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Tips for Creating

Successful Relationships

We all want successful relationships in our life. Whether that relationship is with a significant other, a child, a co-worker, or a friend—successful relationships help make life more enjoyable. A key question is how to keep those relationships from becoming stressors in your life.

To help you navigate the many relationships you have, here are some tips for cultivating successful relationships:

  • Logic prompts people to think, but emotion prompts them to act. Communicate on both levels.
  • When someone upsets you, rather than talk about the person, focus on the behavior or comment that prompts upsetting or negative feelings.
  • Share your feelings about the effects of what someone does or says. It’s healthy and aids relationships to say, “That comment really hurt me.” If you don’t tell the person what is bothering you, you may not fix what really is just a misunderstanding.
  • Remember that if another person acts rudely, that doesn’t make the person an ogre for a lifetime.
  • Describe breakdowns as “mutual” difficulties or challenges, rather than as something inflicted upon you by another person.
  • Much anger expressed maliciously is actually self-anger, which is being transferred to protect one’s own self-image. In this regard, one of my favorite questions is, “Are you angry with me or with a situation?” The question immediately prompts reflection and often results in an apology.
  • On occasion, let silence reign. These can be healthy periods for reflection. Resist the temptation to think of silence as a means to infuriate you.
  • Break tension through a nice, minor gesture—or something humorous, Offer something to drink, a kind word, a pleasant mutual memory, or something to momentarily redirect attention.
  • Ask for the other person’s help. It is a rare situation when you will ask someone (especially a younger person) for assistance and receive a negative response. Preface the request by saying, “I need your help on this.”
  • An adult can discipline a young person while still keeping good relationships when the practices of Discipline Without Stress are employed: (1) thinking about the positive (rather than the negative), (2) offering choices, and (3) prompting reflection.

Tip: When you invest the time and effort in the above suggestions, you’ll experience more fulfillment and less stress.

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