Today’s topic is ten little things that will kill, destroy, implode, explode, dismember, decapitate or crush your relationship. These things can destroy any relationship you have whether it is a friendship, business relationship or even the relationship you have with yourself if you do any of these ten things. What is your guess of these ten things?
Remember, those ten things are not the big ones. If you are doing one of these, get rid of it right now. Here is that list of ten things.
We tend to do this a lot because we think we are trying to help, trying to show someone what they can do better, giving feedback about how we feel. You want to kill a relationship? Criticize the hell out of your partner. Criticize everything that they do. Criticize everything that they don’t do. Criticize who they are. Criticize their character. Criticize their past, their future and everything about them. Do all this and I guarantee the relationship will die because no one likes to be criticized.
People who tend to criticize others a lot are people who are incredibly critical of themselves. Criticism is one killer of relationships and we don’t realize that we are doing it.
The cure to criticism is appreciation, and I always teach people dolphin training. I mean, how do you get her to give you what you need, want and desire without giving feedback? Well, you can give feedback, but you have to give it differently so that they actually hear it. Otherwise, if you give them feedback and it comes across as criticism, the relationship is dead.
One way to give them feedback is to appreciate the light out of everything that they do right. This is called dolphin training, because how do they get a dolphin in a tank to swim through a hoop? Well, they put the hoop in the water and the dolphin initially swims around it, but one day when it gets close to the hoop a whole bunch of fish shows up and this indicates to the dolphin that the way to get fish is to get close to the hoop.
Eventually, the trainer raises the hoop out of the water a little bit and when the dolphin swims to where it used to be, the dolphin is confused because the hoop is no longer there. It eventually finds it and when it swims through it, a bunch of fish suddenly appears and the dolphin realizes that the hoop is the source of all the fish. The hoop is gradually lifted out of the water and the dolphin keep jumping out of the water in order to get through the hoop and receive the fish which comes out after that action.
That theory of how to train a dolphin is the same way you can train a human to do anything you want. Give them a lot of fish (rewards) when they do it right. So, what do you do when they do it wrong? The answer is simple, you ignore it. You close your mouth and take deep breaths, count to ten and just wait for them to do it right.
In summary, the number one thing that will kill your relationship is criticism, and the opposite is appreciation. Appreciate them when they do it right, acknowledge them when they do it right, reward them when they do it right, and ignore when they mess it up.
2. Choosing to Put Each Other in Any Position Other Than Number One in Each Other’s Lives
Putting your partner behind something else in terms of priority will destroy your relationship. For example, your partner comes in a room where you are and tries to draw your attention to something but you respond saying that you love them so much, but something else needs your attention and he or she will have to wait.
The moment you do that, it will naturally create a tension between the two of you. Putting your partner as number one is especially important if you are in your 30’s, 40’s or 50’s in a situation where you also own or run a business together or alone. This is important because when she or he comes to you and says something but you tell them to wait just a minute, you will have unconsciously told them that you will only deal with them after you have completed what’s most important to you. In other words, your partner isn’t the most important thing to you.
The right thing to do is to let them know that they are number one, so that however busy you are, you pause what you are doing and lovingly turn towards them and listen to what they have to say. Put her or him first. This subconsciously lets them know that they are number one to you.
You may be wondering how you will ever get anything done if your partner is constantly interrupting you and seeking for your attention. The truth is, the moment they know that they are number one to you, they will champion you and keep urging you to go get it done.
In contrast, if they think that they are number two, three, four or any other number, there will be tension and they will be constantly struggling to see if they are number one.
3. Closing the Door Between You and Your Partner and Opening the Window Between You and Other People
This relationship killer means that you stop sharing what’s real between you and your partner and you instead share those things with your friends and others. The right thing is that the door between you and the rest of the world should be shut while the window should be open between you and your partner. You should be sharing the intimate details of your life with your partner while closing the door of these details to the rest of the world.
What would cause someone to close the door to their partner and open the window to their friends, colleagues and other people? Many say, “I have been trying and they just won’t listen” or “They are so busy doing other things” or “They put me last.” Basically, any time our feelings get hurt, the quickest way to screw it up the more is we get scared to talk to our partners and we close the door because we don’t want to be emotionally hurt anymore, so we open the window to our best boyfriend, girlfriend, a longtime friend, family member or whoever and we start blabbering away at all the things going on, and they start giving all their feedback. What happens in all this is that you are killing your relationship.
In these moments, you need courage, you need to be brave and speak the truth, and you need to speak your truth without criticizing. A simple phrase to introduce your truth is “My hallucination is…Please correct me if I am wrong. I needed to express what I feel.”
There’s four steps to listening to your partner as they convey their truth or concern;
- Being able to digest what they are saying and being able to share some of it back verbally before you even think of making your point. They will be satisfied that you heard them correctly.
- Be empathetic and put a label to what they must be feeling as a result of what they are communicating. You say, “Hey, from what you just shared, if I heard you correctly talking about this, this and this, that must feel…” and you label that feeling, such as it must be frustrating, hurtful, challenging, etc.
- Be more empathetic by sharing how you would feel in that situation by saying “I would feel really upset if that happened to me” or any other appropriate emotion.
- Ask them what they would like to do about the situation and shut up and listen to their suggestions.
This process, in the concept of communicating and understanding a difficult comment and realizing you are not trying to fix it but you are trying to understand it and agree on a way out of it.
