Need a cure for conflict? Learn to split-proof your relationships and make them stand the test of time.
Let’s face it: No matter how compatible you are with someone, you can’t always agree on everything. That’s perfectly normal. It’s when you can’t seem to agree on anything that you have to start asking yourself, are there issues that need to be dealt with seriously?
Whether the trouble is with your mom, your best friend, or your special someone, the important thing is to find the cause and fix it. Here are some things you should know to help you stop the sickness at its source—and although they might be easier said than done, they’re worth the effort, because we guarantee you healthier, happier relationships in the end!
First, take care of yourself. It’s corny but true: You can’t give away what you don’t have. Skipping yourself and diving straight into your relationship dilemmas will most likely do you more harm than good. Think of yourself as a ship going out to sea. If you set sail while there are holes in the structure, how can you expect not to sink?
So before you set out, make these two promises to yourself:
“I will be okay no matter what.”
So your parents didn’t allow you to go to that party, your best friend ditched you to be with her other barkada, or your boyfriend forgot your month-sary. So what? Your personal happiness should never depend completely on others. Blaming them when things don’t go your way is childish, not to mention one of the leading causes of relationship problems. Your friends and family will be more inclined to respect your wants and needs when they see you respecting yourself.
“I will have fun.”
Relationship expert Nancy J. Wasson, Ph.D., says, “Don’t wait until your relationships are perfect to plan fun activities for yourself.” Don’t let arguments, fights, or tampuhan be an excuse to be miserable. Set goals for yourself—classes to take, things to learn, and places to visit—and make them happen. Self- improvement leads to peace of mind, and a peaceful, happy you means peaceful, happy relationship as well.
Next, show how much you care. Now that you’re giving some love, it’s time to focus on others. Are the people you care about really getting the TLC they deserve from you? Here are five things you should definitely be doing.
Spend quality time
What it entails: Giving up a weekend out of town for a quiet dinner with Mom and Dad, or taking a rain check on a pool party to stay in and watch iFlix with your boyfriend. In short, it’s about giving those you love more than just the lulls in your busy schedule.
Why it’s important: It makes them feel special, instead of just being an afterthought. You need to show them that given a choice, you’d pick them over a party..at least once in a while.
Fill communication cracks
What it entails: Being honest, telling them about your day, sharing your feelings with them, and in turn, listening to what they have to say.
Why it’s important: Not only does it keep you from drifting apart, it helps stop misunderstandings from getting blown out of proportion. A lot of fights can be avoided this way. Plus, talking—and more essentially, listening—helps you get to know the other person on a deeper level.
What it entails: Finding the up side of the things that annoy you about others. For instance, if our boyfriend is always way too early for your dates, think of it as him being excited to see you. If it drives you nuts that your kuya always hogs the computer, try to remember that he also manages to take you to malls or parties whenever you don’t have a ride.
Why it’s important: Everyone’s got a bad side, including you. It’s only fair that you give others the kind of tolerance they give you. Remember, you’re here to accept them for who they are, not to change them to suit you.
Take the extra step
What it entails: Remembering birthdays and other notable dates (anniversaries, Mother’s Day, that kind of thing), being willing to help when they’re in trouble, and doing things just because.
Why it’s important: It proves that what matters to them matters to you. It’s the best way to show that you don’t take the people you love for granted.
Be worthy of trust
What it entails: Keeping their secrets, respecting their privacy, and being honest and open with them. This applies online as well—re-posting pictures they’ve put on private, or making fights public by announcing it on your status message are surefire ways to wreck any relationship.
Why it’s important: Trust, which is the glue to all relationships, need to be earned. If you really value what you have with the other person, you’ll make the effort to keep their trust in you.