Tag: Friendships

The challenge of relationships

People must be taken as they are, and we should never try to make them or ourselves better by quarreling with them.  Edmund Burke

One of the many reasons relationships fail is because we have a lot of expectations from the other party and consciously or unconsciously we keep finding faults over trivial matters and blow it out of proportion.  Other times we are so full of ourselves that we fail to understand that we are actually irritating the other person by our selfish and self centered ways.  There are times when we believe we have the right to harshly criticize, articulate uncouthly our feelings particularly when irritated or hurt and worse of all take liberties in ascribing motives to people’s behavior that does not appeal to us. When we let our differences become barbs, turn our expectations into demands and dogmatically spurn friendly overtures to pamper our own ego that is when the first signs of cracks in a relationship show up.

It is tackling our own ego that poses the real problem in maintaining relationships.  Many a time we make an issue of a perceived slight to our ego. It could be a comment that we do not agree with or it could be indifference that we think is deliberate or it could be completely misunderstanding a gesture,  a communication or even non communication.  Other times we want to be given importance, want others to take the lead in touching base with us and far too often we seek to control the relationship. If we step back to take a good hard look at the reasons why we do not get along with some people, why we do not enjoy the company of others and avoid like plague certain individuals we cannot deny the fact that we are in some way at least partly responsible for the situation. Perhaps we need to also look at why the same people could possibly be giving us a wide berth too.

The challenge in any relationship is to balance expectations, minimize presumptions and maintain open communications. This is easier said than done because our personal styles are so varied, we succumb to the pressures of our own emotions and attitudes. While some of us are loud, arrogant and on your face there are others who appear docile, submissive, fearful but are constantly scheming. While those inclined to adopt the aggressive style easily provoke and snap of ties the latter are prone to mask their feelings and yet cunningly severe ties by pushing relationships to the brink. While individual styles play a crucial part in cementing or severing relationships, one can make an attempt to become aware of how to change and soothen ruffled feathers and restore balance and relationships.

The fact is we can with effort on our part, an open mind and honesty of purpose always improve relationships, cement relationships and nurture new relationships. For this the first step is to meet, greet and respect people.  The next step is to acknowledge people, praise them when required, be patient if the need arises and give them their due. To scale up a relationship to a different level be more candid without being offensive,  be honest without being moralistic and be open to all feedback without being judgmental. Patience, respect and acceptance are three virtues that will help us maintain healthy relationship with all those whom we interact with.

Remember: It doesn’t matter what the other is being, doing, having, saying, wanting, demanding. It doesn’t matter what the other is thinking, expecting, planning. It only matters what you are being in relationship to that.

Try this:

  1. Recollect three pleasant memories and one unpleasant memory of your relationship with the following people. Ask why you enjoyed the relationship and how you could have helped improve the relationship that was unpleasant.
  • Your father
  • Your mother
  • Your siblings
  • Your best friend in school
  • Your favorite teacher in school
  • The teacher you disliked immensely
  • A current colleague or batch mate
  1. Name one person who comes to mind in the following situations
  • An actor or actress you dislike
  • A player/ sportsman who you feel is overrated
  • An idol/ icon who you would love to meet
  • The sweetest person you can think of immediately
  • A person known to you personally for whom you feel really sorry for.
  • Someone you need to really apologize to.

(In the first three cases are you justified in your feelings since you do not know the people concerned personally)

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our WEEKLY Inspirational and Motivational Blog www.poweract.blogspot.com

True friends…

The best mirror is an old friend. Anon

Before you read any further, get up go to the mirror and have a good look at yourself. Did you notice the creases on your forehead, the tiny pimple on your face, the beginning of baggy eyes or perhaps you noticed at least one grey hair. If you didn’t see any of these, then you need to look again or improve the lighting or change your mirror. The beauty of a mirror is not in what it reveals but in honestly displaying back warts, moles, pimples and all without fear or favor. Unfortunately a mirror cannot reflect the person in you; your attitudes, your inner feelings, the fears, hopes, desires that permeate your thoughts. An old friend is thus your best mirror who helps you see yourself from the inside.

