“Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get — only with what you are expecting to give — which is everything.”
Love & relationships are elements that give the most meaning to our existence. Most of us have experienced a failed relationship, or struggle in some of our relationships.
Good news! It is possible to find love, make relationships last, make friends, over-come shyness, master the skills that make them flourish, although it takes effort and perseverance
It is not always the big blowout that ends a relationship. There are numerous little things that can slowly eat away at your relationship or marriage and ruin it.
10 Things that will kill a relationship or marriage:
- Holding grudges
- Being too critical
- Not taking care of your appearance
- Taking your partner for granted
- Always passing the blame
- Not spending quality time together
- Pretending to listen
- Laughing at partner’s expense
- Trying to change your partner
- Making your partner your entire life.
More information on relationships:
How to find and make friends:
A friend is someone you care about and who cares about you. It differs from an acquaintance, who is someone who exchanges small talk with you.
A friend shares interaction and communication with you on a deeper level, where there is mutual trust, comfort, acceptance and loyalty.
Characteristics of a GOOD friend:
- Shows genuine interest in your life,
- listens to you, respect your opinions
- accept you unconditionally
- are trustworthy and loyal
- help you succeed in what you do
- share things with you
Characteristics of a BAD friend:
- Person is controlling
- critical, selfish
- abuses your generosity
- runs you down
- drags you down with bad influences
- is not trustworthy or loyal to stick with you in bad times.
How to be a good friend:
- Invest to increase – the more you put in, the more you get out of a friendship.
- Do unto others as you want them to do unto you. Be the best friend you can be.
- Always be prepared to listen – you have two ears and one mouth.
- Do not smother another person – if you love someone, set them free, give them space to live and breathe.
- Aside from trust and loyalty, do not set to many rules in your friendship. Let it evolve naturally.
Meeting new people
There is nothing wrong with you if you struggle to meet new people. Perhaps your parents never taught you how to make friends as an adult. It is different from the way in which kids make friends. For some people it is a step out of their comfort zone. Making the right friends can make your life ten times more enjoyable. It’s way better than just accepting that you’ll have to spend your time in a lonely and dull state, while you know you deserve better than that.
A simple, but crucial tip is that having one commonality with someone is not enough—you need two commonalities to create a friendship. When you go to the social gatherings and start meeting new people, look for things that you have in common other than the main subject of the meeting.
Ideas where to meet people:
Now, of course you have to know how to talk to people, have a little fun, exchange contact information and take it from there. But, knowing where to go to meet people can make the whole process of making friends easier for you.
- Join or take a class.
- Get involved in sports/gym.
- Join a non-profit or just go to their events
- Volunteer to help out.
- The Dog Park : or any pet-related event (if you have a pet)
- Invite someone for a movie or coffee.
- Online Forums : Fitness, Dating, Sports
- Track down lost friends via social media.
- Offer to help with a carpool to work.
- Attend art gallery openings, book readings, lectures, movie premieres.
- Professional Events : Fairs, Function-Driven Groups
- Singles Clubs and Events and Speed Dating
- Self Improvement clubs: meditation, holistic healing.
- Contests and Tournaments : Poker, Video-games, Races, Dance contests
- Wine/Beer Events : Casual-Drinkers clubs, Beer Fans, Wine Tasting.
Remember, people are bored and no one listens to them. They’re desperate for someone like you to come and ask them questions about themselves.
Conversation should be fun.
Conversation is supposed to be an opportunity to meet someone new, bond over shared interests – feel the spark of connection. It’s supposed to feel natural and flowing, where the right thing to say comes effortlessly. It’s supposed to be anxiety free, where you can focus on connecting with the other person instead of worrying about how you’re coming across. Unfortunately, for many people, conversation isn’t much fun.
Maybe that includes you. Maybe you feel anxious and stressed during conversations that others seem to enjoy. Maybe your conversations tend to sputter out prematurely, and you’re not sure how to keep them going. Or maybe you want more meaningful connections with others, but you’re not sure how to take your conversations beyond small talk and into that deeper level.
The secret of conversation flow
Sometimes, conversation flow seems to happen automatically. You and your conversation partner hit it off, and the conversation feels really smooth and comfortable. That’s great when it happens, but what do you do when conversations don’t flow?
That’s where the principle of invitation and inspiration comes in. Invitation and inspiration are the key ingredients of smooth, comfortable conversation.
An invitation is when you say something that explicitly lets your partner know it is their turn to speak.
An inspiration is when you say something that makes your partner want to speak unbidden.
Invitation: How to ask good questions
One of your primary tools for helping conversations flow is the idea of invitation. An invitation is something you say that:
- communicates very clearly that it is now your partner’s turn to talk
- gives a strong suggestion for what your partner should talk about.
For instance, “What did you do today?” is an invitation. It’s obvious that you are inviting your partner to speak, and you are giving a clear idea for what they should talk about (their day!). Not all questions are good invitations. For a question to be a good invitation, it needs to it also needs to be open-ended.
