Relationship Help That Gets You To Your Goals Faster

Relationship Help That Gets You To Your Goals Faster

Aug 10, 2022

Relationship help is a valuable resource for anyone looking to improve their relationship. Here is an in-depth guide that can help you reach your goals faster.

Work Relationships

Taking the time to learn how to enhance your work relationships will help you excel you in all areas of your life.

A positive work relationship has several benefits, including:

  • Easier to excel at what you are good at
  • Easier to be promoted
  • Less stress which can translate into a better home life after hours
  • More income
  • Better health

This article will provide you with the bare essentials for you to get started today on improving your work and other personal relationships.

How to Build Work Relationships

The first step in building work relationship and stepping up your mental health is to understand something about human nature. Understanding your biology will help you think on your feet and to not always rely on books or outside sources to guide you.
The most important principle to follow is our biology is dictating what safety means. The safer you make it for people to feel safe around you, the more available they will be to build a relationship with.

What does safe look like:

  • When conflict arises, ask lots of questions rather than to be accusatory
  • Show an interest in what people like or are excited about. You don’t have to like what they believe or are interested in at all. Instead, focus on their excitement and passion for the topic and the conversation will be much easier.
  • When you listen to people, listen for what excites them. Continue to ask questions to flesh out what it means to them.

Later, follow up on what they discussed in a previous conversation. “How did your son do in his first game?” or “How was the graduate party the other night? Did you get a lot of nice pics? What a nice memory to record for you and your wife.” Demonstrate mutual excitement in their life.

Interpersonal Skills In The Workplace

There are some key interpersonal skill you’ll want to consider as you build your skill set. Here is a starter list:

How to Repair a Damaged Professional Relationship

It’s inevitable that conflict will occur in every relationship. No two humans are identical in their way of thinking. Rather than resisting and avoiding, I’d suggest learning a few skills and navigate conflict so you maintain trust in the relationship.

The first step to repairing any breach in a relationship is to take responsibility for your part in the situation. No one is ever innocent.

Anytime I am in a conflict, I ask myself, “How am I contributing to this situation?”
Over 25 years of doing this, I’ve trained my mind to answer back what was going on in me.

Then you turn to the person and say something like, “Yeah, what I heard you say was ... and I can see how I contributed to that because what I was thinking was...”

It’s especially important not to be blaming or take on the position of the martyr or victim. This only exasperates the issue.

When I hear someone racing to the victim position, I will not contribute to it by getting defensive. That only makes it worse and builds more distrust. Instead, I repeat in my mind what they said and I ask myself, “Is any part of what they said feel true to me?” If it does, I admit my part. If it doesn’t, I repeat back what I heard and ask if they need anything from me.

Some people are deeply wounded and are walking around like a complaint waiting to happen. I won’t spend much of my time with those people. I’m respectful, but will not engage with them. Others are just unskilled and don’t do it on purpose. I can typically sense when someone has good intentions but is fumbling around trying to repair the conflict or find their voice.

Develop an ear for people who take responsibility for their life. Those are the people to align with that you can build solid relationships with to excel in each other’s careers.
Practice with people if you need to. I find, when possible, if I can get someone to practice a tough conversation with me, it’s easier to find the right words. It’s easier to see if my default is to race to the victim or blame position or if I genuinely inquire and reflect on what I may have done to contribute to the conflict.

I also will own my part right away if the person is right. Insecure people will defend. I don’t recommend this. It not only builds mistrust, it also digs a deeper hole. Just own what you did and say what you will do next time. Saying what you will do next time instead puts your ego on notice. Our egos dislike making mistakes and apologizing. When we say out loud what we will do next time, our ego will often warn us we are about to make the same mistake. It becomes easier and easier to catch yourself down the road.

How to Work on Interpersonal Skills

Interpersonal skills are essential if you want to get ahead in life. There are many ways you can build your skills.

One thing that helps to speed the process is to understand your favorite learning style.
Are you a kinesthetic learner? A visual learner? Or are you an auditory learner?

Each of us has a preferred learning style that combines these three types. You would do well in learning your favorite and others you often interact with. Imagine trying to solve a conflict with someone who is a kinesthetic learner and you are sending them text messages. Or an auditory learner when you are talking using feeling descriptions? There will probably be a disconnect.

