“Do your best to ensure that the person you are going to talk to is in the right frame of mind to receive the message you want to send,” Steinorth said. In other words, if your boss seems stressed, wait until they’re relatively relaxed to request a raise, she said.
5. Empathize during conflicts.
“It’s OK to argue and disagree [but] just do it effectively,” Steinorth said. One way to do that is to empathize with others during a disagreement.
“[Consider] that the other person you’re having a conflict with probably feels like you do. This will help you approach the situation with more patience and understanding as ideally these are things you are seeking as well.”
Be open to their opinion, just like you’d want them to be open to yours, she said. This can be tough in the heat of a debate, so, before responding, pause for five to 10 minutes to remind yourself.
6. Fight fair.
Again, it’s not conflict that chips away at relationships; it’s how you approach conflict that causes problems. “Learn to address the subject, not the person, stay focused, don’t bring in stuff from old arguments, seek compromise if you can’t seek resolution and don’t bad mouth [your loved ones],” Steinorth said.
7. Be prepared to bend.
Sometimes bending is more important than standing your ground. All relationships require compromise. As Steinorth said, “If you value your friendship and the other aspects of it are good, would it really be so bad to give up on a few argument points if it means your relationship will continue?” Usually it’s not bad at all.
8. Tend to your relationship’s needs.
“If you value your relationship with someone, be sure to give it what it needs—be it time, compassion or love,” Steinorth said. If you’re not sure what they need, just ask them, “What can I do to help you feel better?” or “What would you like from me?” she said.
9. Pay attention to the give and take in your relationships.
“Be aware of what you are bringing and taking from your relationships with others,” Steinorth said. That doesn’t mean keeping score. In fact, there will be times in every relationship when one person needs more than the other, she said. “But overall in the healthiest of relationships the scales should pretty much balance out.” One possible sign of imbalance? “You feel that you could never ask the other person for what they ask of you.”
10. Be someone others want to be around.
What types of people do you like to spend time with? What types of people do you not like to spend time with? For instance, if you commonly nag, complain and dish out passive-aggressive comments, your relationships will suffer, Steinorth said.