We all have different types of relationships with other people. Some relationships may have a stronger emotional pull than others. However, each relationship certainly impacts how we react and nourish future relationships. Hence, why it is extremely important to have perspective when it comes to relationships.
Let’s start by defining the term, relationship before getting into perspective.
Well, the internet says –
noun1. the state of being connected or related2. association by blood or marriage; kinship3. the mutual dealings, connections, or feelings that exist between two parties, countries, people, etc:
Whether, it’s a relative, friend, significant other, or simply an association. If there’s a connection, there’s definitely a relationship!
So, now that we have a better understanding of relationship. Let’s see what the internet says about perspective –
1. a particular way of viewing things that depends on one’s experience and personality2. a particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view.3. the ability to consider things in relation to one another accurately and fairly
After defining both terms, I want to jump into why it is important to have perspective(s) in relationships –
Let’s face it
Everyone is different, which means every relationship will be different. Period.
We will have a mixture of these moments in every relationship.
Nevertheless, it is the uncomfortable moments where we seek for guidance and understanding to grow beyond that uneasy feeling.
Here’s a few tips I’ve put together to help give you more perspective when your relationship(s) gets uncomfortable –
NOTE: These tips are best utilized when you proceed with optimism, kindness, and empathy.
1. Never point blame –
Before you point one finger towards someone, understand that 3 fingers are pointing directly back at you. No really, I mean it – try pointing your finger directly in front of you and see what your other fingers (besides your thumb) are doing. Funny, eh?
Seriously, though – pointing blame is not helpful in any situation. Yes, while holding someone accountable for something they failed to do can be disappointing. However, you can shift that energy to be more understanding and work towards a resolution (together), instead of using that energy negatively.
For example, if someone forgot to do something that was really important to you. Focus on how you would approach the situation again in the future (or alternatives they can do to help in the present). Look for solutions – maybe set up a calendar invite for that person to help remind them. Remember, take the time to acknowledge their effort (regardless of how small we may find it) and positively move forward!
The goal is to grow from the disappointment and understand what you both could better in the future.
2. Communication –
Some relationships are easier than others, right? You’re somehow on the same wavelength as the other person. This makes communicating a lot easier!
However, there are other relationships were you might feel like the other person is on a different planet OR their ways of communicating (indirectly) rubs you the wrong way. Conversing with the other person is very difficult! It’s best to be respectfully-transparent as possible with this person – do not assume the other person understands what you are trying to say OR feeling.
Before you do this – it is important to collect your thoughts to express yourself. Use your preferred method of communication (text, email, FaceTime, phone call) that works best for you, while being open to alternative methods from the other person. Remember to stay on topic (regardless of how the other person responds).
For example, if someone has disrespected, annoyed, or frustrated you yet your emotions are too overwhelming to talk it out in person/FaceTime. Take a moment to think about what you want to say and why then write it down so you don’t forget.
- If you want to talk in person/FaceTime – have the notes readily available to reference during your conversation. It is okay to tell the person that you wrote things down – this shows how important this is to you.
- If your preferred method is not person/FaceTime then send the detailed context virtually. Be sure to include a clear reasoning of why you choose that method (i.e. I am heading into work now but I look forward to your response OR I can’t talk right now but I can after 8:00 pm when the kids are in bed, etc…).
NOTE: You might have different methods during different parts of the day – again it is whatever works best for you.
After you’ve said your piece, ask the other person to rephrase what you said to ensure they understand what you’ve expressed.
The goal is to communicate effectively while understanding and respecting one another.
3. Accept that everyone is mentally at a different point in their lives –
We all have different life experiences, upbringings, and backgrounds. Some of us have experienced life at a much faster pace than others. Some might seem like they have more life experience (on the exterior) but they might not. Therefore, it is so important to empathize first before getting frustrated.
For example, something may be more common sense to you than it might be for others. Don’t judge their reactions by overwhelming yourself with frustration – try to understand the situation from their perspective and help guide them. You might not agree but that’s okay.
The goal here is to be more flexible in understanding others.
4. Not everyone reacts the same way you do/would
Not everyone comprehends at your level nor will they react to a situation, messages/conversation, or circumstance the way you would. So, don’t get angry with them because they’re not you.
“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.”
― C.G. Jung
The truth is, we don’t know what thoughts, emotions, or unforeseen circumstance(s) others are going through every second of their lives.
For example, if you thought something was funny but it offended others – don’t get frustrated or annoyed at their reaction. Instead, understand how the other person is feeling and respect their boundaries.
The goal is to be a little more patient and forgiving when situations don’t unfold the way you intended.
5. Passive aggressive & sarcastic communication only hurts and creates distance
None of us react to passive aggressive or sarcasm in communication well. It is also incorrect to reply back with in the same demeanor. This type of communication is hostile, causes unnecessary hurt, and might make a person become distant with you. If you sense an indirect and or unnecessary remarks being made then address the remark itself (without emotion) and how it’s unacceptable. Often times passive aggressiveness or sarcasm originates from being hurt, a painful event, or circumstance.
The goal here is to figure out what is truly bothering you so you can address it, instead of reacting poorly in the moment.
6. Know when to let it go –
As terrible as this sounds – you can’t fix everything or everyone. If you’re becoming frustrated with trying to fix a relationship or find yourself questioning things like, “why can’t s/he just understand what I meant?” OR “oh my god, seriously… why is s/he saying that stuff?”
This is clearly a sign for you to LET IT GO for now. Compartmentalize mentally and go focus on something completely different. Go burn that energy on a few jumping jacks or take a walk!
Come back at a later time and re-evaluate what alternatives you may have to make progress with the situation.
The goal is to identify and remove yourself from a situation that isn’t beneficial to you or the other person.
7. Listen to listen (do not listen to reply)
Sometimes it’s hard to listen without creatively thinking of your next fabulous response.
So, just listen!
You can’t actively listen to someone & understand what they’re trying to express – you might think you can but you’re going to miss important points including some non-verbal gestures. You must clearly and actively listen to what the other person is saying to be able to understand.
The goal is to actually listen and learn what the other person is trying to say (both – verbally and non-verbally).
8. You can’t force a relationship
This is the biggest one! You can’t force someone to have the same relationship with you like you have with them.
Read that again.
For example, if you had a strong group of friends/relatives that you were close to when you were younger. You’d want that closeness leading into adulthood and most likely establishing the same foundation for your kids, right? However, it may be difficult to turn that into reality because of our own individual goals and ambitions.
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself or others because it could cause more harm than good. Express your feelings and continue to build off of what you can. Remember, things happen for a reason but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad thing. Embrace the growth and continue to works towards a healthy relationship.
The goal is to express yourself positively in hopes to become closer to the other person.
In summary, relationships can be great, yet often times can become uncomfortable too. We must understand the situation to partner it with different perspectives to help understand and build better relationships.
Furthermore, if you’ve tried approaching the relationship in different perspectives and it is still difficult or if you find yourself in a toxic situation. It is best to respectfully communicate what you have done + why it is not working and then remove yourself until the situation is less negative.