Your best friend tells you how anxious she is. The natural response to this is to try and cheer her up. You tell her to calm down or get a grip on things. You tell her things could be worse. Your intentions are good. You want to be a good friend and cheer her on. […]
Its easy to complain about another person and much harder to work on ourselves. When you really think about what you can do to make a relationship better, it usually comes down to you making changes. So I’ve come up with 10 things you can do to improve your relationship. Read through the list. One of two or all of them may speak to you.
1) Don’t make assumptions about the person or situation. It is easy to assume and not ask, about perceptions, motivations or reactions. When we do make assumptions, we are often wrong. Even when you know someone very well, you can still get it wrong. Ask, don’t assume.
2) Don’t take it personally when conflict comes up. Stay positive and believe the person is trying to work through problems. Conflict is normal in a relationship. Learn on to handle its that when it comes, problems are resolved.
3) Don’t blame or criticize. Blame and criticism are the beginning of a downward turn in a relationship. Discuss your concerns but lose the blame. Focus on the positives, not the criticism.
4) Don’t avoid problems and hope they magically work out. Avoidance may work temporarily but is not a good strategy to deepen intimacy. Confront issues.
5) Go after the problem or behavior, not the person’s character. It’s easy to attack someone when we disagree or have conflict. But a focus on the person versus the problem will bring defensiveness and negative feelings.
6) Keep conflict between the people it involves. Don’t triangulate others into your issues. Go directly to the person who is involved and work it out with them.
7) Work out your problems in private, not in public. While it might be tempting to impulsively address a personal issue in public, this is not a good idea. You don’t need an audience, only the person involved. Keep it private.
8) Don’t bring up problems when you don’t have the time to deal with them. This is frustrating to a relationship. Timing is important. Choose a time to bring up an issue that allows for plenty of discussion and reflection. Don’t do it when someone is tired, distracted or overly stressed.
9) Wait to discuss issues when you are calm and not upset. Not when you are upset, angry, not feeling well or especially irritated. Conflict goes much bette when we are rested and emotionally controlled.
10) Keep your private problems off social media or email– deal with them in person with the people involved. It’s humiliating and embarrassing when people chose to put their personal problems for the world to see. Do your friend, partner or family member a favor and talk to them directly. Nothing gets solved on social media.