4. Only Speaking Your Love Language
Imagine for a second that you speak Swahili and you cruise over to, say, Guatemala and they speak Spanish. While there, you cruise around speaking your Swahili and you are pissed off that they aren’t responding to all your communication in the expected way. In reality, you aren’t speaking their language. This is a simple way to express another killer of relationships.
You have to learn how to speak your partner’s love language. Number one, you have to figure out your own love language. And number two, you have to figure out your partner’s love language. Number three, you have to learn to speak their love language. Most people get this if they have read “The Five Love Languages.”
5. Higher Expectations of Them With Zero Appreciation of Them
You expect them to be a good person, show up all the time, love you with all their heart, never lie to you, do all these good things. You have all these high expectations of them and they are constantly letting you down, they are constantly frustrating you, they are constantly aggravating you because you have these massive expectations. And when they do anything right, anything at all, you have zero appreciation for them. That will kill a relationship.
The reverse of this is having unbelievable appreciation for everything that they do and really, truly dropping the expectations. Instead, speak your truth of what you need, want and desire and how you want it delivered, as well as helping them to learn how to do it by being a dolphin trainer. If they don’t do it right, be grateful and show them that you are appreciative of the fact that they tried! You also need to be putting in effort to deliver what they need, want and desire, and in the way they want those needs, wants and desires delivered.
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6. Having a Low Personal Standard
Having a low personal standard means that you believe in your awesomeness, so that if the relationship is going to work, then your partner will have to do all the work and you are amazing and just have to sit there and do nothing. This is a relationship killer.
That concept of low personal standard means that you are not going to do any work, you are not willing to do anything about it, you are not willing to learn about it, you are not willing to practice it or do anything about it. You are basically, in your mind, saying “I’m perfect, they need to figure it out and I’m going to wait right here in my throne of awesomeness until they get it.” That relationship is gone and will never, ever work.
The opposite of this concept is having a high personal standard. You are willing to do the work, you are willing to learn about it, you are willing to practice it, you are willing to put in the time and effort, you are willing to work on this together, and you are willing to be a partner on this journey together and do the work.
7. Going into the Relationship to Try and Get Something Rather Than Going to Give
Here, you show up to the relationship with a goal to get their love, their sex, their humor, and their attention. You are trying to get as much as you can from them. You want everything from them but you don’t want to give anything in return. This is deadly and that relationship isn’t going to work.
The truth is whatever you go to get from that relationship, whatever you are trying to get from it, once you have it all and the glass is empty, you are then going to try and get it from somewhere else. This is why people who go to relationships to get end up going elsewhere to get once they have drained it out of this person.
Imagine a glass with some water and you enter a relationship to get that water. It will keep reducing as you get it until one time there will be no more water in that glass, then you will go somewhere else to get a drink. That water might have been affection, that might have been attention, that might have been knowledge or experience, but as soon as they got it all, or the person got busy and couldn’t give it, then they will go to the kids to try and get it, they go to their business partners to try and get it, then they go to friends to try and get it, they go to an affair to try and get it, and they also go to their work to try and get it. This goes on and on and on because you are going in there to get.
In contrast, if you enter a relationship with the objective of giving, the only reason you will run dry is because you will have stopped giving. You’ve got to go there with the intention of giving so that the relationship can last.
8. Always Focusing on What’s Missing
Here’s one way to kill a relationship; always evaluate the relationship, ignore everything that is good about it and focus on everything that is missing in the relationship. They’re not smart enough, they’re not cute enough, they’re not happy enough, they’re not working hard enough, they’re not putting in enough effort, and they’re not remembering what I want. Just focus on everything that is missing, and the relationship will die.
That is how we fall out of love, and that is how relationships end. We just sit around and ignore everything that is great and we focus on what is wrong with it.
9. A Fixed Mindset
There is a growth mindset and a fixed mindset. Research has it that people with a fixed mindset avoid challenges, give up early, hate criticism, get out quick and run if it doesn’t work, and avoid it if it requires effort. In short, a fixed mindset will kill a relationship.
In contrast, a growth mindset will absolutely help to make that magic happen, so this is the key to relationships that last.
10. Allowing Your Past Triggers and Experiences to Determine Your Response to Your Current Relationship
If you really want to kill your relationship with anybody, even a person you have just met as a friend, allow all your past triggers and everything that has happened back then to determine how you respond to the person right now.
Every now and then, someone will legitimately attack me on Instagram, or Facebook or YouTube and I will just watch that person become a keyboard warrior typing all this negative stuff and people will label them as a hater. I don’t think they are a hater, I think they are killing any relationship they could ever have with me because any time that happens, I just block the person because I don’t have time for that. There are too many great people out there to work with, too many humans that I would like to help. And so what happens when you look at this is that more often than not, this harsh, aggressive and intense reaction has nothing, zero, zip, nadda to do with me. Instead, it is literally something from their past that they are responding to aggressively at me and I didn’t do it!
And so this concept of “hurt people hurt people” is correct because as I always say, it is either an act of love or a cry for help. In this case, it is a cry for help because it is them allowing their past to dictate their current response. They are allowing past triggers, someone who broke up with them, someone who hurt their feelings, someone who did something mean to them; they are allowing that back there to determine this response right here instead of being present and saying this is right here, right now; someone is doing something, I am going to take it like it is the first time and I am going to respond to them in this moment, and I am going to give them enough credit and opportunity to have a natural presence and relationship, right here and right now.
So those are ten things that kill relationships. If you found this useful, click share, tag someone, and I will see you guys tomorrow!
To Your Success,