“Real magic in relationships means an absence of judgment of others.”
Relationships can meaningful, enjoyable, and absolutely loving. They can also be destructive, unpleasant, and hateful. Romantic relationships are often the most impactful and profound accords you will engage in. They are often the cause of much joy and/or pain.
Whether or not you experience a blissful romantic relationship or a torrid one, they are challenging. It is often difficult for people to adjust to sharing their life with someone else. As humans, we seek to obtain romantic partnerships during our lives, but we have the tendency of coming into conflict with one another.
Some romantic relationships are able to overcome this conflict and continue to flourish for long periods of time. Others are unable to last. Often couples are simply not right for each other for one reason or another. People change, and amidst this change, romantic partnerships become increasingly difficult to maintain.
But why do so many romantic relationships fail? It is not necessarily unfavorable when relationships end. Often they end for a very good reason and both parties are better off because they gained new perspective from the experience.
Despite the benefits that result from a broken relationship, most people would agree breakups are quite difficult and painful. So how do you build for your next relationship or how do you strengthen the current relationship you are in? What are the pitfalls of romantic relationships that cause unnecessary strife and misery?
1. Unrealistic Expectations for Yourself
You have to look yourself in the mirror and be honest with yourself. In spite of your desire to believe otherwise, you are not a relationship superman or superwoman. You have to have realistic expectations for yourself throughout the relationship, just as you have for all aspects of your life.Advertising
The more pressure you put on yourself to be the “perfect” partner, the more likely you are going to come up short. Trying too hard is only going to put strain on you, your partner, and the relationship. A healthy relationship will flow naturally, expectations will be realistic, and the connection is not forced.
If you are in a relationship, and you notice yourself trying so hard to make everything just right for your partner, but at the end of the day you still don’t feel worthy enough or you feel your partner doesn’t find you worthy enough, you are setting unrealistic expectations for yourself.
I’m not suggesting you don’t make an effort to be a wonderful partner, but there are limits to what you can do in the relationship. Understand those limits for yourself and simply enjoy being with your partner. You can only make yourself happy in the relationship—no one else.
2. Unrealistic Expectations for Your Partner
Don’t have unrealistic expectations for your partner. You expect that your partner is going to respect you, care for you, love you, and not hurt you. These are realistic expectations anyone who is in a romantic relationship doesn’t even think about because they are straightforward. There might be more expectations you can add to this list, but this list shouldn’t be excessively long.
Often people get into relationships for the wrong reasons. They expect their partner to make them happy or they expect their partner to be a personal servant. These are examples of unrealistic expectations that can be detrimental to any relationship, especially a romantic relationship.
If you embark into a relationship with gaudy expectations for your partner, prepare to be disappointed. Unless your partner is so in love with you that he or she is blinded, the chances of this kind of relationship lasting and being fulfilling for both people, are very slim.
3. The Need to Be Right
Let go of the need to be right. This one simple change will bring you much more satisfaction in your personal life. It is especially important for the foundation of a strong relationship.
When you are in a romantic relationship you are going to experience conflict and disagreements. You are going to know when you are right and you are going to know when you are wrong. If you and your partner both surrender the need to be right, there will be less arguing and more resolving of problematic situations because you are both looking out for what is best for the relationship—not what is best for the individual.Advertising
Just because you let go of the need to be right doesn’t make you a pushover or a weak human being. You will know when to stand up for yourself and speak your mind on important issues. Letting go of the need to be right suggests that you are comfortable with yourself and your partner, and you have complete respect for the relationship.
4. Jealousy and Other Fear-Based Emotions
Jealousy, anger, fear, insecurity, unhappiness, selfishness, control destroy romantic relationships. When you are jealous you don’t trust your partner. If you don’t trust your partner, than how are you supposed to build a long-lasting relationship together?
Jealousy can come in many forms, but it is rooted in fear: fear that your partner is going to cheat on you; fear that your partner doesn’t love you enough; fear that your partner is going to leave you; fear that you aren’t good enough for your partner.
Quite often these fears are self-created. Your mind plays out scenarios and you believe them. Perhaps you were hurt or wronged in past relationships so you decide to carry fear based emotions into your next relationship. Especially when there is no basis for the fear than you are setting yourself up for failure.
