Understanding Relationships

Family

Relationships are like doing business If you’re not willing to take a risk and invest and commit to it then you’re not gonna win. And remember, in business, or in life really, you win some and you lose some.

It is foolish for a person to decide to never invest again because he invested and lost. Rather, he should learn from his mistakes and become a better investor. His mistakes should lead him to better understand when to invest and when not to. Similarly, those who decide to never trust anyone because they trusted the wrong people are wrong to take such a decision.

And a clever investor doesn’t invest all of his capital in one basket with 100% confidence. Similarly, those who place all their hope on one person almost worshiping him are not clever. Humans are imperfect so if you raise someone too high you will be shattered when they err, and believe me they will err.

Types of Relationships

The first thing that comes to mind when we say relationships is usually a man and a woman. However, relationships can include all sorts such as business, family, friends and so on. Some of those relationships we choose by ourselves and others are chosen for us such as our siblings and parents.

However, all of them are equally important and it is essential to try to understand those relationships in order to maintain them and to get the most out of them. We must understand what it is that holds relationships together and why relationships break down. Once you understand this then you can apply that to your relationship with your siblings, your parents, your spouse, your boss and any other relationship that you have.

Remember that every relationship is different and there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to relationships. Here you well get some general tips which you can then customize to suit your situation.

Common Interests

Friendship and Common Interest

If you were to think of your best friends you will probably find so much in common. That’s what you’ve built your relationship on, these common interests. Even if you’re thinking “actually my best friend is so different to me”, you will find at least one common interest that is more important than all your other interests and that’s why you two have such a strong bond.

Think of any company, what is it that brings all the employees and managers together? What I’d like to hear is “the vision or mission of the company” but most people are probably thinking “I worked for the money and not the actually company’s goals”.

However, one thing is for sure. Those who actually believed in the mission of the company and felt deeply about it are far more likely to stay. That’s because they share a strong common interest or purpose if you like. That’s what holds them together through the tough times and they stay even when it doesn’t seem to be in their personal favor. Obviously if the employee felt the company didn’t care about them then they’d leave, why should he stay and suffer for a company that would get rid of him if it suited them?

It is essential to apply the same concept to our relationships with our spouses, our siblings and all other relationships. We need to have a strong common purpose in life that brings us together and we need to care about each other and be there for one another. Find some common ground, take interest in their interests and show them that you care!

Understanding Each Other

Understanding

Having common interests and stopping at that is all well and good if you’re just acquaintances or barely friends. However, if you want to develop strong relationships, understanding of the other individual is key.

I’m sure we can all think of situations where we’ve dealt with really kind and caring people who may have had some common interests. But if they don’t understand you on a deep level then that relationship can only go so far. I for one can definitely say that my closest friends are those who understand me. They understand my feelings, my thoughts and my actions. This doesn’t mean that they can read your mind, it just means you don’t have to explain your every breath and they most likely feel what you feel and think what you think a lot of the time or at least they really understand it.

Trust is The Key

Trust

Trust is a two-way street and if there’s no trust in a relationship then the relationship will fall apart sooner or later. But, don’t expect to be trusted. You must earn trust and you must maintain it.

As for giving trust, you must be careful. If you trust the wrong people and allow them close to you, it will be painful when you realize that they were not worthy of your trust. Does this mean that you should distrust people until they prove trustworthy? No it doesn’t. What is meant here is don’t distrust or trust anyone automatically. Take your time and assess their words, actions and your gut feelings.

However, referring back to the introduction, do not distrust everyone just because you have been trusting the wrong people in the past. Learn from your mistakes and you will be able to spot dishonest people earlier on in the relationship.

Manage Your Expectations

No one is actually perfect. We’re humans! We need imperfection. We need challenges. That’s what keeps us going. There’s always something we can improve in ourselves and in our world. So if you’re not perfect then why do you expect your spouse to be perfect? Why do you expect your siblings or friends to be so?

Failing to manage expectations can lead to massive problems in relationships. It leads to intolerance because every time you expect perfection and receive something less, and you always will, then you will be disappointment. This constant disappointment and complaining about other peoples’ shortcomings will drive them away from you.

Realise that friends, family and even your spouse will not meet your expectations at times and perhaps quite often. At times, they will let you down, hopefully unintentionally. And that’s ok. There’s nothing wrong with being let down by a friend unintentionally. How often have you let your own self down? You say you’ll wake up at a certain time or do a certain thing and you just don’t due to whatever reason. So why is it when you have let your own self down that you expect others won’t let you down? We’re only human!

Choosing Your Future

Choosing Your Direction in Life

Choosing your relationships is a decision that affects your future.The people choose to hang out with will decide where you end up in life. If you choose to be friends with unambitious people with no desire to achieve anything in life then you will have to leave them sooner or later or you will end up the same. So choose your relationships carefully. The best relationships are those where each one is encouraging the other to be better and do more rather than staying still and not moving up in life.

I leave you with this quote “It is better to sit alone than to sit in bad company and it is better to sit in good company than to sit alone”.

Recommendation: I would strongly recommend reading Dale Carnegie’s ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People. This book was truly a turning point for me regarding how I dealt with people. I’ve attached a link to the best price I could find on the internet :)!

6 comments

  1. I love how you talked about ways to strengthen a relationship. I also think common interests are important. However, I do wonder how important. My ex-husband and I had an abundance of interests in common… right down to similar career paths. We had a lot of fun, but our marriage didn’t last very long. I’m on my second marriage to a man who is so different from me, I’m still not sure why we thought it was a good idea to get married. 12 years later, and I can’t image life without him. He’s a keeper. I’d say our differences provide balance.

    I think it’s wonderful to have people in relationships that complement one another. I really love this article. It gives me warm fuzzy feelings. 🙂

    1. Lovely to hear from you and your wonderful experience, Renee. I definitely agree that difference can be good. I think it’s more important to have common values. All my friends are quite different to me but we usually share 1 or 2 things that are central to our lives such as our faith for example.

  2. You make some very valid points in this post. I think you are right that people often expect the people they love and rely on to never let them down, however it is not realistic to expect this all the time. It’s when these people continually let you down that you really start to question the relationship. Relationships are a two-way street – one can’t put in less than the other and expect even more again. Your final quote is great! Where did you find it?

    1. Hi Megan. I agree completely. We can’t expect perfection but of course you would like to depend on those that are close to you.

      The quote is actually a saying by Prophet Muhammad that I found when I was young and it’s really helped me get through life and be a better person.

  3. I think you brought up some very good points. What resonated with me the most was the reminder that we are not perfect creatures. I sometimes struggle with this and find myself holding exceptionally high standards for myself and those around me, as if they need to fit into my mold of what they should be. This is very humbling; thank you for the reminder.

    What are your thoughts on repairing trust in a relationship?

    1. Hey Bill, I’m glad to hear that you benefited.

      Well I’m no expert but repairing trust has to be wanted by both sides of the relationship. What I mean by this is if I was to let someone down and hence damage our trust then I can only try so hard to regain trust. However if that other person doesn’t believe in me and doesn’t give me a chance to regain trust then eventually I will stop trying and it won’t happen. Similarly if that person does believe in me and gives me chances yet I do not actually make any real effort to rebuild trust then there will be no trust.

      You often see relationships either with parents and their kids or even a husband an wife, and you’d see, for example, the parent being displeased with the child and constantly expressing that. There’s nothing wrong with a parent expressing displeasure with a child’s bad behavior but never make them feel like you don’t believe in them or that you think they’ll never change. Express displeasure through love. Let them know you’re unhappy because you love them and want better for them. This also applies to a relationship between husband and wife or siblings and so on.

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