By “open-ended question”, I mean an invitation that allows your partner to talk at length, instead of being limited to a short answer. When you ask a closed-ended question like “Did you have a good weekend?” your partner will likely answer “Yes” or “No.” Since you’re looking for smooth, flowing conversation, a one-word response is not ideal.
But if you ask the same question in an open-ended way, you will give your partner a much better invitation. When you ask “What did you do this weekend?”, your partner is free to tell you the full story of their weekend. You’re still asking about their weekend, but you’re asking it in a way that invites them to share.
When you invite your partner to share in this way, something powerful happens. Not only does inviting your partner to share help the conversation to flow, but it also gives you an opportunity to show your partner that you are interested in them.
When you ask your partner insightful questions about themselves, it tells them that you want to get to know them better.
Inspiration – the heartbeat of good conversation.
When conversations flow smoothly, people feel comfortable sharing even without an invitation. They’ll chime in whenever they have something they want to share and feel encouraged to share it.
This means that in order to create conversational flow, you should:
- Make your partner comfortable
- Inspire your partner to want to share
Making your partner comfortable is pretty straightforward. Be friendly, pay attention to their body language, and give good invitations so they know you really want to know them better.
When you and your partner inspire each other to share, the conversation flows smoothly and you feel closer one to one another
In a nutshell, you inspire me when something that you share makes me want to share something, too. Notice the word “want” in that definition. Inspiration does not make your partner feel obligated to share. It makes them want to share. When you inspire your partner, you create a welcoming space where they are encouraged to share but not required to. Inspiration also gives your partner much more freedom in how they respond. When you weave inspiration into your conversations, you can free yourself from the responsibility of knowing what to say next.
Inspiration in Practice
It’s simple and easy to apply inspiration in your conversations. When you want to inspire your partner, be deliberate to share something that might inspire them to share their curiosity, their thoughts, or their story. To inspire your partner to share their curiosity, share something they want to know more about. Use your knowledge of the other person to guide you as you craft great inspirations. When you share your thoughts, it encourages your partner to share their own. Thoughts can be your opinions, your speculations, or a topic that you’re curious about.
Inspire Them To Share Their Story. The best way to inspire your partner to share their story is to share your own story. Tell them about your years in high school, and they will probably answer with a story from their school days.
Invitation And Inspiration In Harmony
Great conversations need both invitation and inspiration. A conversation based entirely around invitations can sound like an interview: nothing but questions and answers. And conversations based entirely around inspirations are hard to do, because what happens when you attempt to inspire your partner and they don’t respond?
If you could move smoothly between invitation and inspiration, it would be ideal. Invitations add guidance and structure to a conversation, and inspirations add intimacy and flexibility.
This means you should start conversations with mostly invitations, and use more inspirations as the conversation progresses. If you find the person is not responding to your inspirations, or the conversation has an awkward pause, then return to using more invitations until the conversation is moving again.
You should use invitations more frequently:
- When the conversation begins
- When you don’t know the other person very well
- When your partner doesn’t seem to know what to say next.
And you should use inspiration more frequently:
- After your partner has shared something personal with you
- After your partner has asked you a personal question
- After you’ve gotten to know your partner better.
You want to start conversations with mostly invitations and then move to mostly inspirations, because this starts with the focus on your partner, not on you.
If you begin your conversation with inspirations, then you’re putting the focus first on you. You haven’t given your partner any reason to believe that you care about their thoughts, so they’re unlikely to respond to your inspiration. Plus, because you’ve only talked about yourself, your partner might assume that you are self-centered—an outcome best avoided.
But when you start with invitations, the focus is clearly on your partner. Your questions reassure your partner that you are interested in them and want to hear their thoughts, so your partner will feel comfortable chiming in when you eventually give them an inspiration.
Ideas how to engage in conversation:
• Make a remark about the venue or occasion, for example : “I love this song”; “The view is great”; “Wow, the food is delicious”.
• Give a compliment: “You look as if you know what you are doing”. “I love your shoes”.
• Ask open-ended questions that begins with what, where, when, why, or how.
• Note anything that you might have in common with the person, for example “ I noticed we drive the same car”. “ I see you also like rugby”.
• Never talk about politics or religion, which might cause a disagreement.
• Listen as well as you can to what others say.
If it does not work out, don’t dwell on it. Move on. Practice again on someone else.
Are you desperate to find that special person that you can love for the rest of your life?
How to find love
Important things you have to know:
Firstly, you have to be happy and content on your own, for you to be happy with another person. Never expect your partner to make you happy. He/she can just add to your happiness and contentment and help you lead a fuller life. They will not be able to ‘make’you happy. If that is what you expect from a partner, you will be place a lot of strain on your relationship right from the start.
