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7 Ways to Stop Your Casual Relationship From Ruining Your Love Life

7 Ways to Stop Your Casual Relationship From Ruining Your Love Life

Just rewind back to when you were a child and you used to play with your Barbie and Ken dolls. You put so much of your imagination into those toys. You created story lines, plots and character arcs that would put the best writers in Hollywood to shame. For many of us, Barbie and Ken were the first relationships we experienced. As children, we believed that every relationship should be like Barbie’s and Ken.

Then, we were invaded by the hookup culture, where sex became as fast and as cheap as a Quarter Pounder with cheese. Now, our sex lives are equivalent to our fast food addictions.We know that they both offer very little nutritional value, yet we can’t stop eating because we are addicted to the taste. While fast food clogs up our arteries, casual relationships and 2am booty calls block us from receiving real love and intimacy. Casual relationships may keep us trapped in our own fantasy world, where our relationships are as superficial as Ken and Barbie plastic dolls. Lucky for you, you can save your love life by learning these 7 major tips.

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Don’t engage in uncommitted sex — you might regret it later.

Hookups and uncommitted sex became more frequent in the 1920s with the invention of the automobile. People were no longer restricted to having sex in a bed, when the back seat of a car was just as convenient.  By the 1960s, a full fledged sexual revolution had begun. The rise of feminism and widespread availability of contraception such as birth control and condoms gave birth to the era of the casual relationship. Today, the media is a huge source of sex education.  We are inundated with messages about uncommitted sex being healthy and enjoyable. But quantity doesn’t necessary equate to quality.  When a survey was conducted with 270 college students, 72 percent indicated that they felt a sense of regret after a casual hookup. (Oswalt, Cameron, & Koob, 2005).

Don’t use uncommitted sex as a cop-out. You’re worthy and capable of a committed relationship.

You ever notice how everything is great in the beginning when you’re casually dating? Then, when the B word (boyfriend) or G word (girlfriend) is uttered, everything changes. Suddenly there are these unrealistic expectations. And your Barbie and Ken fantasy relationship starts to feel like demented characters in some cheesy horror film. You feel like you’ve got to put on an act by wearing clown paint and a twisted smile. Besides, you have to cover up your unhappiness, misery and disappointment. Only the clown makeup feels like war paint, reminding you of all the wars you’ve fought, lost and won in all of your dead-end relationships.Labeling your relationship as casual is like putting a Band-Aid on a severed knee. It’s not going to make things better. You’re a human being with real emotions, and no amount of uncommitted sex is ever going to change that. Instead, address the real reasons why you’re having a difficult time making a real connection with another human being.

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Don’t give yourself a free pass. Use every hook-up as an opportunity to learn about yourself.

Many people say they like to keep things light. In truth, they don’t want to make any real sacrifices or investments into having a committed relationship. Ironically, they want all the benefits of a committed relationship such as sex, love, intimacy and security. You may very well feel entitled to a free pass because you’re in a casual relationship. However, you still have to put work into yourself. Now, you have the freedom to try different sex partners like they are a pair of shoes. Take this opportunity to learn from them. Learn what you like and what you don’t like. Use this information to understand what gives you pleasure. Then, you’ll know exactly what qualities to look for when you’re ready to engage in a real relationship.

Don’t engage in a casual relationship if you’re not going to enjoy it.

For many women, an orgasm is hard to come by. According to Al Cooper, Ph.D. Sex Therapist and author of the book Understanding the Female Orgasm, 75 percent of women need clitoral stimulation in order to have an orgasm. A study published in the Medline Plus Medical Encyclopedia, titled Orgasmic Dysfunction, states that thirty-free to 50 percent of women experience infrequent orgasms or are dissatisfied with their partners after sex. Many people who engage in hook-ups often have a difficult time speaking up and communicating with their partner. People who are not committed in a series relationship may not be focused on pleasing their partner. In fact, they may want to hook up strictly for their own benefit.

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No strings attached, really means no strings attached.

