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When You’re In A Good Relationship, You Learn These 10 Things

When You’re In A Good Relationship, You Learn These 10 Things

I’d had serious relationships before meeting my fiance, with a couple lasting for years. I thought I was an adult; I thought I knew how to be a great girlfriend. Meeting someone I had a serious connection with taught me that nothing I had experienced before was real. True love feels different than casual relationships – even if those relationships lasted for years (often well past their expiration date!). When you’re in a good relationship, you learn things. You act differently; you think as part of a team, not as an individual making your way through the world. You’ll be more understanding and accepting of your partner, instead of just getting frustrated with them like you may have with past relationships.

1. Misunderstandings are inevitable.

Misunderstandings are going to happen. If you take your partner’s words one way, then learn they meant something totally different, don’t punish them. Let it go. Bringing it up all the time is only going to bruise the relationship and cause communication problems later. Sometimes what you say or do will be taken the wrong way, and you’ll get frustrated that your partner doesn’t understand. Take a step back and realize it’s not a big deal. Misunderstandings are made to be swept under the rug because they’re so minor. They only become problems if you let them grow bigger and mean more in the scope of your relationship. Be laid back and forgive misunderstandings.

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2. Learn to trust them.

You have to trust your partner. Why would you share your life with someone when you think they’re doing something wrong every time you turn your back? If you don’t trust your partner to be faithful, honest, caring, or anything else, then you’re not in a good relationship. The best relationships begin with a deep trust, and even if problems come up (and they will!), the trust is strong enough to keep you together.

3. Let yourselves miss each other.

You’re in love, so you want to be together all the time! It’s so fun to cuddle all night and be together all day, but when will you have time to experience different things? When you go to separate workplaces or schools, you experience things that will give you something to talk about later. When you go out with your friends and your partner spends time with theirs, you have time and space to yourself and come back to each other refreshed. You have a chance to miss each other, and it helps you really understand the value of your relationship. Missing someone is great because getting to see them after that period will make you so happy and so sure of your relationship.

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4. Encourage growth and change.

In a good relationship, both partners are encouraged to grow and change. You have one life to live – you should explore it to the fullest! If you want to quit your job and go back to school, your partner should support you. If you want to try something new or go back to something old, you should find support in your relationship. And you should give this support in return. Encourage your partner to explore hobbies and interests and meet new people. If you want your partner to stay the same, you’re going to have a very boring life together.

5. Compromising doesn’t mean you’re weak.

Compromising doesn’t mean “giving in.” It doesn’t mean that you’ve lost the fight. In fact, it’s the opposite. Do you know how hard it is to compromise sometimes? You want your way because it sounds right and makes sense to you. Your partner is way off base with their suggestions. Take a step back and look at the argument diplomatically. What’s the logical conclusion? If your partner is right, don’t be afraid to say so. Accept their way, or modify both of your solutions to be half and half. The important thing is not getting your way, it’s staying in your relationship and helping it grow. Compromising will definitely help your relationship grow.

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6. Admit your weaknesses.

Your partner doesn’t expect you to be a superhero, and hopefully you don’t expect that of them! We’re all human; we all have flaws. It’s ok to let these show. In fact, to have a stable, serious relationship, you need to let your weaknesses be known. Your partner will be more sensitive to things that bother you, and can help build you up in areas where you need some help.

7. Sometimes you can only accept things, not fix them.

People have baggage. You have some. Your partner has some. Can you go back and erase all of this? Nope! You’re stuck with it, and have to learn to deal with it. Some things are easier to get over than others, but the reality is that sometimes, you can’t fix things. You can’t make problems go away. You have to accept them and get over them and move on, or else your relationship will crumble.

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8. Forgive quickly and truly.

Whenever you have a fight, don’t worry about who wins or who loses. Learn from the fight – from what was said as much as from how it was resolved. Once you learn from a fight, you can apply that lesson to your relationship to avoid trouble later. That’s all well and good, but you’re not done! Forgive your partner! Forgive yourself. The fight is over, you’re past it, now let it go. Never hold anything against your partner because the resentment will build until you don’t want to be with them.