Once you learn your preferred style of learning, decide where sources of training can come from. An auditory learner may enjoy podcast. A visual and kinesthetic learner may enjoy YouTube. Remember though, it’s not enough to hear or watch, you must practice for the real learning to happen.

Take a moment right now and write your preferred learning style and what modalities you prefer to learn through.

Improve Interpersonal Relationships

The most important investment you can make in life is to improve your interpersonal skills. Interpersonal skills are skills that are constantly in flux with every human you encounter.

Human emotions cause unpredictableness from one moment to the next, how someone is going to respond to anything you present. This is a fact of life. The quicker you adopt this understanding, the faster you can pivot to a different strategy when needed.

Take a moment right now and take a piece of paper. Draw a line down the middle of the page. On one side, write the consistent issues that seem to trip you up with social skills.

For example, if I was to reflect on my life, here would have been my list around 1995:

  • Awkward around groups
  • Felt insecure to voice my opinion
  • Didn’t know how to take an interest in other people
  • Didn’t know what “keeping it safe for others” meant
  • Would quickly blame others for my disappointment
  • Would resist authority figures as evil
  • Did not feel safe to tell the truth
  • Thought “others” were the problem
  • Would shut down when conflict would come up or get angry

Take a moment now and make your own list.

This list will serve you well as you work through building a plan for yourself to improve your interpersonal skills.

Realize now it takes time and practice to rewire your old default patterns. And it’s well worth it. Today, I feel confident where-ever I may be in discerning whatever may go on in my environment. For example, today, I can observe team dynamics and tell you within minutes what is happening that is causing the team to stay in dysfunctional behaviors and not be able to transcend into being a productive group.

Basic Relationship Skills

So where do you start?

As I mentioned before, start by remembering that everyone on the planet filters information through a safety filter first. We are wired to guarantee our safety, so anything you say that taps into the person’s limbic alarm system in the center of their brain will quickly disrupt flow.

So pause and ask yourself, “Will this cause the person to move into a fight, flight, or freeze response?”

If so, then you may need to deliver the message in a way that they feel safe.
For example, you can say something like “I’m not sure I’m going to say this in a way that feels healthy, but I’ll try it and apologize afterwards if it doesn’t.” OR “I want to be nice about sharing what I’m thinking but not sure I will convey my words the right way. Are you okay with me practicing a couple times if it doesn’t come out right?”

In time, you will know exactly what to say and when to say it.

Which brings up another skill to learn. Humans have this thing called short-term memory. Short-term memory stores information it wants quick access to. Stress causes short-term memory to overload. Think of it as the teacup is full, and if you add one more drop, it will overflow. The brain works the same way.

With practice, you can look at someone and determine if they appear overwhelmed or not. You can also ask them.

The next step is to go slow when delivering your message. Small chunks are best. I often see people do a brain-dump on someone with 7-8 issues buried in the message. Even a non-stressed person will have a hard time responding to that. If that ever happens to you, ask the person to pause so you can repeat back what they have said so far. That will create a break in the amount of information that is coming at you so your brain can more easily digest the data.

Blind Spots

You’ll also want to learn what your blind spots are. The list you made earlier is a good place to start. I used to be terrible about repeating back what I heard from people. Instead, I’d go numb and not have a clue what to say. It overwhelmed me just at the thought I might “get it wrong.” In time, while doing a better job managing what I could take in from a person, I became skilled at slowing things down and exploring with the other person what they meant by something.

We all have our blind spots. Learn to name yours by looking at the results you are getting. If someone says, “you never listen to me,” write that down and have them help you unpack what that looks like to them, so you have a better idea what to work on in yourself.

Here are some common blind spots:

  • Blaming others for our demise or disappointments
  • Use victim language rather than taking responsibility for our perceptions and the way we are reacting
  • Rescue others because we feel bad for them or because we think someone we will feel better self worth. (hint: anything we do because of fear never works)
  • Comparison: We compare ourselves to others and feel bad
  • Future Thinking: We imagine catastrophic events in the future when in reality it’s impossible to know until something happens
  • Race to the helpless position when things don’t go our way
  • Have a broken learning model. A healthy learning model welcomes all life experiences and learns from them.