Don’t play with fire. Many people go into a casual relationship with an alternative agenda. This happens because we are all looking for a sense of security. A lot of times, you may see people as who you want them to be, rather than who they are, so you may very well agree to a casual relationship with uncommitted sex. However, there is a part of you that secretly wants more. This is when your imagination will start to get the best of you. It will put in you in a perpetual state of denial where the only real pleasure you get from your casual relationship is from your distorted imagination. Sadly, your character plots and story lines can turn for the worse, when you refuse to be honest about who you are. It takes a strong sense of security to have uncommitted sex and be in a casual relationship. Be wary about getting involved in something that your emotions can’t handle.

Don’t think that hooking up is just about sex.

Women and men are still programmed to associate sex with security and commitment. Although the era of casual relationships is relatively new, your primal genetic programming is very old. In fact, we all inherit genes from our mitochondria mother. And her prehistoric memories are still haunting us today. Back in her day, sex was an honor that men had to fight for. They had to prove that they were powerful and could offer a sense of security through the courting process. As a result, men may associate sex with a sense of achievement, so they may devalue sex if it comes way too easily. For women, sex was always a huge risk. Our cavewoman ancestor was totally dependent on the caveman to protect her and feed her while pregnant. Also, the chances of her and the baby dying in childbirth were much higher. We can’t change eons of genetic programming overnight. Even though the risks of uncommitted sex have been minimized, we will always be subject to the cautionary voices of programming.

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Don’t think that you can live your life without real love.

People engage in uncommitted sex and casual relationships because they want to have a sense of security, yet they don’t want to feel like they’re sacrificing a great deal of freedom to be in a committed relationship. Of course, people with this mentality may also believe that they can eat 4000 calories a day and still lose weight. Be weary about engaging in a diet of fast and cheap sex. Be careful about buying into a fantasy with no real substance. Just remember as children, we played with dolls. We brought them to life with our own story lines and imaginations. Only the dolls were merely a reflection of who we were inside. We were discovering our selves through our imaginations and creating our own ideal relationships, just as we are now discovering ourselves through casual relationships and uncommitted sex. It is important to not get lost in la-la land. Instead, we need to take these experiences and focus on building a foundation that will allow us to have relationships of substance and value.

Featured photo credit: Casual Relationship via dreamstime.com

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Last Updated on May 22, 2020

What Makes a Good Leader: 9 Critical Leadership Qualities

What Makes a Good Leader: 9 Critical Leadership Qualities

The word “leader” makes you think of people in charge, high-ranking people: your boss, politicians, presidents, CEOs…

But leadership really isn’t about a particular position or a person’s seniority. Just because someone has worked for many years doesn’t mean s/he has gained the qualities and skills to lead a team.

Getting promoted to a managerial position doesn’t automatically turn you into a leader either. CEOs and other high-ranking officials don’t always have great leadership skills.

So what makes a good leader? What are the characteristics of a leader?

Good leadership is about acquiring and honing specific skills. Leadership skills enable you to be a role model for a team in any environment. With great leadership qualities, successful leaders come in all shapes and sizes: in the home, at school, or in the workplace.

The following are some of the many characteristics great leaders exhibit.

1. A Positive Attitude

Great leaders know that they won’t have a happy and motivated team unless they themselves exhibit a positive attitude. This can be done by remaining positive when things go wrong and by creating a relaxed and happy atmosphere in the workplace.

Even some simple things like providing snacks or organizing a team Happy Hour can make a world of difference. An added perk is that team members are likely to work harder and do overtime when needed if they’re happy and appreciated.

Even in the worst situations, such as experiencing low team morale or team members having made a big mistake at work, a great leader stays positive and figures out ways to keep the team motivated to solve the problems.

Walt Disney had his share of hardships and challenges, and like any great leader, he managed to stay positive and find new opportunities. In 1928, Disney found that his film producer, Charles Mintz, wanted to reduce his payments for the Oswald series. Mintz threatened to cut ties entirely if Disney didn’t accept his terms, and Disney chose to part ways. But in leaving Oswald, Disney decided to create something new: the iconic Mickey Mouse[1].

The key is to break down huge challenges into smaller ones and find ways to tackle them one by one.

