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This article is written for those who have lived long enough and/or are perceptive enough to wonder about problems with human relationships. The main topic is about going beyond identifying problems to see how some people succeed in having enjoyable relationships and workable partnerships. Three major ways of successfully building relationships are described.
Many of us have had the experience of liking someone initially, only to have problems appear that derail the relationship. We have heard and made complaints that start with “You don’t ...” or “You always … (fill in any criticisms)” The complaints come in all variations concerning who is right, good or fair.
Yet people can and do deal with these and many other relationship problems. How do they go on to have a long satisfying connection? What does it take to get though the hindrances, especially when feelings get hurt, and get to enjoy realistic goals?
Attention Relationships have to be fed, cared for and cultivated to succeed. Paying attention to each other provides a necessary foundation. This means being aware of signals for communication and connection. Self-awareness is also important for recognizing our own habits (such as TV, reading and Internet) that might be barriers. Clarifying each others expectations is very valuable for agreeing on the specifics of desired attention.
Interaction A manager with years of leadership experience, but suffering from a second failed marriage, said he should have emphasized the “4 C's” of relationships at home. These C’s stand for pivotal interactions of Communication, Consideration, Cooperation and Conciliation. Research has shown that supportive communication skills, especially in de-escalating conflict, are essential. Lightening up tension with friendly humor can be helpful. Listening actively is a big help. For a guide to this communication skill, go to Reflecting Another’s Feelings.
Motivation: Individual motives are the driving energy of life. Motivation carries the emotions that set things into motion. If both your sets of values are uncovered, then mutually satisfying goals and overlapping purposes may be found. Interviews with hundreds of people show that they love the one who helps them be more of their truly valued self.
To build positive relationships, focus on solutions for bringing out the best in each other; look for ways of improving the relationship. Check the criticism. Letting go of irrelevant, trivial and superficial items, will allow getting on with vital priorities. Then, complementing each other in a trusting caring manner will be easier.Attention, Interaction and Motivation spell “AIM”. This can be a memory aid for relationship skills. If you AIM well at your target, you have a much better chance of reaching it.
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