How To Improve Interpersonal Communication Skills

Now, if you’ve made the list I recommended earlier, you are ready to do some skill building.

Head on over to your favorite media broadcast tool (e.g. Local library, YouTube, Apple PodCast, Amazon Books, etc) and search on topics that may educate you around what you are interested in.

Listen to the authors. Write notes in your own language and how you will apply it to your life.

I find it useful to write out scenarios and play them back in my mind when a situation didn’t go as well as I wanted.

I also developed a reflective loop. Any time I interact with another person, I walk away and reflect on how I thought things went. I ask myself if I would do anything different or if I left anything out. I’m constantly refining my approach.

If you argue and fight with your significant other, investigate one of my programs called How To Stop Fighting And Arguing. It’s loaded with tools and tips for repairing your relationship and getting trust and harmony back.

Another, more advanced program is my program called Getting Relationships Right. It’s a program designed to break down all the integrity tools needed to make relationships succeed. You can find a description of that program here.

What Steps Can I Take To Improve My Relationships?

Let’s now look at some simple steps to relationship success so you can develop a plan for yourself.

First, if you are a manager, pay attention to each interaction you have. Based on what I’ve discussed so far, list out areas you can see where you have blind spots. Then follow what we discussed above to build your skills.

If you want better personal relationships, here is a list you can use to get started.

Modify as you need:

  1. Make a list of your blind spots. Practice ahead of time how to handle them in a way that produces better results.
  2. Reflect on each interaction. List what you did well and what you’d like to change.
  3. Ask the other person how it went. If there was a conflict, ask them if there was any way you could have made it safer for them to explore the issue.
  4. Study. There are many resources for building interpersonal skills that are free and at low cost. I mention a couple of my courses above.
  5. Practice. If something you want to communicate feels overwhelming to you, look for a person who you can role play with. You can set up a first free session with me here if you want to practice in privacy.
  6. Ask for a “Do Over.” My girlfriend loves this one. Sometimes things go south in our dynamic. When I realize I made a blunder, I ask her for a do over. She loves those because she realizes my intention was not evil and she loves that I’m reflecting and taking responsibility. Over time, she has developed a deep trust in our connection and things go much smoother than they did for me 25 years ago when I started this journey.

Conflict Management

Part of life includes people thinking differently. Perceptions are shaped by the experiences we have and the meaning we make out of those experiences. Much of the time, the meaning we make is missing information. The conclusions we draw, especially in the first 7 years of life, are often missing large chunks of information that would change the way we think about things.

If we can keep that in mind, it’s easier to navigate difference with others. Arguments happen when people want to be right and cling to their beliefs. Practice knowing it’s okay to disagree with someone.

When you think about it, and research shows this to be true, what causes us to react to people is losing our sense of identity, mattering in the world or that we will lose connection with the other person. We are hard-wired to survive together. When a person disagrees, they are tampering with that internal mechanism inside each of us.

If, early in life, our secure base felt threatened a lot, it is easier later on in life to feel insecure about people’s responses to our beliefs. When we open up and ask more questions, though, we can repair that secure base.

So the key in all conflicts is:

  1. Be open to what key message the person is conveying. Seek to understand. It’s not a requirement to agree. Make it safe for them to have their opinion. When it comes time to share your thoughts, they will be more open to other perspectives.
  2. Practice inquiry. The more information you have about another person’s perspective, the more you can learn. Asking questions to them also helps them to “hear themselves” and to question their own perspective. It may take a few days, but how many times have you resisted what someone has said, only to make some adjustments to your own thinking a few days later?

How Do I Change Myself For a Better Relationship?

The best change comes when we want to change. The difference between “I need to change” versus “I want to change” is like night and day.

“I need to change” implies fear. That is an exhausting way to go through life. It’s a clue you are running fear based strategies to survive. As I’ve mentioned before, sometimes a fear response is completely appropriate. Yet, with everyday life behaviors and habits, I don’t recommend using fear as a strategy to motivate yourself.

Practice for a moment out loud saying “I want to change “X”" and “I need to change “X”" (fill in the “X” with something that you actually want) and see which one feels better in the body. I think you’ll agree “Want” is a better choice.

Let’s now assume you WANT to change. How do you go about it?