An old friend is one who knows us intimately and more importantly someone who knows us for a long time. When we appreciate that friendship is all about a good understanding, a close intimacy and utmost trust we realize that over the many years we have shared most of our innermost feelings with our friends. They know how we behave, react, respond and express ourselves in varied situations and circumstances. It is also possible that they have in subtle and not so subtle ways pointed out what they felt were undesirable qualities, traits, behavioral tendencies in us. Depending on our moods, our interpretations of those criticisms and our closeness to our friends, we could have partially acknowledged some criticism, defended most and ignored what didn’t suit us. In extreme cases we could have attributed motives to our friends and perhaps made our friendship more circumspect and even unfortunately in rare cases broken a friendship.

As a friend to others, we too have a similar obligation to our friends. There is risk in being too upfront and forthright and so we need to be more tactful, time our feedback appropriately and be unbiased and fair. However many a time we believe that criticism will not be taken in the right spirit and so most times our observations and criticism of others are shared with other close friends while the protagonist remains blissfully unaware and incapable of taking any proactive steps. It is just as important for us to encourage our friends and point out their strengths and abilities. There are many times when a wavering friend on the verge of taking a major personal or professional decision requires a friend’s nudge by way of support to take the plunge. Many a time as a friend our responsibility is to stand by a friend when he/ she is going through a personal crisis even if it was self inflicted or a result of foolhardiness on their part despite your warnings. Unlike a mirror which stoically reflects, a good friend must proactively empathize and sympathize making us one better than the heartless mirror.

Remember: “Self-revelation is a cruel process. The real picture, the real you never emerges. Looking for it is as bewildering as trying to know how you really look. Ten different mirrors show you ten different faces.” Shashi Deshpande

Try this:

  1. Name three faults in your best friend. Have you been able to tell your friend about these faults? If not what has held you back?  If you have told how has the friend reacted to it?
  2. What are the 3 criticism you have received from anyone, which hurt you the most? Were those criticisms justified? Did any feedback from a good friend hurt you? Have you severed ties with a good friend because of what he/ she said and you didn’t like it because it hurt you? Have you ever apologized and made up with your friend?

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our WEEKLY Inspirational and Motivational Blog www.poweract.blogspot.com

Taking interest

Real unselfishness consists in sharing the interests of others.  George Santayana

In our daily interactions we are bound to meet a large cross section of people some of whom we forge friendships and with others we maintain a purely professional relationship. What is common to both types of interactions is that there is some common ground for dialogue, discussion and decision making. When the area of common ground expands professional associations migrate into friendships and we forge stronger bonds and ties. The undercurrent that is flowing all the while is in the interchange of ideas, thoughts and interests that the interested parties have in common. If there is no commonality of interest the possibility of that relationship sustaining is very minimal.

The big trouble of communication in any relationship is that we cannot always find common ground that interests all parties.  There is always at least one topic which one party loves and the other party finds it hard to appreciate. If a person is passionate about something he/ she will always be gung-ho about it and would love to find an ardent listener, alas if we do not like the topic we would make all attempts to indicate so. The reason for this is that we are selfish by nature and find it painful to put up with what does not interest us. If we are prepared to see things from the other person’s point of view and be patient we would make the profound discovery that we can forge wonderful relationships.

Do we fake interest in others interests? Good salesmen are quite adept at doing this, for they have with experience learned to initially fake attention, pretend to show interest and try to pry into the passions of the buyer. They are well aware that if one can pander to the interest of the buyer, it won’t be long before they can get the potential buyer to be interested in what they have to sell. Notice that the salesman has a long term motive that drives him/her to start off by faking interest but then quickly reorient their mindset to actually participate in the potential buyer’s interest.  Each one of us must make this effort when we are clear that we have to be interested in the other party. Mark McCormack in his bestselling  book What they don’t teach you at Harvard Business School gives an example of how he paid attention to the secretary in the office of a potential sponsor, who was cutting stamps from the inward mail envelopes, for the bosses  son who was an avid stamp collector. The next time Mark visited the sponsoror, he carried with him a huge collection of stamps for the potential sponsor’s son. This little gesture of paying attention to an innocuous activity paid rich dividends for Mark who bagged the huge sponsorship deal.