If you have sound reason to believe your partner is cheating on you or mistreating you in some way than speak with your partner or end the relationship. It is not worth putting yourself through emotional hell by being jealous and afraid.
A romantic relationship is a partnership. In order for a partnership to work and be successful both sides have to be willing to share with one another. Both sides have to be willing to be selfless to the other person.
Many romantic relationships fail because people are too selfish. Being selfish is not beneficial for anyone much less someone in a relationship. Selfish people are generally viewed as difficult, and often they isolate themselves from others. People don’t want to be around people who only take but never give.
It is important to keep yourself in check when you are in a relationship. Ask yourself what you can do for your partner today to help him or her. Hopefully serving your partner in this way is pleasurable for you.Advertising
I think people sometimes develop the misconception that being in a relationship means you abdicate your freedom or independence. I disagree with this because I think it is constructive for partners to be independent people while also maintaining their relationship status. Partners don’t have to be attached at the hip.
Being independent in a relationship doesn’t make you selfish. Independent people are comfortable on their own, but also relish spending time with their partners. Selfish people use their partners for their own personal gain or profit, as they do most people they encounter in life.
6. Defensive Attitude
Has your partner ever asked you to do something, for example, help more around the house and you immediately go on the defensive? You refute your partner’s claims that you aren’t helping enough by describing examples of all those times you were helpful. Instead of listening to what your partner is saying you create stories in your mind that your partner doesn’t appreciate you.
I have been there and done that. I was the best defender in my past relationships because I couldn’t put my ego aside, and listen to what my partner was saying. Instead of trying to understand what she wanted, and discovering how I could be more helpful in the relationship, I shifted into defensive mode. Many people do this in romantic relationships because they interpret a criticism from their partner as an insult and a personal attack.
There is a tendency for partners to take each other too seriously. Conflict is created when partners take what each other says and does very personally. Taking things personally from your partner, someone whom loves you and doesn’t want to hurt you, is quite frankly, toxic for a relationship. You will know when words and actions from your partner are harmful, and require you to respond in a stern manner. Until that moment try to let the minute stuff go.
It is noxious in any relationship to hold grudges. Don’t hold grudges with your romantic partner unless you want to experience loads and loads of negative emotion.
Your partner is going to make mistakes. He or she might get agitated with you or say something that you don’t agree with. Learning to forgive and forget will strengthen your relationship. It will build a foundation that will give you the tools to conquer any adversity that confronts your relationship.
If your partner does something truly destructive that you are unable to overcome then perhaps ending the relationship is best for the both of you. Even in these instances forgiveness is the best medicine for you to move on.Advertising
Grudges are wasted energy in a relationship. It takes more physical, mental, and emotional energy to hold onto a grudge than forgiving your partner and releasing the pent up anger. As I said previously, your partner is not trying to hurt you so try your best to move on.
8. Conditional Love
Conditional love implies there are fulfillments required from your partner in order for him or her to receive your love. This is a recipe for an unhappy and unloving relationship.
Love your partner freely because you enjoy loving him or her. Don’t love your partner with expectations that he or she does something for you. This will lead to destructive behaviors and consistent arguing.
Unconditional love is the key to making a romantic relationships blossom. Love your partner despite his or her flaws because no one is perfect. This begins with acceptance of your partner no matter what. If you can’t accept your partner, you can’t love your partner unconditionally. Love your partner for no reason at all just as you love yourself and be grateful he or she is in your life.
Enjoy your romantic relationship. Being in love is one of the great experiences of life so give yourself and your partner a chance to savor this experience. Let go of the very controllable pitfalls that obstruct long lasting and joyful relationships. Resolve issues in the relationship together as a team. Don’t hold onto negative emotions, rather communicate openly with your partner. Love and be loved!
Featured photo credit: Happy Young Couple in Winter Park having fun.Family Outdoors. love via shutterstock.com
Published on September 23, 2020
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.
Table of Contents
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
- How to Negotiate Skilfully to Get What You Want All the Time
- Perfect Negotiation: The 6 Stages That Help You Negotiate Successfully
- Negotiation: How to Negotiate for Whatever Result You Desire
Featured photo credit: Windows via unsplash.com