At this stage in your life, I’m going to give you the best advice I ever received. It goes like this...

Our brain will constantly try to “fix” ourselves if we allow it. So first, you need to learn what the difference is.

When you want to create something in this world, there is excitement and curiosity. When you want to make something “go away” like “something is wrong with you” there is a contraction – which is fear. Feeling this kind of fear is a clue you are probably in a fear response grabbing for straws to get through life in that moment. When you feel this way, pause and acknowledge you may be scared. Breathe into the middle of those feelings. Stay there until you feel a shift into calmness.

Then ask yourself, “What am I wanting?” Write that down, then take action to create it.
Take small steps towards what you want. Reward yourself along the way.
In time, you will shift from a “there is something wrong with me,” mindset to a “what do I want to create” mindset.

Problems often fall in one of two buckets. The first bucket is “trying to make something go away.” The second bucket is “trying to bring something into creation.” I recommend cultivating the second one if you really want to feel satisfied at the end of your life.
I am also well aware that when we have severe developmental trauma (trauma related to self-confidence, self worth, belonging, mattering, etc) what I’m asking you to do it a tall order.

You can visit my blog at for how to deal with that type of emotional blockage. For now, though, begin focusing today on what you want to create and get busy!

Relationship Help For Couples

Couples come together because they unconsciously see both the good and bad in each other. Our personal radar system is incredible. In seconds, we can assess someone and desire them or not. In time, it’s uncanny how your lives may be parallel each other. We see the best and the worst of our parents in every person we meet.

You probably already know we project our past into the present. It’s the way our brains work. We can’t not project. You don’t have a choice.

Where you have a choice is to complete the things from the past that still upset you. If you are projecting incompletions from the past, that is a problem, so you’ll want to learn how to complete with your past.

What I have discovered about completions in working with couples and my own relationships for 25 years now (With a lot of training) is there are a couple place to reflect on:

  1. Is there an incompletion that needs to be processed?
  2. Is there a skill I want to be developed in myself?
  3. Do I have a habit that needs to change?

These three questions will guide you in your next move.
Habits seem to be the easiest to change once you know what success looks like. Learning how to write vision statements will speed your process of changing any habits you’d like to change.

As for relationship skills, see below the list I created of the essential skills you’ll want to develop.

Incompletions seem to take the longest to resolve. Sometimes issues are complex. They circle back in a multitude of ways, until you recognize the signs and continue the practice of getting resolution. Rarely is resolution completed in one fall swoop. It usually happens in cycles.

One key aspect of relationships that can go a long way in supporting you is to always remember: our brain wants to survive. Learning what a secure base is and maintaining it are key. Most problems in relationships dissolve when it's safe to communicate anything. Deal with that directly and you will save yourself a lot of processing time and therapy.

Make a commitment today to always strive to make the secure base for each other protected and secure and it will be easier to work out differences.

What Are The Stages of Relationships?

Let’s agree that we are discussing intimate relationships in this description. All relationships will involve many of the stages relationships go through, but intimate relationships are where our deepest challenges come forth that we will want to face and resolve.

Stage 1: Interest

Stage one is the attraction stage. Something about them is drawing you in. In my experience, we see the best and the worst of our parents and will soon get an opportunity to re-work and outstanding incompletions.

Stage 2: Level of Intimacy

Perhaps any time we connect with another human being, we are at some level of intimacy. I agree with that. The intimacy I’m talking about is when you are sending a message to the other person you are interested in taking things to a new level.
For example, if you are walking down the street talking, reaching over and wanting to hold their hand is a very intimate moment. It sends the message to the other person you have placed them in a special place in your life and you would like to express that further. The other person, if they are ready, will meet you in that space.

There are many levels of intimacy and I recommend pausing and deciding for yourself if you can “back up” what message you are sending. If you reach over to hold their hand, be sure you can be consistent with your commitment to back up the message you are sending the other person. If you back off a day later, you will send a mixed message and activate the part of their brain that will go on high alert. Trust is a big deal if you have not already noticed it in your life. The more consistency and trust you build, the easier relationships are.

