Relationships are hard. Until they’re not. Or at least not that hard. I believe we’ve all seen those couples who simply seem to “fit”. They go along very well, they complete each other’s sentences, they laugh of a joke only they understand and it just feels that everything is right. And it makes you wonder. What can you do to feel the same with your partner, but also with friends and even family and relatives?
What you can do is definitely up to you – and it takes applying some of the relationships emotional intelligence principles. They can be found in much more detail in Albert Ellis’s book about “Making Intimate Connections: Seven Guidelines for Great Relationships and Better Communication”. Let’s discuss briefly these 7 principles in the upcoming lines. Think about them as you read them and try to evaluate if you behave like this or not really?
Accept the other “as is”
Or in other words – don’t try to change him or her. You either like the others for what they are, or not. Of course they have flaws. We all do. But can you live with these flaws without trying to change them and wish for the other to be “a better person”?
The best relationships are the ones where each partner is happy with himself/herself, and happy to spend time and enjoy the other’s company as it comes. When you channel your energy onto changing the other, there goes the positive energy, and blame kicks in. And we know how blame can harm any relationship.
Imagine you can accept the flaws. How happy can you be now that you’re free to enjoy the good as well?
As important as accepting the other as is, expressing appreciation for what you like is building a lot into relationships. Being honest about the smallest things you like and telling it openly and sincerely builds trust and openness.
As opposed to the no. 1 relationships killer, which is constant criticism, appreciation is the true language of love. You’ve noticed for sure that people who are in love talk about their partner like some sort of a superhero. They do tend to view all these qualities in exaggeration. And this is actually perfect for any relationship. It’s a manifestation of love, respect and affection.
Honest communication in relationships
This goes hand in hand with stopping the need to punish the other for being honest with you. Even if that honesty hurts your feelings, or ego.
It is hard to be honest – especially during an argument or heated conversation. We tend to want to win instead of admitting we‘re wrong, especially when we realize that we’re wrong during the argument. Being honest means the courage to admit you’re wrong, to put yourself out there and be humble.
Opening up in such a way will generate a similar response and behavior in the other. And the relationship will just get better and better in time, as opposed to cultivating a spirit of lying, dishonesty and lack of integrity. These will only be deceptive and create distance in any relationship.
Agree to disagree
Imagine this. You and your partner have different wishes about how to spend the weekend. He wants to do something different than what you have in mind.
The first scenario would be that you insist he comes along with you, because at some point he made a promise, because you two should be together or because everyone else comes with their partners.
The second scenario is that you listen to him. You understand his need to follow his plan, understand his point of view and connect with him. Show him you get him. Then explain your point of view. Open up and be honest about your needs and wants and wishes. But the honest ones, not the manipulative ones.
No matter if then you decide you spend the weekend together or not – which of the two scenarios builds up the relationship instead of tearing it apart?
No matter the argument, connecting while truly listening and agreeing to disagree builds up trust, confidence, attachment and well-being in any relationship.
Be their biggest fan
Your partner or best friend has a goal you might agree or disagree with. No matter what, supporting him or her in achieving that goal is a very important thing for your relationship.
Even if pursuing that goal goes bad, and you have disagreed, supporting your partner will avoid the relationship going bad. But if it goes well, celebrating and being honestly happy about the success is something your partner will always remember with joy.
One can be wrong
If the goal your partner or friend is pursuing is not right, you can argue and give reason but in the end, being their fan is the wise thing to do.
Still, once he or she realizes it was all wrong, understand that this is a right they have. We’re all humans and we can be wrong sometimes. Or many times. And that’s ok. The last thing we need is our dearest friends or lover to tell us “I told you so”. On the contrary, we need connection, support and love. This is what will bond the relationship and make the two of you really grow.
Relationships shoulds and musts
Understanding that your partner of friend shouldn’t or mustn’t necessarily do what you want them to do is a very hard thing to grasp. They’re not your puppy nor child to listen and obey.
Try transforming these demands into preferences. Your friend shouldn’t come with you at that party. But you’d like her to. Your partner mustn’t meet your grandparents yet. You’d just preferred she will.
Usually, transforming demands into expressing preferences and basically giving options works very well into actually having your friend or lover join you in your preferences. Give it a go!
Hope these lines about relationships emotional intelligence make sense now. I’d love a comment or question from you – so feel free to do so below. Also, if you’d like to never miss a blog post from Work and Life Balance blog, join the newsletter list. No spam, no ads, I promise!