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How These 10 Things You Do Can Ruin A Perfectly Good Relationship

How These 10 Things You Do Can Ruin A Perfectly Good Relationship

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, so what better time to consider the status of modern relationships in the UK?

With Valentine’s Day spending set to exceed £1 billion in the UK after rising incrementally for the last two years, it would initially appear as though there are a healthy number of loving and contented relationships nationwide. The fact that men are continuing to do the majority of spending also suggests that the age of chivalry is far from dead, as male consumers look to spoil their loved ones with clothes, spa treatments and romantic breaks away. Even the concept of marriage, which is often undermined by a national divorce rate of approximately 40%, has become increasingly popular over the last two years with the rate of weddings having risen by 6.6% in this time.

As anyone in a relationship will testify, however, those involved must be proactive and invest time into making it successful. There are numerous internal and external factors that can impact on a relationship, so you need to take responsibility for your own actions and attitude. With this in mind, consider the following issues and how they can turn even the happiest relationship sour: –

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1. Neglecting to Take Care of your Appearance

While this may sound superficial, the level of pride that you take in your appearance often reflects you inherent values and the attitude that you have towards your relationship. Those who neglect to take care of themselves are essentially revealing a lack of drive or hunger for self-improvement, while also underlining the fact that they are not prepared to make an effort to look nice for their partner. This can slowly eat away at the foundations of a relationship, especially if your partner is extremely motivated to keep fit and take care of the image that they present.

2. Taking your Partner for Granted

Married couples have taken a lifetime vow to love and care for one another, and while this does not always work out, the original sentiment is almost universally heartfelt and genuine. It is all too easy for even happy and contented relationships to become stale, however, especially if you begin to take your partner for granted and fail to appreciate the qualities that you initially fell in love with all those years’ ago. For a relationship to remain happy and satisfied, you must continue to prove your love and appreciation throughout the duration of your time together.

3. Stockpiling Negative Emotions

Relationships are not always easy, as even genuine soul mates can encounter periods of turbulence, conflict and even infidelity. While the power of love can go a long way towards resolving these individual issues, however, it is crucial that you do not stockpile negative emotions in a way the breeds resentment, jealously or paranoia. If you continue to harbor negative feelings after a relationship breakdown, you must communicate this openly and ensure that they are resolved before you move on.

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4. Being Overly Critical of a Partner

We all have our own unique standards in life, and in an ideal world we would find a mate who shared these as closely as possible. This is not always possible, however, meaning that we must occasionally compromise on these ideals if a relationship to be successful. If you do find yourself in this position, it is also crucial that you refrain from being too critical of a partner who has less than exacting standards. The differences between two individuals must be embraced in a successful relationship, rather than being picked upon and criticized.

5. Failing to Understand Each Other’s Expectations from Life

It should be clear by now that a lack of communication is pivotal to the majority of most relationship issues, and this also applies to a failure to understand your partners’ expectations. Life goals vary according to each individual, as while some desire nothing more than to start a family others have more career-orientated aspirations. While there may be room for both in the modern family, it is crucial that every individual understands the needs of their partner and works together in a bid to achieve them.

6. Neglecting to Follow your Own Interests

While shared hobbies and pursuits offer couples the chance to strengthen their bond, it is also important that each individual has their own interests and past-times. This ensures that people retain their own unique identity throughout the course of their relationship, while it also creates talking points for couples to share at the end of a long, hard day. If you neglect to follow your interests, you could easily become frustrated and demotivated through the course of everyday life.

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7. Putting Yourself and Your Needs First

All successful relationships are based on a sense of compromise and collaboration, as each individual must consider the needs of their partner and place these ahead of their own. Individuals who continue to put their own needs first are unlikely to prosper in a relationship, simply because their better half will become tired of being marginalized and having their feelings disregarded over a prolonged period of time.

8. Avoiding Honest and Open Communication in a Bid to Keep the Peace

While honesty can ultimately save and preserve a relationship, it may also cause a significant amount of conflict and disruption in the process. You must never be afraid of engaging in honest and open communication as a way of resolving relationship issues, as your willingness to confront harsh home-truths reflects a desire to make a love-match work. If you look to avoid confrontation simply as a way of keeping the peace, the chances are that unresolved issues will fester and ultimately end the relationship prematurely.

9. Failing to Create the Ideal Work-life Balance

We all need to work, and the willingness to provide for your family is extremely admirable. While you would expect your partner to be understanding of your need to work irregular hours or occasional weekends, however, they may become frustrated if your schedule begins to impact negatively on the relationship. You must therefore strive to create a viable work-life balance, which enables you to spend more time at home and pay attention to the people that you love the most.

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10. Refusing to Say Sorry Even When you are in the Wrong

On a final note, not even the most loving relationship can survive without a certain amount of mutual respect. This can be shown in various ways, but one of the most obvious is the willingness to apologize and show remorse when you are in the wrong. This shows a keen sense of maturity and integrity, as you are happy to accept when you have made a mistake and offended your partner. If sorry is the hardest word for you to say, however, this stubborn and short-sighted outlook may well end up costing you your relationship.

Featured photo credit: Loving couple at the beach via shutterstock.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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