Secondly, if you want a perfect partner, you have to be a perfect partner. It is important to know what you want – you can even make a list of aspects that you want in a dream partner. Look in the mirror. Are you what a dream partner is looking for? Most singles start out in their teens or twenties wanting the best partner in all aspects, and by the time they’re twenty five, they drop their expectations a wee bit. And by the time they reach their thirties, they drop all their expectations and date anyone they get.
Now obviously, even if you find your partner by dropping all your expectations, you’re never going to be completely, truly happy in love. You’re always going to look at someone else, and wonder how things could have been if you could have been with your dream partner.
This is one of the biggest reasons why some people start to fall out of love with their own partners after a few years into a long term relationship.
Thirdly, get to know someone vertically very well, before you get to know them horizontally. Fast-paced relationships more often than not, ends in disaster. People always put their best foot forward early in a relationship, but after a year or 18 months it becomes difficult to keep up pretenses. By then the real ”person” appears, and it might be a totally different person and personality that you initially thought. Have a look at the 12 Steps to Intimacy on how slow a relationship should actually progress, for you get to really get to know a person well.
Tips to find that special person:
Present yourself as someone who’s available. Consider your appearance. When you’re looking for love, dress like the best version of yourself. Be an attentive and encouraging listener. If you find someone interesting, ask a lot of questions. Be honest and sincere. In other words, be yourself.
1. Ask yourself – does the relationship feel right for me. Forget what everyone else is saying.
2. Don’t make searching for love your only goal in life.
3. Don’t rely on first impressions – it is not reliable.
4. Know your own flaws and short comings.
5. Get to know a person very well, before engaging in a sexual relationship.
6. Make having fun a priority.
7. Handle rejection gracefully.
If you are in a relationship – nurture it.
Make time for it.
Practice open communication.
Learn how to handle conflict constructively.
Accept change – relationships are not static.
Sometimes a relationship can go haywire with demands, broken trust, lots of fighting and more unhappy moments than happy moments. Take a step back if this happens and have a good look at your relationship. If you find it difficult to process what is wrong, please talk to a counselor – for example on MOBIEG Live Chat.
Be aware of the following warning signs:
It may indicate trouble is brewing in a relationship. They are called red flags.
- Jealousy / no trust
- Dependence or Controlling behaviour
- Relationship is only sexual
- No one-on-one time
- Pressure from partner for you to change
- Rage and unchecked bursts of anger
- Belittling behavior in front of others
- Feeling of underlying fear
- Feelings of depression
- Lies & deception
Questions we can help with:
• Am I in love?
• Is it ok to be jealous?
• Can you make someone love you?
• How do I survive my first fight?
• What to do if your parents do not approve of the person you love?
• Is teen love true love?
• Is your boyfriend too old for you?
• Are you being pressured to do stuff that makes you uncomfortable?
• My boy/girlfriend cheated on me. Should I forgive him/her?
• My best friend is now dating my ex. How do I cope with it?
Test yourself on your relationship knowledge. Do the RELATIONSHIP QUIZ
If you think you might be in an abusive relationship:
Or chat to a facilitator on the Mobieg LIVE CHAT. It is free and anonymous. Get help for troubled relationships.
Answers to relationship questions:
1. You need to be happy on your own, if you want to be happy in a relationship.
2. Being in a bad relationship is unhealthy and dispiriting.
3. Instant sexual attraction and lasting love does not necessarily go hand-in-hand. Emotions change and deepen over time – friends can fall in love.
4. Men and women experience the same feelings – it is human. They just express it differently.
5. Love is rarely static. It evolves, changes, grows or dies.
6. Sexual passion can become stronger over time, because emotions influences passion more than hormones.
7. You can change only yourself, not anyone else. People can change, but only if they want to.
8. You can always change the way you feel, think and act.
9. Conflict is part of any relationship – you just have to learn to handle it constructively.
10. Different interests can bring interesting dimensions into relationships that makes you more attractive to another person.
11. You always have to communicate clearly to your partner what you are thinking or feeling.
12. Children bring new challenges and responsibilities into a relationship. It makes relationships more complicated. It is not a decision to be taken lightly.
13. 100% Certainty about anything in life is a childlike illusion. Life is uncertain. It is okay to have doubts when making big decisions. Rather ask yourself: Is my partner someone with whom I can learn about love?
14. True love has nothing to do with longing or drama that is usually accompanied by feelings of butterflies. Real love is two people standing face-to-face willing to be vulnerable, honest and committed.
15. In adolescent love people live in each others back pockets. In mature love, you value and protect each others separateness, while sharing a third space between you two as a couple when you are together in love.
16. Engagement, not avoidance, is a better conflict resolution. Suppressed conflict makes people more stressed and unhappy, than dealing with it. Communicating your feelings positively and constructively is always better than staying silent.
Book a Counselling Session
You can book individual counselling sessions with the following therapists: