Getting along with people is essential for happiness and success. Sharing, avoiding name calling and taking turns are critical skills drilled into us from early ages. As we grow older, relationships grow more complicated, but the essential need for skills to manage them does not change.

If you have ever had your opinion ignored, consistently given of yourself without reciprocity or blown up after tolerating problems for too long you know that an inability to manage the demands of relationships is central to the amount of stress you experience.

Common Relationship Mistakes:

Too often we enter an interpersonal situation with pent up emotion and no clear idea of what we want to achieve. When you’re in emotional crisis, it’s easy to assume that those closest to you will understand your needs and respond to you. These are your family, friends and spouses. They are the people who know the most intimate details of your life. You may feel that you shouldn’t have to ask for what you need from them, but a failure to effectively communicate can lead to problems in getting your needs met.

On the other hand, if you’ve often had conflict in a relationship, you might assume that you simply don’t mesh with this person and that you will never get your needs met without struggle and stress. If you presume that the people closest to you should simply understand your needs and respond to your communication, whatever form it takes, then, unless you are naturally skilled with people, you are likely to run into conflict, misunderstanding, strained relationships and intense emotion.

In order to have our concerns and opinions taken seriously, keep good relationships and maintain your self-respect, you must have skills to interact with the people around you.

Relationship skills can help you to:

  1. Head off problems—Resolve problems and misunderstandings before they build up and become overwhelming.
  2. Strike Balance—negotiate with others to put off low priority demands, say no when you need to and ask for what you want and need.
  3. Create Competence—Interact in a way that makes you feel effective, rather than helpless. Stand up for yourself.

– Christy Matta, MA