3 Secrets to Satisfying Relationships

 In Blog, Satisfying Relationships

…whether it’s with your boss, your partner, or someone else.

(Time to read: ~3 minutes)

1) Have a confidential place to vent outside the relationship

The truth is that no person and no relationship is perfect – at least I haven’t heard of any.

We all benefit from an opportunity to blow off stream – to express our anger, hurt or frustration – so we can get at the fuller, deeper truth of what we’re really wanting in the relationship.

I think of it like peeling off the old, dry layer(s) of an onion, to get at the juicy bit inside.

But doing this venting to the other person is likely to add extra layers to the conflict, which will then all need to be removed again – just to get back to the original, basic conflict.

And removing the these “secondary” conflict layers is almost always much more painful than the original conflict.

It’s just far more effective to do the venting to a safe, supportive third party first.

Then to talk to the other person in the relationship about how you’d like things to be different, if that still seems important.

(Note: It is important that the third party knows how to listen compassionately to your venting without falling in to the trap of agreeing with the judgments that can form a wall between you and the person you’re venting about.)

2) Address what’s not working

One of the risks of having a supportive place to vent is that it can make us feel better.

That sounds like a good thing – how could it be a problem?

It becomes a problem when, feeling the temporary relief we get from venting, we tell ourselves “It’s not that big a deal. It’s not worth bring up. I’m over it.”

That may be true. But if you find yourself venting about the same basic issue again, that’s a pretty good indication that there is something that needs to be addressed in the relationship, to make it work better for both of you.

But many of us still tend to avoid bringing things up because we don’t know how to have these conversations about something we’d like to be different, in a way that makes things better and not worse.

See below this article for opportunities to learn some different approaches to having this kind of challenging conversation.

3) Appreciate what is working

This becomes much easier to do when we’ve addressed things that aren’t working for us.

And there does seem to be something about how many of us are built that naturally focuses our attention on what’s not working.

Undoubtedly this has had survival value – keeping us from being eaten by sabre-tooth tigers, for example.

But, unchallenged, this perspective can rob us of much enjoyment of life.

The good news is that we have a choice. We can spend some time each day intentionally focusing on what is working in our relationships.

This ends up giving us a triple benefit, because having an awareness of the benefits of the relationship affects how we come across when bring up things we’d like to be different.

And having this awareness also makes it easier for us to notice what’s working in other aspects of our lives, so we can enjoy all of it more!

Your Turn

What would you like to appreciate about yourself and your relationships?

Is there one area or relationship that you’d like to work on, to make your life even better?


Can we help?

If you are looking for a safe, supportive place to vent, we offer two options:

  • Our practice groups provide short-ish opportunities for venting & next steps
  • For bigger issues, or sensitive situations in which confidentiality is really important, you can talk to Glenda for periods of time from 15 minutes to 2 hours or more.

If you’d like to learn how to address things that aren’t working, great timing!

There are two group workshops coming up in the next two months
(not offered again until the spring):

  • The Key 80% of Communication – how to make your non-verbal communication be connecting, without having to “change yourself” or do anything that doesn’t feel natural
    Sat-Sun Oct 20-21
  • Effective Dialogue: Preparation and Roadmap to Successful Outcomes – what to say and when to say it, to move things smoothly toward a lasting solution – Sat-Sun Nov 17-18
  • Want the training but these dates don’t work for you?
    Or you live too far away to attend?

    These exact same trainings are offered one-on-one at a time that works for you – in just half a day – and for the same cost. They are also offered one-on-one by phone or Skype, and can be broken up into smaller chunks, to give your ear a break!
    Click the link(s) above and scroll to the bottom of the page – click on the one-on-one option to schedule a time that works for you.

Photo credits:
Cherries – © Anna Kucherova – Fotolia.com
Painting – © Sergej Khackimullin – Fotolia.com
Balloons – © Africa Studio – Fotolia.com

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