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Think about the lessons you can learn from the mistake and jot them down because sometimes you win, and sometimes you learn.

2. Confidence

All great leaders have to exhibit an air of confidence if they’re going to succeed. Please don’t confuse this with self-satisfaction and arrogance. You want people to look up to you for inspiration, not so they can punch you in the face.

Confidence is important because people will be looking to you on how to behave, particularly if things aren’t going 100% right. If you remain calm and poised, team members are far more likely to as well. As a result, morale and productivity will remain high, and the problem will be solved more quickly.

If you panic and give up, they will know immediately and things will simply go downhill from there.

Elon Musk is a great example of a leader with confidence. He truly believes that Tesla will be successful, which he has shown many times through his actions. He converted 532,000 stock options at $6.63 each, their value on Dec. 4, 2009, before Tesla went public. It was a hefty bargain considering Tesla’s stock price stood at around $195 per share at that time. He doesn’t apologize for his beliefs and has drawn fire from just about everyone for his political actions.

You can’t instantly become a very confident person, but all the small things you do every day will gradually make you more confident:

  • List 5 things you like about yourself every day (something different every day), and you’ll appreciate yourself more.
  • Work on your strengths and do your best to enhance them.

3. A Sense of Humor

It’s imperative for any kind of leader to have a sense of humor, particularly when things go wrong. And they will.

Your team members are going to be looking to you for how to react in a seemingly dire situation. It would probably be best if you weren’t stringing up a noose for yourself in the corner. You need to be able to laugh things off because if staff morale goes down, so will productivity.

Establish this environment prior to any kind of meltdown by encouraging humor and personal discussions in the workplace.

As a president, Barack Obama exuded confidence and calm during stressful situations. But he was also known for his “dad jokes,”[2] his genuinely funny speeches at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, and appearing on Zack Galifianakis’s Between Two Ferns.[3] Obama’s sense of humor made him grounded, realistic, and honest, which no doubt helped during some tense moments in the White House!

Learn to laugh at yourself. Confident people laugh about their own silly mistakes, and when you do this, others will also trust you more because you’re willing to share your experiences.

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Be observant and learn from the jokes others make. You can also get a lot of inspiration from the internet.

4. Ability to Embrace Failure

No matter how hard you try to avoid it, failures will happen; that’s okay. You just need to know how to deal with them.

Great leaders take them in strides. They remain calm and logically think through the situation and utilize their resources. What they don’t do is fall apart and reveal to their team how worried they are, which leads to negative morale, fear, and binge-drinking under desks.

Great leaders do, in fact, lead, even when they’re faced with setbacks.

Henry Ford experienced a major setback after designing and improving the Ford Quadricycle. He founded the Detroit Automobile Company in 1899, but the resulting cars they produced did not live up to his standards and were too expensive. The company dissolved in 1901. Ford took this in stride and formed the Henry Ford Company. The sales were slow and the company had financial problems; it wasn’t until 1903 that the Ford Motor Company was successful and put the Ford on the map.

Get to the root cause of any problem so you can prevent it from happening again and learn from the mistake.

By asking “why” 5 times (or more) on why something happened, you can find out the key factor that caused the problem and can find the best solution to tackle the problem.

You’ll also learn how to prevent this from happening again in the future after finding out a problem’s root cause.

5. Careful Listening and Feedback

This is far more complex than it actually sounds. Good communication skills are essential for a great leader. You may very well understand the cave of crazy that is your brain, but that doesn’t mean that you can adequately take the ideas out of it and explain them to someone else.

The best leaders need to be able to communicate clearly with the people around them. They also need to be able to interpret other people properly and not take what they say personally.

The Dalai Lama, as a symbol of the unification of the state of Tibet, represents and practices Buddhist values. The Dalai Lama’s leadership is benevolent and aims toward truth and understanding, alongside the other Buddhist precepts. This is a great example for all leaders: if you want to give good directions to others, you have to get feedback from others to understand the situation properly.

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Encourage communication between team members and establish an open door policy.

Practice not interrupting team members when they’re talking. Instead, summarize what they say and ask for feedback after you have talked about your ideas.

