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Disliking Your Friend’s Significant Other Part 2

In Communication, Hate on December 13, 2010 at 10:30 am
 written by Sway

Can't we all just get along?.../tyra.com

 
 So you find out:

Your boy can’t stand your girlfriend.

or

Your best girlfriend reveals to you that they don’t like your boyfriend.

What to do? 

While “Part 1”  (click here)  focused on someone having to cope with one disliking their friend’s significant other, this post will focus primarily on the person in the relationship, who has to deal with their friend not liking their significant other. Is this you? Well before you accuse your friend of being envious of your great relationship, here are a few things to consider:

PROJECTION

How are you projecting your significant other to your friend?

Projection is everything when it comes to meeting someone for the first time. If you are in a situation where your friend has yet to meet your significant other, what you say about them prior to their meet is vital to their impression of them. Based off of what you say, your friend could already have their mind made up about how they feel about them well before they meet them.  And even if they’ve already met on good terms, then any later information you share about your relationship can affect their future feelings about them. Sharing positive information will most likely help your friend to gain respect for your bf/gf, while negative information will elicit criticism from them.

I’m not suggesting to lie or to choosing to not share things to your friend when something negative happens in your relationship. Your friends will be there for you to give you advice on anything, and sometimes you need that level headed, outside perspective to get you through the hard times. I am simply suggesting that when speaking of your significant other, be mindful of how you come across. If you only talk about your bf/gf to your friend when things are going bad in your relationship, then you can’t be upset at them for having a negative opinion on them.

POSITIVE vs. NEGATIVE

This is your relationship. Which means that you have the benefit of experiencing all faucets of your significant other. You not only see them at their worst but at their best.  Even if you divulged to your friend all the positives of your relationship, like the little cute idiosyncrasies your bf/gf does to make you smile, or all of the special sweet nothings they’ve said to you, or every nice thing they’ve done for you, they probably won’t keep track of it all.

Even if you were to mention a hundred and one good things your partner has done in your relationship, the bad things can end up being more memorable to your friend depending on severity. Why? Because bad things hold more weight. Think about it. I’m sure every bad thing that happens in your own relationship may go off as a red flag in your head. So imagine if you were to bring up every time your bf/gf annoys you, makes you angry, or does something wrong in your relationship, your friend may get such a negative impression of them that any good thing you tell them probably won’t make a difference.

PERSONALITY CONFLICT

There’s one thing that a positive perception can’t mediate: personality conflict. Sometimes for whatever reason, two people just don’t mesh well. This could be the case for your significant other and best friend. Maybe their personalities are complete opposites (like one is passive and the other is aggressive) or even, very similar. As ironic as it may seem, two people’s like personalities can easily be the catalyst for them to clash with each other because of their vast similarities.

Whatever the case, you can expect your friend’s negative perception of your bf/gf, on top of possible clashing personalities to make the situation even worse, which can lead to disaster. 

To think that tension and conflict will be present anytime your two favorite people are in the same vicinity, is enough to stress anyone out. So what to do if your situation falls into these categories? First, try speaking to them individually to see what issue each has with the other person. If the situation gets so bad that it has become torturous to hang out with them simultaneously, then it’s time to hash things out. Sit with both of them and try playing mediator. Be sure to let them know how important they both are to you (hence the reason for the sit-down). Since they both care about you enough to not want to stress you out, then maybe there will be a break through! You never know until you try it.

And if these factors aren’t the core of the problem, then lastly I want to introduce another possibility:

THEY ARE NOT GOOD FOR YOU

And this goes for your significant other. Did it ever cross your mind that your friend may dislike your bf/gf because they don’t think they are good for you? Maybe they’ve seen first hand accounts of your significant other not respecting you and it didn’t sit right with them. If you have a good friend, they will most likely voice their opinion about it because they have your best interest in mind. Re-evaluate your relationship. You may realize that your choice of a partner was the problem from the very beginning.

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Disliking Your Friend’s Significant Other Part 1

In Communication, Hate on November 18, 2010 at 12:00 pm
 written by Sway

One of my exes half jokingly calls me a boyfriend hater. Why you ask? Well because there have been times I didn’t really care for some of the guys one of my best friends dated. Let’s just say there have been cases where I haven’t gotten along meshed well with some of her boyfriends because of personality conflict, lol. It’s not that I hated them (hate is such a strong word), I just wasn’t impressed by them.

And I know what you’re thinking…they don’t have to impress me, they have to impress her. She is a grown adult and  is always going to make her own decisions on who she feel is worthy of her.

But the thing is, that my bestie is simply amazing. She’s a honest, intelligent, enthusiastic, pretty, caring, driven, open-minded, dependable, independent, optimistic, and loving person. She has a positive, calming aura. A beautiful spirit. She’s fun to be around. She’s genuine and always has people’s best interests in mind. And on the friend front, she has been there for me through thick and thin, and inspires me to be a better friend. And these are just a few of many characteristics she encompasses. So of course I’m going to think there is someone out there better for her if I see her with someone who doesn’t match up to her many great qualities.  

