Thinking about this week’s blog post, I looked around the internet and came across something that sparked me to rethink what I had thought about relationships. After reading an article from Lori on her blog Heygetaroom.net, it got me to think about my previous article.
Every interaction we have is a “relationship,” whether casual acquaintance, friend or spouse/girlfriend, son or daughter. If we have all of these “relationships,” how do we get them and keep them healthy? Looking at Psychology Today, they had several articles covering each of these relationships, but all had these underlining suggestions.
Turn off technology when you interact.
When you interact with any of the above groups, technological devices, as small as this may seem, show the other person you are not available for communication. They have said that someone can multi-task, it does not mean they can do it all at once. Growing up without the plethora of technology, I do not see a big problem for me when addressing someone, although if you look and take note of your surroundings, you see technology in everyone’s hand all the time. Your children may have these same devices. We try to limit our children’s time on these devices at our home and show that they have a purpose, not just for entertainment. Bottom line, if you care about that other person, put it down for the moment.
Express appreciation regularly.
This is a fact that people overlook regularly. After a time, all relationships feel normal, and can typically, things get taken for granted. The lifelong friend, spouse, or even child can go stale, and things become routine. With things ending up routine, it can end up disastrous for some relationships. You must maintain open communication and express gratitude from time to time. It could be a simple “thank you” for something they did that helped you. It does not have to be a big over-extravagant thing. You would be surprised at how far this will go in your relationships. I am not too good at this in my relationships, and I admit I have to work harder to show any of my relationships gratitude more often. Think about this, how many friendships or connections do you have that you have delivered gratitude to? I would say that the answer is not nearly enough, if at all. Without showing any appreciation, this will erode the relationship over time.
Don’t have Assumptions or Expectations that are Exaggerated.
Assumptions happen far too often with the lack of communication that we have. We all have expectations and assumptions about what we have from the other person. Gary Vaynerchuk states that so many people are worried about what other people think of them, so they are constantly let down. He combats this by defaulting to empathy for the other person. In particular, I expect someone to do their job. Whatever that is, everything else is a plus. In relationships, as I have previously stated, have always come and gone. I am changing how I treat my relationships as I tend to keep closer contact with those I meet. Although my contacts have grown, I still do not expect things from them. We each help each other when we can, and share ideas, nothing more, nothing less.
Be Honest and get away from Cynicism
No one likes Sarcasm! It is easy to dish out but harder to take. It only goes to tear people down. We should be all about building people up. If you have a relationship with someone nine times out of ten, there are beneficial parts of that relationship for both. Bite your tongue with Sarcasm, but be honest. I know that everyone has heard the old saying, “Honesty is the best policy,” well, it is true. When you have those moments, especially with family (spouse, children), not being honest is the sure-fire way to go down the road of distrust and ruin. Being honest is not being brutal; there is a fine line with communicating the truth, words have meaning, things said can not be unsaid, and the damage will be done regardless of intention.
The whole point of this article was to re-evaluate your daily interactions, the deep relationships, and the superficial ones. Following some of the above guidelines will help improve your communication and enrich those relationships. Humans are social by nature, Simon Sinek’s great words, we need each person we meet to help influence and learn from. If you cannot get past some of these ideas, you will end up like Clint Eastwood in Gran Turino, sitting alone on your porch, hating the world. This is no place for men. We are meant to be an influence to others, to be leaders, and to be there when needed.
To continue the conversation, go to the Community section on the site. I made this to make the “communication” part easier. Not everyone is ready to talk openly about their issues, ask for advice, and help others. There you can create your own user name and be just in the community. Come check it out!