Let’s table the super big and obvious reasons why any relationship you’re in would fail, be it with a client, spouse, friend or child. Things like lying, cheating or stealing from someone you are in a relationship with are the big three that have to be avoided and if made habits of will be destructive.
For this article, let’s focus on the 5 “creeper” habits that can ruin any relationship. These are the things that “creep” up on you. You do them enough and they’re a pattern. That pattern then erodes the foundation of your connection with that person and ultimately leads to relationship failure. Here they are:
1. Taking the other person for granted
There was this statistic that I found out about from my friend Jeanie Patterson that said that 68% of customers stop doing business with you because of perceived indifference. Basically, they just don’t think you care. Oprah said at the end of her 25 years of doing her show that the big thing she had learned was that people want to be heard. If you don’t take some time to hear what someone you’re in a relationship is saying to you and you don’t recognize and thank that person for what they are giving to you (their love or their money or their friendship or their kindness) then you are going to be a heap of trouble.
2. Not making the effort to communicate
Let’s face it. Consistent and effective communication is an effort. For many men, and woman as well, the idea of having to do regular “check-ins” to see how things are going with the person they’re in a relationship with seems unimportant. If everything seems to be fine, why would you have to check-in and see how things are. Well, you really need to. People don’t always tell you what they are thinking – many times they just tell you what they think you want to hear. Going along with things and not making waves is what most people want to do in order to avoid conflict. Silence can not be properly interpretted either. One person’s silence is a measure of contentment and the another person’s silence means they are withdraw and angry. The problem comes, like a volcano, when the pressure of holding back becomes too much and and an explosion happens. Put it on your calendar to do regular check-ins with anyone you’re in an important relationship with. They deserve to be heard.
3. Forgetting why you’re in the relationship in the first place
If we remembered why we started a relationship in the first place we could probably stay on track much better and have better experiences with people. Waking up every day and remembering why you walked down the isle and married your spouse could be helpful in keeping you focused on the true meaning behind your relationship. Going into the office and reviewing your customer list and remembering how hard you worked to attract and service them and how generous they were to choose you and your business over your competitors would help you make better decisions every day on how to thank them for that and serve them better. Remember they why in every relationship.
4. Not being honest… with yourself or them
I mean really honest. Honest looks like this. You tell the other person when you are unhappy and give them an opportunity to fix it if they can. You tell a company when they’ve done something to upset you so they can become a better company because of that information. You tell your employee when they aren’t performing at the level you expect of them. You discuss with a neighbor when they are doing something that is infringing on your privacy or peace of mind. More importantly, you need to be honest with yourself. Be honest about how you feel. Be honest with yourself by owning your feelings and your actions. Don’t be cruel with yourself, just be honest and look at the reality of what you need to own at any given time. We all have parts in the play. What was your part and what was theirs?
5. Not honoring your commitments
This is such a hard one to do all the time and it is a daily practice that none of us can master. It’s the practice of this principle that improves us, though. Do you honor the commitments you make to yourself? If you tell yourself you are going to do something do you do it? Do you let other people and priorities get in the way of what you know you need to do for you? It’s starts with you. If you can’t say yes and no to you, then you’re going to find it really hard to do it with other people you’re having a relationship with. No is an amazing word that will transform you. If your YES is big enough you have to say no to things. Your life, food, and time plates can only hold so much. If those are filled with the things that will ultimately make you joyful, happy, healthy and have really fulfilling relationships they are going to have some really big YESes on them that will force you to have to say no more often. Trust me, it will be worth it, though. The people you say yes to, including yourself, will be very happy with you.