Other intimate moments to reflect on:

  • being curious about who they are as a person (beyond the looks or sexual energy)
  • asking on a date
  • flirting
  • kissing
  • love making
  • marriage proposal
  • having a child

Stage 3: Commitment (How to improve communication skills in relationships)

In stage 3, you are ready to commit. This is the stage where any issues with intimacy will reveal itself.

When we commit to someone, it activates any remaining fears (incomplete processing of emotional moments) of what happened to us when we were growing up.
When we are little and don’t understand the world and all its complications—like rejection, violence, emotional attacks, sexual violations, and so on that make a distinct impression on us. They can be so hurtful, they cause us to shut our heart down. Those events cause us to develop coping mechanisms and behaviors that will eventually come out if our current situation reminds us of those events.

So you could view your commitment as a way of “flushing-up” what you need to revisit so you can decide how you want to be now. As an adult, you have more skills to investigate the meanings people have about their behaviors. You don’t have to react the same way you did as a child when, frankly, you were helpless to sort it out effectively. Instead, today you can investigate and get more information.

With that new information, you can then decide, with the other person ideally, how you want it to be now. Chances are pretty high you probably had similar things happened to you. Now you get to design the life you really want and practice getting it together.
Effective communication skills in relationships develop through an ongoing practice. Don’t expect to get it right from the beginning. Consider building them into your lifestyle knowing it takes time and practice and different situations to get skilled.

Stage 4: Navigate Conflict

When you enter stage 4, all your “best behaviors” are drifting off to the wayside. You are now getting more real with your partner.

In this stage, you are being asked to revisit your way-strategy for dealing with conflict. Most people repeat patterns that create an unsafe environment for a healthy relationship to take hold. This is the stage that will set the tone for success or failure.
If you can develop the skills to work through any conflict, then intimacy can remain stable. If, however, you behave in a way that constantly threatens relationship security, you’ll eventually lose that potential relationship.

Focus your attention on creating a safe environment to explore what each of you needs to always feel safe and to express yourself. Make some agreements and keep those agreements.

Sample agreements may include:

  • We agree to move into curiosity when conflict arises (as opposed to blaming or racing to being a victim)
  • We agree to hold each other accountable to be our best person and to see each other as capable of handling emotions even when it’s scary, so we can make the best possible decisions
  • We agree to name the “elephant in the room” when neither of us is talking about what is happening
  • We agree to self reflect how we could have done something better and reach out to repair it without the other person needing to make the first move

You get the idea.

Stage 5: Intimacy Maintenance

If you do well in the previous stages, it's easy to slip into complacency. You’ll know you are in stage 5 when you are bored.

Remember, it’s up to each person to source their own happiness. We are creative beings by nature. We are happiest when we are creating and enjoying life to the fullest. If we stagnate, it’s easy to think the other person is the problem.

Be sure to reflect often on your ability to step fully into your creative impulses. Tell your partner what you are feeling and thinking. Support each other’s personal growth in areas that may be a stretch for the relationship.

How To Improve A Relationship

The question to ask yourself with this question is, what do you want? It answers the question “How to strengthen relationships?”

“What you want” is always influencing and motivating your next decision. Decide right now to learn to stay in touch with what you want in your life. Don’t wait for life to come to you. Go to it instead. Start the conversation about what you want with your partner or boss. Share your truth. Share your fears of co-creating with another. Whatever it is, don’t squander it. Share it vocally and decide if you want to take action.

We can get out of touch with our own needs and wants. One reason this happens is our parents were overly controlling.

Make a commitment today to practice reflecting on what you want. Then ask for it. Share your thoughts with your partner and see what they think. Then take action if that feels like the next best step.

Here are some common unspoken desires in intimate relationships:

  • Feel safer when conflict arises
  • To be heard
  • To know you matter
  • More touch
  • More eye contact
  • More exploration-playfulness around sexuality

How To Attract The Right Person

The question “How do I attract the right person” is probably one of the top three questions asked about relationships.

Here is my take on this:

Every potential partner is going to teach you the next lesson(s) you need to learn.
If you get the lessons and not just reinforce negative coping strategies when conflict emerges, you will either stay with the person you are with or be closer to finding Mr or Ms right the next time around.

Here is the inescapable truth: the more you clear the issues from your past, the easier it is to see why you’re attracted to someone.

