesn’t it?

Talking it over with your partner will help him or her feel a part of the relationship. He or she will appreciate you valuing him or her enough to involve him or her. If you try to do everything yourself, the other person in the relationship can wonder where to fit into your life.

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Little things add up and make a big difference.

Little things are just that, little. Making it a habit to pay attention to the person you choose to be in a relationship with will go a long way. Here’s an example: If your girlfriend asks you to go to an antique store and points out a beat up kid’s rocking chair she really likes, you might not see it as anything more than something you’re going to kick in the dark on your way to the bathroom in the middle of the night. However, if you were to go back and buy it for her, she will see it in a couple of ways.

She will see you didn’t just zone out when she took you to a place she likes. She will also see you listened to her and why she liked the rocking chair. A lot of times it’s the gesture more than the actual action that counts. The saying about it’s the thought that counts applies here. When she says, “AWWWWW… you remembered I liked the chair because it’s like the one I had as a little girl!,” you did it right.

No matter how busy your schedule, make time for your partner.

Some people will disagree with me, but date nights work. The key is not to have the same dinner and a movie date every single time. Mix it up. One time you pick the activity and the next time let him. I have begrudgingly agreed to go places and do things I had no interest in but now I really look forward to those things.

When both of you have busy schedules, making the gesture to spend time with someone means that much more.

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Talk to your partner in a way he or she understands.

I’m sure you know how differently men and women are when it comes to how they need to hear things. The same can be true for two people. When one of you is going to school for a masters degree in journalism, you will value some things differently when your husband is focusing on being the best step-dad he can.

Getting to know the person you share your days with will clue you into wording to use to describe your thoughts and actions. I don’t mean you should get to know how to sweet-talk, I mean you should know if he wants to know just the facts, if you need to beat around the bush and let him guess, if he likes it sugared up or if you need to use more layman’s terms to talk about your situation. When he can understand what the heck you are talking about, you will get a lot further and the conversation will be more productive.

Talking about what’s going on and what the other person’s focus is can seem like a time-suck and not necessary but it really is. If you aren’t talking to your partner, he or she can only assume what you’re doing based on past experiences. Speculation is rarely a good thing in a relationship. The more you play the “what if” game, the more misunderstandings you’ll have. Just talk it out.

While I talked mostly about a spouse, these apply to relationships with family and friends too. Any relationship can get stagnant and fizzle out if you don’t work at it. Every relationship is the result of the work both put into it.

Featured photo credit: chase-your-dreams via flickr.com

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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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