9. Never expect anything.

Don’t expect your partner to read your mind, or to bring you breakfast in bed, or to offer to wash the dishes. It’s not going to happen. You can’t expect anything from anyone – you have to make it known. Communicate. Make sure your partner knows what you expect from the relationship, as well as your opinions on a wide variety of issues. This will help them act considerate towards you, but still – don’t expect anything!

10. Show your feelings.

The worst thing you can do in a relationship is play games. Don’t tease your partner; don’t “reward” good deeds with love and affection. You have to make sure your partner always feels loved. You can be happy with them or be mad at them – it doesn’t matter – they just need to feel loved. They need to know your feelings in the moment as well, don’t get me wrong. But make sure you’re showing your feelings in a way that they won’t be misunderstood (back to #1!).

Featured photo credit: Romantic young valentine couple in love kissing in cafe. Candid view through window glass. via shutterstock.com

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Last Updated on December 4, 2020

How to Give Constructive Feedback in the Workplace

How to Give Constructive Feedback in the Workplace

We all crave constructive feedback. We want to know not just what we’re doing well but also what we could be doing better.

However, giving and getting constructive feedback isn’t just some feel-good exercise. In the workplace, it’s part and parcel of how companies grow.

Let’s take a closer look.

Why Constructive Feedback Is Critical

A culture of feedback benefits individuals on a team and the team itself. Constructive feedback has the following effects:

Builds Workers’ Skills

Think about the last time you made a mistake. Did you come away from it feeling attacked—a key marker of destructive feedback—or did you feel like you learned something new?

Every time a team member learns something, they become more valuable to the business. The range of tasks they can tackle increases. Over time, they make fewer mistakes, require less supervision, and become more willing to ask for help.

Boosts Employee Loyalty

Constructive feedback is a two-way street. Employees want to receive it, but they also want the feedback they give to be taken seriously.

If employees see their constructive feedback ignored, they may take it to mean they aren’t a valued part of the team. Nine in ten employees say they’d be more likely to stick with a company that takes and acts on their feedback.[1]

Strengthens Team Bonds

Without trust, teams cannot function. Constructive feedback builds trust because it shows that the giver of the feedback cares about the success of the recipient.

However, for constructive feedback to work its magic, both sides have to assume good intentions. Those giving the feedback must genuinely want to help, and those getting it has to assume that the goal is to build them up rather than to tear them down.

Promotes Mentorship

There’s nothing wrong with a single round of constructive feedback. But when it really makes a difference is when it’s repeated—continuous, constructive feedback is the bread and butter of mentorship.

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Be the change you want to see on your team. Give constructive feedback often and authentically, and others will naturally start to see you as a mentor.

Clearly, constructive feedback is something most teams could use more of. But how do you actually give it?

How to Give Constructive Feedback

Giving constructive feedback is tricky. Get it wrong, and your message might fall on deaf ears. Get it really wrong, and you could sow distrust or create tension across the entire team.

Here are ways to give constructive feedback properly:

1. Listen First

Often, what you perceive as a mistake is a decision someone made for a good reason. Listening is the key to effective communication.

Seek to understand: how did the other person arrive at her choice or action?

You could say:

  • “Help me understand your thought process.”
  • “What led you to take that step?”
  • “What’s your perspective?”

2. Lead With a Compliment

In school, you might have heard it called the “sandwich method”: Before (and ideally, after) giving difficult feedback, share a compliment. That signals to the recipient that you value their work.

You could say:

  • “Great design. Can we see it with a different font?”
  • “Good thinking. What if we tried this?”

3. Address the Wider Team

Sometimes, constructive feedback is best given indirectly. If your comment could benefit others on the team, or if the person whom you’re really speaking to might take it the wrong way, try communicating your feedback in a group setting.

You could say:

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  • “Let’s think through this together.”
  • “I want everyone to see . . .”

4. Ask How You Can Help

When you’re on a team, you’re all in it together. When a mistake happens, you have to realize that everyone—not just the person who made it—has a role in fixing it. Give constructive feedback in a way that recognizes this dynamic.

You could say:

  • “What can I do to support you?”
  • “How can I make your life easier?
  • “Is there something I could do better?”