We are creative organisms by nature. If we are not creating, then we are usually sleeping, doing daily task, or maybe creating some kind of drama related to our past.
When you learn healthy interpersonal skills, the drama’s disappear and you spend more time creating your ideal life.

Drama comes from either bad habits, lack of education (dysfunctional values and beliefs you bought into as a child), or trauma.

My encouragement to you is to learn how to dismantle these dramas and start focusing your energy on a life worth living.

Back to attracting the ideal partner...

Take a moment right now and write out what would happen in your ideal relationships. Be sure to word it in the positive. Don’t say “...we never argue.” Because the brain hears that as “argue.” It’s like, “don’t think of a pink elephant” your brain obviously thinks of the elephant.

After you write it, read it a few times. See if there is anything else you want. Add it. Come back to your vision statement every few days for a while until you feel like it really articulates your dream relationship.

Include how you handle these topics:

  • Conflict
  • Listening skills
  • Empathy skills
  • Responsibility
  • Accountability
  • Intimate Connection (eye gazing, touch, spending quality time together)
  • Expression of your creativity and how you support each other’s creativity.

Obviously, there is a lot more to consider, but this is a good start. I will expand on this in future blogs.

How To Attract The Right Man

This seems to be a popular question on Google searches, so let’s address it lightly here.

First, follow the direction I’m recommending above. Just doing that will make a vast difference.

Next, I’d recommend practicing...

Go slow: There are levels of intimacy we need to earn from each other. When you go slow, and feel into what is trying to happen, you’ll get a better sense when something is being rushed or out of sequence.

Ask yourself these questions regularly:

  1. Is this a pace that feels good to me?
  2. Is there anything I’m ignoring?
  3. Are my expectations realistic or am I making a wall so large no man can get over because of my hurts from the past?
  4. Are they a reflective person?
  5. Do they take responsibility for their life?
  6. Do they know how to create a secure base for our relationship to grow and learn together?
  7. Am I letting them off the hook for things that bother me?
  8. When I share my fears, how do they respond? Are the curious how they contributed or defensive? Do the express empathy? (Hint: defensive is probably not good)
  9. Are they actually available? Are they still talking about old girlfriends, spending time with them, angry about the past, or in close enough proximity to name a few?
  10. Do they understand what intimacy is and how to cultivate it? A good litmus test for this is eye gazing. Do they look at you and make regular healthy physical contact, especially after sex?

While this is not an all-inclusive list, it’s a good start.

Key Relationship Skills

There are core ways to improve interpersonal relationships you will want to master in life. If you refine the following skills, most issue get worked out. Above and beyond these skills, strive to make a safe place to explore meanings and beliefs with each other. That skill alone takes you a long way to healing any issues that are bound to come up.

Here are the core relationship skills to develop excellence around. Consider this a basic life skills list as well:

  • How to date someone
  • Presence Skills
  • Attunement Skills
  • Empathy
  • Responsibility For Your Interpretations and Responses To Life
  • Moving Into Curiosity Instead of Lashing Out
  • Couples Conflict Resolution
  • Self Care
  • Setting Healthy Boundaries
  • Processing Emotions in a Healthy Way
  • Creating Safe Space To Explore Any Difference That Arises
  • Getting Clear What Your Wants And Needs Are In Any Given Moment
  • Communication Skills In Relationships
  • Asking For What You Need
  • Facing Reality Squarely
  • Discerning What Is In Your Control Versus What Is Out Of Your Control
  • Discerning When You Are Coming From Fear Versus Wanting To Create Something New
  • Sourcing Your Own Happiness

Why Are Relationship Skills Important?

Learning healthy relationship skills gives you an advantage in life and solves common relationship problems. 99.9% of the world population has no clue that their memory system causes them to decide on autopilot 85-95% of the day. Like water is to a fish, habituated patterns are linked to the accumulation of experiences in life and the meanings we made of those experiences.

It makes sense when we are young we don’t really have critical thinking skills to not take things personally. Taking things personally, hurts us later in life. We end up carrying those impressions and beliefs forward into our future lives. When we get triggered, we feel bad, angry, or fearful and we draw conclusions filtered through those past experiences that were not always accurate in the way we evaluated them. We need to remember this and change the way we filter information today, in the present.