So how do you balance having the slightest dislike of your friend’s significant other all while being supportive of their relationship? It’s a tricky situation indeed my friends. One thing you have to keep in mind that as the person outside of the situation, the complete picture of what you see in their relationship will always be clearer to you, so you may see things about your friend’s significant other that they may not choose to see. 

Also keep these two things in mind:

WHEN GIVING ADVICE

There will probably be times where your friend will vent to you about a situation they are going through with their significant other. They vent to you because they not only trust you, and want your insight, but because they are most likely trying to sort out their feelings before they approach their bf/gf about it. Be sensitive to their situation and give your best advice. Try to not to let any personal thoughts you have about their other half influence the type of advice you give them. Example:

    Your friend talks to you about how much their bf/gf doesn’t appreciate them. Don’t respond by saying “Yeah I always thought they were a loser anyways, you should just drop them.”

Instead, open a dialogue. Ask more questions to get an idea of what they are talking about. Better yet ask them if they have ever talked to their bf/gf about the situation, and encourage them to do so if they haven’t.

WHILE HANGING OUT

Depending on how close you and your friend are, there will probably be several situations where you have to be in the same social setting with your friend’s bf/gf. Though it may be challenging, the best thing to do is to is to keep things as amicable as possible. Now I’m not saying to act fake or plaster a phony smile at all times, but just keep things positive. There’s no reason to cause tension in what should be an otherwise fun situation.

You also need to keep in mind that when it comes to things your friend tells you about their relationship you are only really getting your friend’s perspective of the situation. Sure, you can formulate an opinion just on the information that you know from them, but remember that it will be biased.

For the situation with my friend, when it came to giving advice, I found myself telling her things she should do based off of what I would do if I were in her shoes. In the end I had to remind myself not to judge her if she didn’t choose to take my advice because: A) when it comes to relationships everything is easier said than done, and B) she is the one who is invested in the relationship, so her decisions affect her more so than me.

Despite what you feel towards their significant other, you essentially need to be supportive of your friend through their relationship’s ups and downs. At the end of the day for my friend’s relationship, I knew she would make decisions that she felt were best for her whether I agreed to it or not. And being her friend and support system, meant that I had to respect that!

Have you ever disliked your friend’s boyfriend or girlfriend? If so, how did you handle it?

Stay tuned for part 2…

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Complacency

In Communication, Relationships on October 5, 2010 at 8:00 am

written by Swag  

Lazy Smurf and Gargamel

Don't get lazy in your relationship. Something might creep up on you.

 

 

It’s far to easy to become complacent in a relationship and complacency goes hand in hand with entitlement. When an individual takes their partner for granted, essentially, they believe they are entitled to the benefits they have been receiving. They expect some mandatory level of service. This expectation occurs on a subconscious level so I am not saying anyone is acting maliciously, but there are harmful side effects to believing your partner is supposed to do anything. Love isn’t based on obligation. It’s based on mutual, empathetic consideration.  

As relationships progress, habits form and little by little, the generosity and consideration that was once appreciated and celebrated becomes routine and expected.

Like a cancer, once it has crept into the relationship, complacency is very hard to shake and when it sets in, you may have to put your relationship through chemo just to expunge it. You may have to journey through an uncomfortable, transitional period in order to promote long-term growth.

Dealing With Complacency In Others – Be Honest

The worst thing you can do when you feel like your partner is becoming complacent, is to not say anything, at all. Every habit, that is ever formed, is reinforced both positively and negatively. When you are not communicating to your partner, you allow them to develop their own balance of reinforcement. Imagine a habit your partner has that is beginning to wear on you. Rather than bring it up, you decide to just deal with it. You figure, if things stay the same, it’s not a deal breaker. You believe this is the better route, despite knowing that if things were to change, you would probably be more satisfied with the relationship overall. Not only are you learning the unhealthy habit of appeasement, you are also eliminating an opportunity for your partner to improve themselves. In essence, you are stunting their emotional growth. You aren’t allowing them the chance to love you more fully.

When you communicate your dislike of anything, you alter how your partner perceives it. But if you want them to change you can not approach them with 100% negative reinforcement (i.e. “I don’t like it when you let the trash overflow”). There must also be some positive reinforcement that works in tandem (i.e. “Thank you so much for taking out the trash). Granted, if the reversal of the bad habit has not yet happened or even started, you may need to generalize your positive reinforcement so they get the hint (i.e. “I love it when you help out around the house”).

Dealing With Being Complacent – Don’t be Disingenuous

The best medicine is always preventative medicine (healthy lifestyle/diet) as opposed to reactive medicine (surgery/antibiotics/chemo). When you begin a relationship, it’s always best to start out as honestly as possible. When I was younger, I believed I would have better chances with girls, if I was romantic, so I catered to those beliefs. I wanted to be prince charming. I wanted to make girls swoon with overwhelming emotion.  Soon, however, I realized that I was being dishonest and when those girls fell in love, they fell hard. I couldn’t keep up the charades and slowly, over time, I stopped most of the romantic activity that had gotten me the girl in the first place.  I am not saying that I am no longer romantic, it just means I am no longer being romantic for the sake of getting someone to react. It reduced the chances of me losing the motivation to continue those acts later on in the relationship.