One can really benefit by paying attention and taking interest in others because, we establish common ground, draw people to ourselves and forge new alliances. In the long run, it is to these relationships that we can safely turn to and leverage whenever we need to. This is because we have unselfishly made the effort to draw people to ourselves and by taking in interest in them we have reinforced the bonds of friendship. In being unselfish we have not laid any conditions nor kept any expectations and so the relationship is spontaneous, genuine and endearing.

Remember: “A person with a hundred interests is twice as alive as one with only fifty and four times as alive as the man who has only twenty-five”  Norman Vincent Peale

Try this:

  1. Try to learn a new sport/ card game./ card trick/ skill. How easy was it to pick up the new activity? What contributed to the speed of picking up?  Did you get frustrated initially and how did you motivate yourself when frustrated?
  2. Identify 3 boring people who you prefer to avoid. Analyze why you find them a bore? Make an attempt to meet one of these persons and spend at least an hour with this person. Have you made any new observations about the person? Identify 3 strengths of the person that you never knew.

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our WEEKLY Inspirational and Motivational Blog www.poweract.blogspot.com

Nurturing friendships

Friendship is a plant which must be often watered.  Anon

Each one of us would recall wistfully, that over the years we have made friends with so many people. Whilst some bonds still remain very endearing and strong there are so many friendships that have simply withered away over time.  Nurturing friendships holds the key to ensure that the friends we make continue to have a special place in our hearts and we in their hearts too. Strangely enough if we were to attempt to pinpoint the time when our friendship with a person drifted apart, we would just not be able to identify any such specific time frame. It then dawns on us that we just did not use the opportunities to reconnect, rebuild or restore our intimacy and camaraderie.

Nurturing friendship takes effort, requires the right frame of mind and a very positive attitude. It is akin to planting a seed, watering it, caring for it and patiently awaiting the plant to flower. The big challenge in nurturing friendship is ensuring that we are in sync with our friend, have implicit trust in the relationship and be confident that the other person will reciprocate in like manner. Occasionally even friends would have their moods and disagreements. Respecting both the mood swings and the differing point of view are both implicit in the process of strengthening a friendship. It is important to understand that it is not just those who agree who become friends but those who also appreciate each other for the independent views, contrasting styles and yet find vast expanses of common ground.

There are various reasons why a friendship fizzles out. While misunderstandings could bring a good friendship to a dramatic break off, most times circumstances play a very vital part in us not being able to nurture friendships. With people moving to far distances there is both a big chasm and a huge void in relationships. Similarly people discover new friends, change their social circle, change as individuals, have widely different expectations etc. all of which slowly but surely contribute to a break off. Fortunately technology has now made it possible to dramatically close this growing divide be it by email that is instantaneous and the mobile phones with video technology that ensures real time communication and visual proximity. Searching and locating long lost friends are now become the norm and a favorite pass time. With alumni networks proliferating the time is ripe to reconnect and relive the good old days.

Connecting and reconnecting through technology is but a small but significant step in the process of nurturing friendships. Any feeling of burden, expectations, force or hypocrisy would sound the death knell for even the most intimate and close friendships. The real connection involves nurturing relationships, seeking out areas of common connect, going that extra mile to cement the friendship and reveling in the joy that the friendship provides.

Remember: “A friend is a hand that is always holding yours, no matter how close or far apart you may be. A friend is someone who is always there and will always, always care. A friend is a feeling of forever in the heart.”

Try this:

  1. Take out an old photo album of your school days and attempt to recollect all the classmates. Now choose 3-5 classmates  or childhood friends with whom you were very close then but who have disappeared from your life. Using the various social networks and other resources try to locate at least 2 such friends and try to revive the relationship and friendship.
  2. During the coming year make a firm resolution to wish your friends on their birthdays, anniversaries and other happy occasions with personalized messages not plain and staid run of the mill messages. Perhaps you can even attempt to surprise them with an unexpected visit or an impromptu party or just a gift for an occasion he/ she is just not expecting. See how your friendship really blossoms.

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our WEEKLY Inspirational and Motivational Blog www.poweract.blogspot.com