How to stay in Relationship with ANYONE!

by Nadee Karunaratna on March 14, 2012

Stay in Relationship with AnyoneFor many people, the word relationship is associated with their spouse or partner. If you search the net, you will notice thousands and thousands of pages with the information on “How to make better relationship”. Out of these, 99% articles deal with relationship with a partner. The other relationships with your parents, kids, colleagues, superiors, subordinates, friends and social acquaintances are simply ignored. All these relationships are vitally important for you and your happiness. Forming any kind of relationship is easy. Yet staying in it and maintaining a flourishing and rewarding relationship takes more than you being yourself. Therefore, giving some thought and time to the discussion of how to stay ‘happily’ in any relationship would never go wasted. 

Here are a few simple, yet very effective ways to stay in a lasting and mutually rewarding relationship with ANYONE.

Praise gets you everywhere

This is a universal truth. Here’s the disclaimer though. You have to ‘mean’ what you say, so the person who receives the praise ‘feels’ it. I know this by experience. When I praise my husband for helping me with household chores, he wants to do it even more. When my husband says you look beautiful in a dress, unconsciously I go and shop for similar looking outfits. When my manager praised me for some job well done, I used to do it even better next time. When I praise my daughter for eating and behaving well in a restaurant, she is behaves even better next time. This is simple psychology.  When I started learning to drive I was the worst ever! I could not do right turns for the longest time. Yet my instructor never ‘criticized’ me. He never said ‘no. that is not how you do it’. He always said ‘let me show you. You can do this’ or ‘once you started driving on your own you will laugh at these’. After every lesson he would say ‘you did well today’ and mention some area I have improved. He never once said ‘oh what are you doing’ nor did I ever ‘feel’ he was thinking it. His body language, aura everything was perfectly in sync with what he was saying. After 86 only 86 hours of driving (standard is 150 hours) I did my instructor’s best driving test. (He has been in this profession for over 20 years)

I realized not only praise, but also the way you say things matter. The words you use, body language, eye contact, everything conveys the true feeling of what you are saying. You can use a bunch of sugary words yet, the receiver always instinctively knows whether you mean what you say. If you have to give a negative answer or an opinion, phrase it differently rather than an outright, in the face ‘NO’. When my daughter asks for something I would not give her I’d say ‘when you are big enough I will buy you nail varnish of all the different colors’ and mention all the colors she likes rather than an easy ‘no. not yet. This is not good for you’.  

Always remember the answers to these two questions.

  • What is the most important time? Right now. Because right now is the time the future is made.
  • Who is the most important person? The person in front of you right now.

This wisdom again came from a talk from Venerable Ajhan Brahm. My two year old daughter is a perfect example for a person living in the present moment. Today she was washing her hands after a meal and I asked her whether she wants any yoghurt. She simply said. ‘I am still washing my hands’. She wouldn’t even consider answering the question until she finished her current activity. She gives her 100% to the job at hand even though it is the most trivial of acts even for a two year old. Whenever I speak to her she listens to me and looks at me with such fascination in her eyes as if I am the most intelligent and beautiful person alive and I am saying the most fascinating thing she had ever heard in her life. I feel so important and beautiful.

Most of us (including myself) live in the future, planning the next meal, planning the weekend, planning what to do once your kids are in bed, planning to achieve your life goals. We forget importance of doing what needs to be done now, now. Forgetting to call a friend, being late for an appointment, these seem common and less important, yet they affect the way you perceive ‘yourself’ and the way your loved once perceive you. How many of us have been in a situation where we are talking to a person (may be your partner, friend or boss) and they just do not pay any attention. They are either checking their phone, typing away at the computer while going ‘uhuh, uhuh’. How many times have you done it to someone else? How many times you have arguments with your partner because they were not listening? If we remember the person who is in front of you right now is the most important one right now, well how many breakups could we have saved? How many bosses would have been ‘cool’? 

Simple change in the way you relate to each other

When I was working, I disliked one of my managers with a passion. The feeling was mutual. I could not see anything good in this manager and vice versa. Nothing was said or done out in the open, yet there was a palpable undercurrent between the two of us. I disliked this manager long after I left the company until I listened to a talk given by Venerable Ajhan Brahm, the Abbot of Bodhignana Monastery of Western Australia. I realized that even though I disliked this manager, there were other people who loved and liked this person, their partner, parents and other people who worked with them. Therefore, the problem could not be the manager. Equally, there were people who loved me and like dme as well. Then the problem could not be me either. The problem was the way we ‘related’ to each other. Because I was looking at the manager with this dislike in my heart, I saw only the less favorable side of the person. In other words, I attracted only the negatives from this person. Because of the cold war going on between us, we were acutely aware of each other’s actions. We were reading too much in to each other’s actions, running and re-running them in our heads, analyzing and coming to our own conclusions, discussing with others about it, asking for their opinion…..well, basically making the whole thing bigger than it really should have been.

If any of us had the wisdom to see the reality as it is and understood we are both really good and kind human beings and started looking for that side of each other, things would have been much different and easier for both of us.

I realized this is exactly how most of us behave when we are upset with anyone, say when you are in a common domestic disagreement. Once you made up with your partner (when you change the way you ‘relate’ your partner) they seem better and nicer.


Be grateful and practice loving kindness (Maithri)

You may have the worst boss ever, the worst partner and the wildest kids ever. Yet, if we do not have them in our lives what would it be like. If you have kids and they are mostly on the wild side and you wish you never had them, think how you would feel if you ‘really’ lost them. You may not like your parents at all, but what if you lose them both? There are days I wish if could just sit down all day and read a book and do nothing. I have to do all I do because I am now married and have a child. Yet I think immediately what my life would be if I don’t have my wonderful family with me?

We all can find reasons enough to be grateful for the people who are in our lives. Have an attitude of gratitude towards those around you. Start feeling loving kindness towards them. This is not love. This is a feeling of kindness, goodwill, friendliness, benevolence….basically a mixture of really wonderful feelings. You will feel a difference in the way they relate to you.

Enjoy your relationships. Have fun. Life is too good. Now is your time.

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This post was written by...

is a Published Children's Book Author, qualified Marketer and a Management Accountant. Loves sketching, writing, interior designing, cooking and spending time with her family. Personal values: loving kindness to 'all beings' and equal respect to all religions.

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