Relationships are an important part of life. The quality of your relationships affects the quality of your life. Unfortunately, we aren’t taught in school how to manage and grow relationships. And many of us didn’t grow up with positive examples of healthy and successful relationships.
However, it’s an important skill to develop.
Enjoy healthy and meaningful relationships with these strategies:
1. Avoid establishing romantic relationships to solve a challenge. Too often, relationships are founded on a problem. The issue might be loneliness, a lack of intimacy, the need for support, or the lack of children. When a relationship is based on fixing a difficulty, there will be troubles in the relationship.
- Start a relationship because you’re impressed by the other person and love the idea of spending more time together. Have something that you want to share, rather than starting a relationship because your life is broken in some way.
2. Realize that no one can read your mind. It’s not reasonable to expect anyone else to correctly guess your needs or opinions. If you won’t make your desires known, you should expect to not have them met. Take responsibility for taking the first step in satisfying your wants and needs by sharing them clearly.
- Address issues before you establish too much emotion around them. A quick talk each day can avoid drama in the future.
3. Fight cleanly. If you’re going to argue, do so in a way that doesn’t create additional challenges. If you say, “I don’t like it when you leave your wet towel on the bathroom floor. Someone could trip on it, and the towel gets a moldy smell. It can’t dry if it’s on the floor,” you’ll have better results than you will by saying, “Why are you such a slob?”
- Address behaviors instead of attacking the other person.
4. Avoid making assumptions. Those that struggle with friendships and romantic relationships make too many assumptions. Sometimes people do and say things that have nothing to do with you.
- The other person might be having a bad day, feel under the weather, or being having challenges at home.
- When you assume that everything is about you, you’re going to be unhappy, and the relationship will suffer.
- Seek clarification rather than making assumptions. Assume there’s a harmless explanation until you know otherwise.
5. Accept the idea that everyone in your life is doing the best they can at that moment. We all have a lot of potential, but that potential varies from moment to moment. No one can give you their best every minute of every day. Some days you will get more than others, just as there will be times in your life that can’t give as much.
6. Understand that no relationship can fulfill all of your needs. Some experts estimate that a relationship can only fulfill about 70% of your needs. You’ll have to find the other 70% somewhere else.
- No one can provide everything you require. It’s necessary to take responsibility for the remainder. Be thrilled with 70%. After all, there are billions of other people, and yourself, to take care of the remaining 30%.
Relationships have the power to make life joyful or miserable. Relationships are challenging, because people have different needs, expectations, and ways of viewing the world. Positive relationships, however, are well-worth the effort.
Ensure that you’re beginning any relationship for positive reasons. If you enter a relationship to solve a difficulty in your life, you’re both likely to end up disappointed. View a relationship as an opportunity to give and to share experiences so your journey together is joyful and fulfilling.