Complacency occurs when you inadvertently decrease the amount of energy and emotion you are investing in a relationship. It’s possible to set yourself up for complacent failure when you start off a relationship doing things that don’t come naturally just to seal the deal. Once the dotted line is wet with ink, all your contrived actions will slowly dissipate like exhaled breath on a mirror. Soon you begin seeing yourself for who you really are. A romantic fool at best and manipulative at worst. Integrity involves being honest with yourself and it’s important to know how you really feel before communicating those feelings to someone else. Otherwise, you run the risk of falsifying your emotions and relationships are hard enough as it is. You don’t want to have to maintain one while living an emotional lie. Stay true to yourself so that you avoid ending up in a complacent rut.

“If we probed deeper, we might lay witness to pools of disappointments, rippling from stones thrown by our own selfishness.”

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Honesty, Empathy, and Effective Communication

In Communication on September 20, 2010 at 10:21 am

written by Swag

A relationship provides ample opportunity for annoyances, disturbances, and disappointments. Sometimes, it’s necessary to give voice to these grievances and when doing so it’s also wise to make sure communication channels are open, loved ones are receptive and intended messages are clear. In the everyday world, proper evidence and a sound case may be sufficient to get someone to reconsider their actions but relationships are about much more than mere facts. They can be complicated baskets of emotions, actions, and intentions. 

We have all heard the saying: It’s not what you say, but how you say it, so we understand that communication is a key factor, especially during conflict. No problem in a relationship can or should be summed up in “Here’s what you’ve done wrong, now fix it” because that just translates into “Look how much you suck.”   

Communicating with your partner at anytime is like delivering a parcel of mail. It’s that much harder to deliver that parcel when either person is angry or upset. Even if you put the message in the mail, it doesn’t mean you have the right postage, the right address, or that the other person is even willing to sign for the package.   

Image taken by User:Minesweeper on December 14...

Image via Wikipedia

 

Incorrect Postage – (Passive Aggressive Communication): When your message does not have adequate postage, it means your delivery is lacking. How you present your message is not effectively getting your point across. Imagine a woman dating a man who is notoriously late for every arrangement they make. When they go out to dinner, he’s late. When they go to the movies, he’s late. When they meet up with friends, he’s late. She wants to tell him that his actions are affecting her in a negative way. They make her feel under-appreciated and devalued, so at the dinner table, she sulks.  At the movies, she complains. When with friends, she bad-mouths him. Unfortunately, her message hasn’t been delivered at all. He is unlikely to connect the tone of her actions to his tardiness and her moodiness will bubble to the forefront, taking attention away from the real issue. She should place more postage on her message and be direct by telling him explicitly what is bothering her.   

Incorrect Address – (Ineffective Communication): Disagreements, the fruit of a successful relationship. I kid, of course, but we all know that disagreements are a very natural occurrence in long-term commitments. How healthy a relationship is, depends on the trajectory of the conflict and how well it is resolved. It’s very easy, in a heated argument, to get side-tracked on superfluous points. Imagine the man who wants his wife to take dancing lessons with him. He approaches her with the idea and she seems uninterested. In an effort to get her interested, he hints at finding a different partner and an argument ensues about whether he has his eyes on other women. He intended to communicate his desire to do something fun and intimate with his wife, but his decision to veer off into unpredictable territory nullifies his message. He sent his package to the wrong address. This leaves him feeling dismissed and leaves her feeling underappreciated.   

No signature. No delivery – (Over Aggressive Communication): Imagine if someone threw something at you unexpectedly. What would your reaction be? Most likely you would shrink your body size by turning sideways and/or ducking, effectively reducing your chances of getting hit. You might also throw your hands up over your face to protect your most vulnerable areas. Instinctively, you would defend yourself the best way you know how. It’s only natural. Now, imagine if your partner hurls an accusatory or demeaning statement at you. You are bound to do the same thing. Defense is the only reasonable reaction. The way we speak to our partners goes along way towards breaking down those very defenses. Being able to present a message without it seeming like an attack actually makes the other person want to receive it. It shows a level of empathy that is necessary if they are to believe you have their best interest at heart and not believe that you are simply out for vindication. Your partner is more likely to sign for their package (your message) and appreciate it for what it’s worth.  

It takes courage to be honest with our partners about how we truly feel. Sometimes we can be so weary of their emotions that our messages and intentions never match up. Empathy is also required so that we can be cognizant of how our partners will react to our messages.  Without an awareness of our partners perceptions, we may inadvertently hurt their feelings and cause them to shut down. If we communicate with honesty and empathy, there are very few obstacles that pose a significant threat to relationship success.

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