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10 Sure Fire Tips for Happier Relationships

Aug 17, 2007
No one is meant to be alone. No, I'm not talking about some cosmic pre-destined great one true love and all that baloney. I'm talking about regular, human relationships. We have family, we have friends, we have neighbors and workmates that we see every day. In the course of all that social interaction, however, there are always bound to be 'troublesome' moments of confrontation, pain, aggravation, and heartache. Here are ten tips you can take to help you do your part to smooth things over in the way you deal with other people, as well as help the people you know deal with each other.

1) Be sensitive to other people's feelings - empathy is definitely not overrated. Most of the problems with relationships are emotional in nature. Being sensitive to the needs and feelings of other people around you will cause a marked improvement in your dealings with them. Knowing when you're stepping on someone's toes, or when a friend is "not in the mood" will keep you from the dreaded foot-in-mouth disease.

2) Keep an open mind - no one likes shallow, narrow minded people. Keep an open mind with regards to the points of view of others. While they may not say things that you'll always agree with, learning to at least be receptive enough to not be immediately offended by something can go a long way towards diplomacy. Keeping an open mind is a great way to actually turn a potentially troublesome argument into a more productive and even fun debate.

3) Listen more than talk - it's a sad but true fact that most people have the tendency to run off at the mouth. We say things without thinking about it first, and only realize in retrospect that we might have phrased things differently, or perhaps should have kept our silence. By listening more than talking, you become both more receptive to other people's opinions and ideas, and give yourself more time to formulate appropriate responses.

4) Have a sense of humor - if you can make people laugh it goes a long way towards smoothing over relationships with them. If you can even manage the rather rare task of laughing at yourself, it shows a self-deprecating sense of humor that shows people you aren't taking yourself too seriously. You don't need to be a comedian, just know how to laugh and how to make people laugh and have fun.

5) Treat everyone with respect - most people have this preconceived notion that respect must be earned. This is actually an arrogant standpoint that is at the root of a lot of relationship troubles. Respect, rather, should be freely given to others, no matter their point of view and standing, and only retracted when people do something that goes directly and irrevocably against your own personal view of what is right.

6) You are not the center of the universe - a self centered point of view is asking for trouble. The world does not revolve around you, and if you act like it does, then people will most likely leave you to your own little world where you can happily be by yourself.

7) It's not what you say it's how you say it - learn to say things in a diplomatic fashion. There is a time and place for bluntness, for empathy and soft words, and for dry factual recitations. Knowing HOW to present something is important because people will be more apt to listen to you than if you say something in a fashion that they either cannot comprehend or reject outright because your manner of speaking offends them.

8) Be a fire hydrant, not a flamethrower - in social interactions, it's all too easy to be a gossip or to take sides in an argument and fanning the flames. If you overdo these tendencies, you're asking for trouble. Learn to fix arguments and soothe hurt feelings instead of saying things that will only add gunpowder to the bomb.

9) It's give and take - don't be a martyr either. Most of the advice given above may seem to be telling you to be a noble, self-sacrificing lump. This is farthest from the truth. We're all, at heart, entitled to be a little bit selfish. There's nothing wrong with wanting to win, wanting to be happy and loved. Just remember that OTHER people want the same things you do, and you can work WITH them to help each other achieve your goals.

10) Patience is the key - I saved this tip for last for a simple reason. If you think that the above tips will make you deal with people better overnight, you're dead wrong. It will take months, even years of practice, experience, and maturity before you get the formulas right. And even then you'll need to keep learning and adjusting, because every day will bring new people into your life, with new points of view, new ideas, and new attitudes.
About the Author
Tell your story! Pick up tips and tricks to help improve relationships and enhance your life free of addictions. Join our growing community. The author, Bill Urell MA.CAAP-II, is an addictions therapist at a leading drug treatment center. He teaches healthy life styles and life skills. Visit us at: http://www.addictionrecoverybasics.com/
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