5. Give Examples

To be useful, constructive feedback needs to be concrete. Illustrate your advice by pointing to an ideal.

What should the end result look like? Who has the process down pat?

You could say:

  • “I wanted to show you . . .”
  • “This is what I’d like yours to look like.”
  • “This is a perfect example.”
  • “My ideal is . . .”

6. Be Empathetic

Even when there’s trust in a team, mistakes can be embarrassing. Lessons can be hard to swallow. Constructive feedback is more likely to be taken to heart when it’s accompanied by empathy.

You could say:

  • “I know it’s hard to hear.”
  • “I understand.”
  • “I’m sorry.”

7. Smile

Management consultancies like Credera teach that communication is a combination of the content, delivery, and presentation.[2] When giving constructive feedback, make sure your body language is as positive as your message. Your smile is one of your best tools for getting constructive feedback to connect.

8. Be Grateful

When you’re frustrated about a mistake, it can be tough to see the silver lining. But you don’t have to look that hard. Every constructive feedback session is a chance for the team to get better and grow closer.

You could say:

  • “I’m glad you brought this up.”
  • “We all learned an important lesson.”
  • “I love improving as a team.”

9. Avoid Accusations

Giving tough feedback without losing your cool is one of the toughest parts of working with others. Great leaders and project managers get upset at the mistake, not the person who made it.[3]

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You could say:

  • “We all make mistakes.”
  • “I know you did your best.”
  • “I don’t hold it against you.”

10. Take Responsibility

More often than not, mistakes are made because of miscommunications Recognize your own role in them.

Could you have been clearer in your directions? Did you set the other person up for success?

You could say:

  • “I should have . . .”
  • “Next time, I’ll . . .”

11. Time it Right

Constructive feedback shouldn’t catch people off guard. Don’t give it while everyone is packing up to leave work. Don’t interrupt a good lunch conversation.

If in doubt, ask the person to whom you’re giving feedback to schedule the session themselves. Encourage them to choose a time when they’ll be able to focus on the conversation rather than their next task.

12. Use Their Name

When you hear your name, your ears naturally perk up. Use that when giving constructive feedback. Just remember that constructive feedback should be personalized, not personal.

You could say:

  • “Bob, I wanted to chat through . . .”
  • “Does that make sense, Jesse?”

13. Suggest, Don’t Order

When you give constructive feedback, it’s important not to be adversarial. The very act of giving feedback recognizes that the person who made the mistake had a choice—and when the situation comes up again, they’ll be able to choose differently.

You could say:

  • “Next time, I suggest . . .”
  • “Try it this way.”
  • “Are you on board with that?”

14. Be Brief

Even when given empathetically, constructive feedback can be uncomfortable to receive. Get your message across, make sure there are no hard feelings, and move on.

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One exception? If the feedback isn’t understood, make clear that you have plenty of time for questions. Rushing through what’s clearly an open conversation is disrespectful and discouraging.

15. Follow Up

Not all lessons are learned immediately. After giving a member of your team constructive feedback, follow it up with an email. Make sure you’re just as respectful and helpful in your written feedback as you are on your verbal communication.

You could say:

  • “I wanted to recap . . .”
  • “Thanks for chatting with me about . . .”
  • “Did that make sense?”

16. Expect Improvement

Although you should always deliver constructive feedback in a supportive manner, you should also expect to see it implemented. If it’s a long-term issue, set milestones.

By what date would you like to see what sort of improvement? How will you measure that improvement?

You could say:

  • “I’d like to see you . . .”
  • “Let’s check back in after . . .”
  • “I’m expecting you to . . .”
  • “Let’s make a dent in that by . . .”

17. Give Second Chances

Giving feedback, no matter how constructive, is a waste of time if you don’t provide an opportunity to implement it. Don’t set up a “gotcha” moment, but do tap the recipient of your feedback next time a similar task comes up.

You could say:

  • “I know you’ll rock it next time.”
  • “I’d love to see you try again.”
  • “Let’s give it another go.”

Final Thoughts

Constructive feedback is not an easy nut to crack. If you don’t give it well, then maybe it’s time to get some. Never be afraid to ask.

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Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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