6. Knowing How and When to Delegate

No matter how much you might want to, you can’t actually do everything yourself. Even if you could, in a team environment that would be a terrible idea anyway.

Good leaders recognize that delegation does more than simply alleviate their own stress levels (although that’s obviously a nice perk). Delegating to others shows that you have confidence in their abilities, which subsequently results in higher morale in the workplace, as well as loyalty from your staff. They want to feel appreciated and trusted.

Although Steve Jobs was known for focusing in on the smallest of details, he knew how to delegate. By finding, cultivating, and trusting capable team members, Jobs was able to make Apple run smoothly, even when he had to be absent for extended periods of time.

To know when and how to delegate work to team members, you have to be very familiar with each of them:

  • List out all of their strengths, weaknesses, and personalities.
  • Talk with your team members more to know about their passion and interests.

Take a look at this guide and learn more about delegation: How to Delegate Work Effectively (The Definitive Guide for Leaders)

7. Growth Mindset

Any good leader knows how important it is to develop the skills of those around them. The best can recognize those skills early on. Not only will development make work easier as they improve and grow, it will also foster morale. In addition, they may develop some skills that you don’t possess that will be beneficial to the workplace.

Great leaders share their knowledge with the team and give them the opportunity to achieve. This is how leaders gain their respect and loyalty.

Pope Francis has been unusually popular with many Catholics and many non-Catholics. His position isn’t totally traditional, which is part of his appeal, but he also has admirable leadership skills. Pope Francis’s TED talk[4] drew attention because he encouraged leaders to be humble and to demonstrate solidarity with others. This inclusive, kind, and respectful style of leadership is incredibly important for any situation.

It’s important to spend time talking with other team members individually to understand them.

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Find out team members’ current challenges and try to give feedback and encouragement so they will grow and do better.

8. Responsibility

Great leaders know that when it comes to their company, work place or whatever situation they’re in, they need to take personal responsibility for failure. How can they expect employees to hold themselves accountable if they themselves don’t?

The best leaders don’t make excuses; they take the blame and then work out how to fix the problem as soon as possible. This proves that they’re trustworthy and possess integrity.

Howard Gillman is the chancellor of UC Irvine. You might have heard of how the university rescinded a bunch of acceptances, and then changed its mind[5], This past spring, an unusually high number of accepted students decided to matriculate; the school initially responded by rescinding offers over things like missed deadlines. But the college realized this was a mistake and reversed its decision. Gillman and the university accepted responsibility and decided to move past their earlier bad decision.

Always ask yourself what you can do better or what you should change. Take responsibility and think about what you can do better to prevent this from happening next time.

9. A Desire to Learn

It’s safe to say that all great leaders will have to enter unchartered waters at some point during their career. Because of this, they have to be able to trust their intuition and draw on past experiences to guide them.

Great leaders know that there’s always something to learn from everything they have experienced before. They are able to connect the present challenges with the lessons learned in the past to make decisions and take actions promptly.

You can either recall what you’ve learned from your memories or search your notes (ideally, a software that you can access anywhere with things well-organized).

Warren Buffett, one of the richest people in the world, has mostly made the right calls. But in dealing with huge amounts of money, Buffett has also made several multi-million (and sometimes multi-billion) dollar mistakes. He has stated that buying the company Berkshire Hathaway was his biggest mistake[6]. From that poor choice, he realized that it was unwise to pursue “improvements” and “expansions” in the existing textile industry. Despite mistakes like this, Buffett has invested wisely, and it shows.

To effectively learn from the past, write down lessons you’ve learned from any mistakes you’ve made. Have all the lessons well organized, and when similar things happen again in future, take these lessons as references.

The Bottom Line

Leadership traits are learnable. If you practice consistently, you can be a great leader, too.

Make small changes to your habits when you work with your team, wherever that may be. Most of us aren’t presidents or CEOs, but we all work with other people, and our actions always impact others. This gives every person the chance to develop leadership skills and to stand out from the crowd.

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Featured photo credit: Markus Spiske via unsplash.com

Reference

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