Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Rules for healthy relationships

1. Be open. You are a nice ordinary human and so is everyone you meet.

2. Set your boundaries clearly and politely. This I will take, that I will not. Listen for the other person's boundaries too, and respect them.

3. Trust people to mean well by you. Everyone deserves a second and a third and an nth chance. Of course, your own boundaries must be clearly set to make this work.

4. Ask for what you want. Spell it out, we all have language now to fill in the gaps produced by head-scratching.

5. If you must refuse a request, give valid reasons and show respect. Ideally, speak the truth.

6. Accept a refusal graciously, it is our right as free people both to ask and to refuse.

7. Make eye contact and listen. Don't interrupt, don't play with your cellphone, laptop, don't ignore what anyone says to you.

8. Everyone has a right to their privacy. Respect it.

9. You cannot like everyone. Everyone cannot like you. Its ok.

10. No one agrees on everything. Most people have a predictable response to conflict - fight or flight or both. Find out which works best for you and work together on a system that can isolate each fight, resolve it and move forward, instead of provoking a nuclear chain reaction

11. Sometimes its very hard to understand another person's motivations. Don't minimize what someone says or does, just because it doesn't look like a big deal to you. In fact, don't minimize for any reason, no one just randomly does stuff.

12. Respect people, everyone is important, everyone has something to say and to show. Do not hurt or humiliate another human being as far as possible. No good ever comes of it.

13. Any relationship is only as strong as the unhappiest person on it. There are no magical fixes, it takes massive investments of time and work from both parties to heal a relationship in trouble. When the unhappiness becomes prolonged and unbearable, without a solution to work toward, have courage to let go and move on. Life is too short to waste.

14. Aim to increase your tolerance for people, its worth it.

15. Forgive yourself. There are no defined amounts of "shit" each of us must take before its time to move on. If its too much for you, its too much. No one else has the right to judge.

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