Now that spring is here, I thought I’d offer a few tips for some “relationship spring cleaning.”
Try these with your partner, friends, family, or even coworkers.
1. Listen more. Even if the other person already does most of the talking, how carefully do you typically listen? Challenge yourself to tune in to what they’re saying, rather than letting your mind wander.
2. Make time. The word “relationship” may be a noun, but “relate” is a verb. It’s something you do, not something you have. Relating takes time and attention, but these pay huge dividends.
3. Be the change you want to see in the relationship. Anything you want more of — understanding, respect, patience — give it to the other person. Relationships change when one person does something differently.
4. Replace old habits with new ones. It’s hard to remember to not-do something, so instead, pick a new habit and start doing that. Instead of criticizing, validate. Instead of over-helping, pay attention to your breath.
5. Have the talk you’ve been needing to have. Use “I” statements and take responsibility for your part. Be clear on where you want things to go from here.
6. Feed the relationships you want to grow. All of the above steps do that. Also tell the people you like or love how you feel about them. Don’t assume they know.
7. Starve the relationships you no longer want. Be kind to people who have accidentally been allowed to wander into your life, but don’t give them your energy. You don’t have to kick a stray cat if you want it to go away. All you have to do is not feed it.
Do you have a relationship tip to share? Please leave a comment below.