17 Apr Relationship Tips
Tania’s Textbook is about Happiness- using our everyday occurrences as our spiritual teaching school. Although there are no hard and fast ‘must do’ and ‘must do nots’ for the following topics, I will give you from my experience and from people with whom I have shared experiences some general tips in this regard. The first is:
THE DEPTH OF RELATIONSHIPS
Now when it comes to relationships- everyone has different depths that they expect to go. All too often I see people distressed, because it seems they are seeking more from a person or relationship than the other person finds acceptable. When I refer to relationships, I am not just referring to intimate or a partnership style, I mean: friendships, acquaintances, work colleagues, neighbours, relatives-anything. Everyone usually has a few relationships that are quite deep, but for most others my advice is to –
SURF THE RELATIONSHIP
If you dive in head first, thinking everyone’s idea of a relationship equals yours, then you’re headed for an emotional injury. The second tip relates to whether or not it is a good idea in relationships:
TO CONFRONT OR NOT CONFRONT?
Yes- this is indeed the question. I have learned the hard way on this one. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately I have some friends from my early school days and some from when I first started my psychology course many years ago. From the time I was mature enough to even contemplate a confrontation, it worked a dream-maybe because we were psychology students or maybe I had met a like-minded few. My only need for confrontation ever presented amongst a group of about 5 people and issues were resolved swiftly, rendering our relationship on an even higher plane. I have not been so lucky outside of this circle.
What I have learned though is even with close friends; confrontation is not likely to work, regardless of whether or not you approach the subject in a loving way. Sometimes because when you bring up an issue, it often triggers something in the other person that they did not confront you on, and all of a sudden you find yourself on the defence. It can often turn out becoming a contest on “being right”, causing more tension in the relationship.
The main reason I would advise against confrontation is, however, because I have noticed that people encode and reconcile information differently. I have been with a group of people in a situation and heard their varying recompilations of the same event. I have even stopped to wonder, whether we were referring to the same event. You see some people will invariably become the ‘hero of the show’ whilst others will pass on the credit to someone else. Some people only focus on the general, example “we were shopping,” whilst others are quite specific; “we were on the 3rd floor in Myers, in the toy department.”
Either way, they saw it differently. So you could be trying to highlight for example, “how you found that comment offensive” and they have encoded the whole event quite differently and therefore will spend their effort in justifying themselves and telling you that you are mistaken to be “taking offence”. And so nothing changes.
One strategy worth employing, when you feel the need to confront is to ask yourself, “do you really believe the person will change in that respect toward you, and never do it again?” “Will it really change anything?” “Are you really going to assign that much power to another person, over your feelings, that you feel the need to confront them in order to get over whatever has irked you? Keep the power to yourself.
So unless it is that one special person in your life that has a track record of being confrontable- my recommendation is:
NOTHING GOOD WILL COME OUT OF CONFRONTATION
The last point I wanted to pass on is not so much a relationship tip, but something I see a lot of people engage in, as a way of getting to know each other, and that is with:
The ol’, “what would you do if…….happened?” Yes we all do it and it’s a way of us gauging how similarly we think or how compatible we are by nature. It can also be a lot of fun.
However, people answer hypotheticals sometimes in a way they consider might be socially desirable. The biggest consideration is that when you answer a hypothetical question, only your head is in play. There is no emotional component. There is also no real consequence to the action. You‘ve all heard, “I’d kill him if I found out that…” and other similar statements. Sometimes people’s actions can be more motivated by what’s in their head and other times, it depends on what they are feeling at the time. With hypotheticals you are only hearing what the head has to say. In a real situation, the emotions can play a bigger role in determining one’s actions.
A good example of this is in a break-up situation. Generally speaking now- women will find a break-up more difficult whilst they are living with the partner because their emotions are in play. The male counterpart, on the other hand, will find living with the female easier on his emotions because most of the time, this will be when he is thinking with his head. To this end, women living with a partner with whom they are breaking up or fighting will report that their partners have said incredibly heart breaking things to them. A male, is usually operating from a head space and may say hurtful things to his female companion out of anger.
Once the physical separation takes place, the modes will usually reverse. The female will move into her head space, and be less motivated by her emotions and probably begin to cope better. This is usually when the male client will report that his ex has said such hurtful things to him. The male now moves to thinking with his emotions, or his behaviour is more motivated by what he is feeling and the situation now starts to pull on his heart strings. This is usually when the man will want to come back to a relationship, because his actions are being determined by what he is feeling and not by what he is thinking. Of course by this stage, it is not likely that the female’s behaviour will be motivated by ‘what she is feeling’ but probably more by, ‘what she is thinking’.
So whilst hypotheticals can be fun, it’s probably not a good idea to base too much significance on them in terms of finding compatibility in relationship.
The best indication of a person’s character lies in their actions, not in how they answer your hypothetical questions.
As you surf relationships-waves will appear that are best not confronted –hypothetically speaking of course.