Relationships are an area of life that often do not seem to go according to plan; yet what is the plan? How do you build confident relationships with a partner, family and friends?
I spent years in intimate relationships that were hugely imbalanced. Because I enjoyed being ‘looked after’ I felt that it was only right to be a little less than my natural assertive self – crazy! After enough years of heartache, I got wise. I wrote down exactly what I wanted from a relationship and stated I would be happy within myself and on my own until that relationship came to fruition. Gone was the list of things I didn’t want and in its place a healthy list of values and personality traits that were important to me. And I can honestly say that, that one action has changed the type of person I attract into my life… positively. Also, it made it very clear to me the type of person I needed to be to attract that type of person – a win-win.
Did you plan for your current relationship? Did you state your desire or did you state everything you didn’t want? Food for thought because what you focus on is what you get. So if you are busy stating ‘I don’t want someone who drinks too much, smokes too much, doesn’t respect me, doesn’t do nice things for me’ chances are you will end up getting some or all of those things because that’s what you are focusing on and thinking about.
And of course, there are friendships. These confident relationships are golden… when you have friends that are real. By that, I mean supportive, encouraging, open, non-judgemental but honest in their thoughts. My longest friendship is some 33 years old and still going strong. Friends are your chosen family and should brighten your day. If you are finding that your friendships are not supporting your dreams and goals you need to decide whether they are relationships you want to keep or let go of. That’s harsh but it is a reality. Decide where your time is best spent and reduce the time given to draining negative friendships… they do exist.
That said, when a friend is in need, going through a rough patch and your support is requested (or not) absolutely be there but be aware of whether it is a cycle of need because they are repetitively putting themselves in a bad place or whether it is a genuine cry for help. You can then make a decision around what that friendship means to you.
And lastly family relationships… This is a toughie and I need to acknowledge that first. I am aware that for some people family relationships are disjointed, that there is little or no recovering what should be a great bond. I have had the good fortune of growing up & experiencing great love from my family and therefore my mind map tells me that family is sacred. On the other hand, I am a single parent so I know that family can be fragile and fraught with difficulties. But you can create a family network with close friends, with your community and certainly, with any groups, you are a member of that welcome you and support you lovingly.
Don’t allow distance to get in the way of what could be a great family relationship either; there are so many resources available now to keep in touch from social media to online photo albums and good old emails & texts!
Tips for forming healthy confident relationships:
- Be a good listener – relationships are a two-way street!
- Be assertive – let your feelings and thoughts be known. Those close to you cannot do anything for you if they have no idea what you are thinking or feeling
- Don’t expect others to have solutions to your issues and visa-versa. But keep the channels of communication open and be supportive
- Be aware of whether a relationship is supportive or an uphill struggle that leaves you feeling blue. Then go back to being assertive and make decisions about it
What are the most challenging relationships for you? Who do you turn to when you need to share a problem? Do you struggle to find someone to listen to you?