Have you ever found yourself in repeated cycles of unhealthy relationships? Are you currently feeling dissatisfied in your current relationship? There are some key factors that are crucial for forming and sustaining healthy relationships. These factors should be considered for any relationship, business and personal.
#1. Maintain clear boundaries
Be clear about what you feel comfortable with within the relationship. If you are being asked to do something that you are not entirely happy with then don’t do it. If the relationship is healthy, the other person will respect your decision. If they continue to pressurise you, then the relationship is showing signs of being unhealthy and you need to consider its future. If you compromise on your boundaries slightly in the first place, then it is easy to compromise on them again and again. Before you know it, you will be so far away from where you initially started out.
Example: Abbie asked Angela to cover for her absence at work so she can spend time with a new boyfriend. Angela prides herself on being honest and is trying to make a good impression with her new boss. Covering for Abbie just once will make it easy for Abbie to ask Angela to cover for her again in the future. Angela does not benefit from doing this but her future relationship with her boss could be jeopardised if she is found out.
#2. Make space and time for yourself
It is important in any relationship that you make time for yourself. We all need time away to reflect on our day-to-day business interactions with people and this is equally important for our personal relationships. To be in a healthy relationship, you need to know your own identity. This is only clear to yourself and others if you make time to do things that you are interested in and have space for yourself.
Example: Sarah has always enjoyed painting but Jon does not like the house to be messy and tells her to pack her stuff away. Sarah agrees to this and stops painting altogether. To begin with Sarah doesn’t mind as it makes Jon happy however as he play rugby on a Sunday despite Sarah wanting to do things as a couple, she eventually starts to resent him. Sarah then becomes increasingly unhappy in the relationship and they begin to argue lots. He eventually leaves and the relationship is over.
#3. Don’t compromise on your values
Relationships don’t tend to last long when the people involved have competing values. Are you even aware of what your values are? For someone who values honesty, being with a person who will bend the truth, will cause conflict. Work relationships are less productive if the organisational values are not consistent with those of their staff.
Find out what the other persons key values are. Are they conflicting with yours? To work out your own values, write a list of all the key words important to you i.e. ambition, honesty, family life, trust etc. score them in order of importance. The top values are the ones that you should not be compromising on.
#4. Don’t be afraid to say no and assert yourself
In order to achieve #1 #2 and #3, you need to be able to say ‘No’. It can be hard to say ‘No” but ask yourself the question, ‘If I say ‘Yes’ what will be the outcome?’ If the answer is ‘No’ then that has to be your answer to the request. It is also useful to consider when people have said ‘No’ to you, has it really been that bad? What would be the worst thing that could happen if you said ‘No?’
If someone generally says ‘No’ the first time, then it is unlikely that they would be asked again for the same thing. Consider the example in #1. If Abbie asked Angela to lie for her and Angela said ‘I’m sorry but I can’t do that for you.’ It would be unlikely that Abbie would ask Angela to do it again in the future. It does not mean that Abbie would think any less of Angela and she may even re-consider her idea to skive from work.
#5. Ensure and equal balance between give and take
It is important in any relationship that there is an equal proportion of give and take. Do you feel that your partner/colleague is giving as much to the relationship / team dynamic as they are getting out of it. In the example in #2, Jon is taking more than giving i.e. he is getting the time out for himself to play rugby but he is preventing Sarah from doing the same with her Art. She is ‘giving in’ to his requests but getting nothing back in return.
In work relationships, id you help a colleague out with a task, do they help you out with something else in the future? If not then the relationship is not balanced and therefore not considered healthy.
#6. Be aware of what you are feeling
This is probably one of the most important things that you should not ignore. Pay attention to what your gut is telling you. If you are allowing your boundaries to be crossed, you will feel uneasy in the pit of your stomach. If you are doing all the compromising, you will feel the resentment build up. Take notice of these feelings, these are the best indicators as to whether the relationship is healthy or not.
#7. Be yourself
Don’t try and be the person that you think the other person wants you to be. It is impossible to sustain that for a long period of time. Be true to who you are and you will be more satisfied within the relationship.
As a Divorce and Relationship Coach I offer face to face coaching via Skype internationally or in person in the Cambridgeshire region of the UK. For more information click here .