Today, you can instead practice a “do over” with those issues. If something seems familiar to you from the past, process it differently. In time, it will become clear that your memory system is constantly influencing you. It’s up to you to change it.

Your memory system dictates your perceptions. Every experience that comes into your 5 senses (6 if you count intuition) is changed and filtered according to the meanings you have assigned to similar events from the past. This can work against you later in life.

Each person is at the mercy of their upbringing. In the first 7 years of life, you got exposed to relational patterns that will continue throughout your life. The sooner you learn what your patterns are, the quicker you can change and tweak them so you can get better results.

The sooner you can learn to process those old “incompletions” the quicker your perceptions reflect current reality versus filtering life through a lens that is missing information.

The result is, you live a fuller and better life. You become the master of your domain. You become the captain of your ship, as Robin Williams expressed in Dead Poet Society!

Take a moment now and journal about what relationship skills you’d like to change. Make a commitment and take the first step.

Emotional Intelligence In Relationships

Much of what we have talked about (solving relationship problems) in this article is about emotional intelligence. I’d like to end this article with this in mind. Humans are emotional beings. Without emotions, we have no compass on where to go in our interactions. Make emotions your friend for good mental health and you will keep them in a healthy perspective when stuff happens to you.

I’m reflecting on Daniel Goleman’s Book Emotional Intelligence back in the early 90s. I loved that book and his wisdom still applies today.

Yet, as a summary of this article, I want to give you some practices I think will get meaningful results on your skill set much faster than the general categories he discusses in the book.

  1. Practice tracking bodily sensations. I won’t get into the neurobiology of why this matters, but if you want to speed up your ability to navigate emotions in the fastest way possible, learn to pause, breathe and track bodily sensations. There is a lot of research about why this works so well. The short answer is when you practice simply breathing and tracking sensations, while turning off your analyzer, you learn to self regulate your nervous system better.
  2. Neuroscience has concluded through 40+ years of study that most humans operate 85-95% of the time on autopilot based on our memories and meaning we have been making since we were born. When you practice turning off the analyzer and focus instead on the breath and tracking sensations, you dismantle any trauma that is influencing you unconsciously.
  3. Practice curiosity. The mistake we make as children is to draw conclusions based on limited information. Then we often suffer for well into our adult life until we learn how to do things differently. By practicing curiosity when conflict arises, you are dismantling any perspectives that are coming from fear. Fear never works (unless the house is on fire and you need to get out), so I highly encourage you to embody a sense of curiosity and wonder when you disagree with someone. The rule of thumb is: If you find yourself defending, there is a pretty good chance the other person is seeing something you cannot because you’ve been doing it for so long you can’t see it. Moving into curiosity instead is always a safe bet.
  4. Slow things down. We often make irrational decisions because our short-term memory becomes flooded. To overcome this dilemma, learn to slow things down. Practice observing where your breath is. If you are high in your chest, there is a pretty good chance your brain is in a fight, flight, freeze pattern. You’ll want to shift away from that. In those moments, shift into full body breathing. When you slow things down, you’ll more easily see what you must adjust to, minimizing negative consequences.
  5. Listen for the underlying need. Any time you hear an accusation or complaint, there is a need going on behind it. You will be ahead of the conflict game if you listen to people in a way that strives to understand what is the underlying message the person is trying to convey. Focus on empathy and it will be easier. Any relationship problems get easier when you adopt this stance. Ask them if you are unsure.
  6. Learn presencing. Presencing is having the ability to get into the here and now of life. When we are stuck in the past, unresolved about highly emotional experiences, picturing a dismal future, or making up stories based on biased assumptions, we are setting ourselves up for trouble. Learn to get present and let go of the past, the future or expectations. When you are present, it is much easier to move into curiosity rather than to default into old patterns of protection.
  7. Learn attunement. Attunement is having the ability to feel into yourself and know what you want or needing. When you get good at that attunement is also about tuning into others and knowing what they are trying to convey, what excites them, what concerns them and so on. Without attunement, people talk “At” each other, not with each other.

Ed Ferrigan has been teaching individuals, couples, groups and teams communication skills for the past 25 years. You can learn more about his unique model by heading on over to Be sure to check out is different programs for online learning while you are there.