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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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Last Updated on April 11, 2019

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in every phase of your life. This is especially true in the workplace.

I have personally worked with several leaders who were masters of communication. A few were wonderful speakers who could tell a great story and get everyone in the room engaged. Those of us in attendance would walk away feeling inspired and eager to help with what came next. Others were very skilled at sharing a clear direction and job expectations.

I knew exactly what was expected of me and how to achieve my goals. This was the foundation of an energized and vibrant role I was in. What I have found is strong communication skills are incredibly helpful and sometimes critical in how well we perform at work.

Here we will take a look at how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

How Communication Skills Help Your Success

Strong communication skills pave the way for success in many ways. Let’s look at a few of the big ones.

Create a Positive Experience

Here are two examples of how well developed communication skills helps create a positive experience:

When I first moved to the city I now live in, I began a job search. Prior to my first live interview, I was told an address to go to. Upon arriving at the address provided, I drove around and around attempting to find the location. After 15 minutes of circling and looking for the address, I finally grabbed a parking spot and set out on foot.

What I discovered was the address was actually down an alley and only had the number over the door. No sign for the actual company. The person that gave me those very unclear directions provided a bad experience for me.

Had they communicated the directions to get there in a clear manner, my experience would have been much better. Instead the entire experience started off poorly and colored the entire meeting.

As a recruiter, I frequently provide potential candidates with information about a job I’m speaking to them about. In order to do this, I also provide a picture of the overall company, the group they might be joining, and how their role fits in and impacts the entire company.

Time and time again I have been told by candidates that I have provided the clearest picture of a company and role they have ever heard. They have a positive experience when I clearly communicate to them. Even when the position does not work out for them, often times they will want to stay in touch with me due to the open communication and beneficial experience they had during the interviewing process.

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Strong communication skills will provide a positive experience in virtually any interaction you have with someone.

Help Leadership Skills

It’s certainly a skill all its own to be able to lead others.

Being a mentor and guiding others towards success is a major hallmark of great leaders. Another characteristic of effective leaders is the ability to communicate clearly.

As I referenced above, having a leader who can plainly articulate the company’s mission and direction goes a really long way towards being the Captain of the boat that others want to follow. It’s like saying “here’s our destination and this is how we are going to get there” in a way that everyone can get on board with.

Another critical component of everyone helping to sail the boat in the right direction is knowing what your portion is all about. How are you helping the boat move towards its destination in the manner than is consistent with the leaders’ vision?

If you have a boss or a manager that can show you what it takes for not only you to be successful, but also how your performance helps the company’s success then you’ve got a winner. A boss with superior communication skills.

Build Better Teams

Most of us work in teams of some sort or another. During the course of my career, I have led teams up to 80 and also been an individual contributor.

In my individual contributor roles, I have been part of a larger team. Even if you are in business for yourself, you have to interact with others in one manner or another.

If you have strong communication skills, it helps to build better teams. This is true whether you are in an IT department with 100 other fellow programmers or if you own your own business and have customers or vendors you communicate with.

When you showcase your robust ability to communicate well with others while interacting with them, you are building a better team.

Now let’s jump in to how to improve communication skills to help you pave the way for your workplace success.

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How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

There are many tips, tricks, and techniques to improve communication skills. I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much information, so let’s focus on the things that will provide the biggest return on your time investment.

Most of these tips will be fairly easy to become aware of but will take time and effort to implement. So let’s go!

1. Listen

Ever heard the saying you have two ears and one mouth for a reason? If you haven’t, then here’s the reason:

Being a good listener is half the equation to being a good communicator.

People who have the ability to really listen to someone can then actually answer questions in a meaningful way. If you don’t make the effort to actively listen, then you are really doing yourself and the other person a disservice in the communication department.

Know that person who is chomping at the bit to open his or her mouth the second you stop talking? Don’t be that person. They haven’t listened to at least 1/2 of what you’ve said. Therefore the words that spill out of their mouth are going to be about 1/2 relevant to what you just said.

Listen to someone completely and be comfortable with short periods of silence. Work on your listening skills first and foremost.

2. Know Your Audience

Knowing your audience is another critical component to having strong communication skills. The way you interact with your manager should be different than how you interact with your kids. This isn’t to say you need to be a different person with everyone you interact with. Far from it.

Here is a good way to think about it:

Imagine using your the same choice of words and body language you use with your spouse while interacting with your boss. That puts things in a graphic light!

You want to ensure you are using the type of communication most relevant to your audience.

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3. Minimize

I have lunch with a business associate about 3 times a year. We’ve been talking for several years now about putting a business deal together.

He is one of those people that simply overwhelms others with a lot of words. Sometimes when I ask him a question, I get buried beneath such an avalanche of words that I’m more confused than when I asked the question. Needless to say this is most likely a large portion of why we never put the deal together.

Don’t be like my lunch business associate. The goal of talking to or communicating with someone is to share actual information. The goal is not to confuse someone, it’s to provide clarity in many cases.

State what needs to be stated as succinctly as possible. That doesn’t mean you can’t have some pleasant conversation about the weather too.

The point is to not create such an onslaught of words and information that the other person walks away more confused than when they started.

4. Over Communicate

So this probably sounds completely counter intuitive to what I just wrote about minimizing your communication. It seems like it might be but it’s not.

What I mean by over communicating is ensuring that the other person understands the important parts of what you are sharing with them. This can be done simply yet effectively. Here’s a good example:

Most companies have open enrollment for benefits for the employees in the fall. The company I work for has open enrollment from November 1 to 15. The benefits department will send out a communication to all employees around October 1st, letting them know open enrollment is right around the corner and any major changes that year. There’s also a phone number and email for people to contact them with any questions.

Two weeks later, we all get a follow up email with basically the same information. We get a 3rd communication the week before open enrollment and another one 1 day before it starts.

Finally we get 2 emails during enrollment reminding us when open enrollment ends.

There’s minimal information, it’s more of a reminder. This is effective over communication.

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5. Body Language

The final critical component to how to improve communication skills for workplace success is body language. This is something most of us have heard about before but, a reminder is probably a good idea.

When I am in a meeting with someone I am comfortable with, I tend to kind of slouch down in my chair and cross my arms. When I catch myself doing this, I sit up straight and uncross my arms. I remember that crossing arms can many times be interpreted as a sign of disagreement or conflict.

In general, the best rule of thumb is to work towards having open body language whenever possible at work. This means relaxing your posture, not crossing your arms, and looking people in the eye when speaking with them.

When you are speaking in front of others, stand up straight and speak in a clear voice. This will convey confidence in your words.

Conclusion

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in many facets of your life and most certainly in the workplace.

Good communication helps create better teams, positive experiences with those we interact with, and are critical for leadership.

There are numerous tactics and techniques to be used to improve communication skills. Here we’ve reviewed how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

Now go communicate your way to success.

More Resources About Effective Communication

Featured photo credit: HIVAN ARVIZU via unsplash.com

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