Suggestions for Improving Relationships
- Listen closely what is being said and reflect back what you heard. Pay attention to what is being said rather than preparing a defense or rebuttal.
- Be patient when listening. Allow the other person to finish what they are saying without interrupting them.
- Accept constructive criticism. Ask yourself if what is being said to you is true and, if so, see it as an opportunity to make healthy changes.
- Focus on yourself. Often people focus on others and want others to change. See what you could change.
- Accept responsibility for your actions and the impact that they have.
- Take care of yourself. Be mindful of caretaking tendencies and pay attention to your needs and wants.
- Be realistic of what you can hope for and expect from yourself and others. Don't expect others to meet all of your needs or to fill your "holes" or emptiness. This only leads to disappointment.
- Show appreciation for the other person verbally and/or with a hug and/or with a short note or with something you know the other person will enjoy.
- Show appreciation for yourself. Acknowledge the many things that you do through the day and appreciate yourself for your efforts.
- Negotiate and compromise. Things cannot always go the way that we want them to. Putting aside our needs, at times, is healthy.
- Use "I" statements. Say "I feel _________ when you do __________" or "when you do _______ I feel _________". Often people will begin a discussion with a "you" statement that is blaming. This results in a person becoming defensive and responding in a blaming manner.
- Share psychic and physical space. Be mindful and respectful of the boundaries of others.
- Identify your own internal conflicts and "issues" and be aware of how you might "project" these onto others.
- Focus on strengths rather than weaknesses.
- Learn about the interests and needs of your friend or partner.
- Set aside time to talk and share regularly.
- Look for themes in your relationship(s) and determine whether they existed in other relationships.
- Understand that relationships change and evolve over time, that they have "ups and downs" and that they require time and attention.
- Understand that in order to have a healthy relationship with someone else that you need to have a healthy relationship with yourself.
Copyright 2014 Jeff Schneider, all rights reserved.