Interpersonal Relationships with friends, coworkers, loved ones, and people in general are impacted by many factors. In any interpersonal exchange, each party brings their own unique set of qualities, expectations, and interaction style to the table. Relationships can develop naturally, effortlessly, and harmoniously in some cases. Other times relationships can form based on an intense interpersonal connection… and some relationships don’t occur at all. A vital component to creating meaningful, respectful, and authentic relationships with others involves taking responsibility for your own behaviors and expectations. When you begin to realize that the only person’s behavior you can truly “control” is your own, freedom and tranquility are within reach. It is possible to become mindfully aware of your personal style of interacting with others through being open to feedback without defensiveness, willing to alter or let go of maladaptive behaviors, and reasonably flexible in making compromises.

In any relationship, be it a friendship or marriage, no one is going to get “all” of their needs met “all” of the time; to believe this deprives each person of the opportunity to learn and grow within the context of a relationship. There are many skills and strategies that can be learned and employed within relationships to increase harmony, decrease conflict, and reach compromises. The trick is to make the choice to put them into practice in the moment. By becoming more mindfully connected with the present moment, it is possible to increase awareness of times when maladaptive interpersonal patterns are occurring. Mindful awareness provides the space for you to choose your behaviors with greater intention and do your part to achieve a positive outcome. Interactions with others won’t always go smoothly, but there is peace in knowing that you have the freedom to choose how you will engage with others.

Build Love Based on Interdependence

Interdependence involves a balance between autonomy (the ability to function independently) and leaning on one another. It’s crucial to recognize that within the context of all interpersonal relationships, we affect one another. To presume that our actions, or lack thereof, within a relational context affect no one but ourselves is clueless at best and perhaps narcissistic at worst. When a relationship is based on interdependence, each person takes responsibility for their own feelings and behaviors.

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5 Steps to Move From Conflict to Harmony in Relationships

“Well timed silence hath more eloquence than speech.” – Martin Farquhar Tupper A great deal of unnecessary conflict in relationships occurs due to miscommunication, mismatched expectations, or insensitivity. When you notice the beginning signs of potential conflict in your relationships with others, you can take proactive steps toward restoring harmony before things escalate. Many steps…

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How to Practice Assertive Listening

“Let a fool hold his tongue and he will pass for a sage.” – Publilius Syrus Most people have heard about the importance of being assertive in social contexts.  Generally, one of the first things that comes to mind when thinking about “being assertive” involves getting one’s own needs met in a respectful, yet proactive…

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9 Questions to Identify Relationship Patterns

“The giving of love is an education in itself.” – Eleanor Roosevelt We all have patterns in relationships… what types of partners we choose at different points in our lives, where we usually meet these partners, and how the relationship progresses.  While each relationship is different in many ways, it is important to recognize that…

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The Effects of Gratitude in Relationships

“He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.” – Epictetus Gratitude has profound positive effects on our relationships with others and our overall well-being.  Even when times feel bleak or hopeless, there is much for which to be grateful.  Take…

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9 Psychological Tasks for Lasting Love

“I love her and that’s the beginning of everything.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald What makes the difference between a healthy love that lasts versus one that fails to stand the test of time?  According to Judith S. Wallerstein, PhD, co-author of the book The Good Marriage: How and Why Love Lasts, research indicates that successful marriages involve…

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