Small changes in your behavior go a long way toward turning a so-so relationship into one that is dynamic and rewarding.
Throw your doors wide open
BE ACCEPTING. Instead of deciding in a vacuum that another person’s viewpoint makes no sense to you, be respectful of their ideas, which may be widely different than yours. Flexibility is a sign of strength, not weakness. So be curious about differences instead of closed-minded.
Stop pretending you’re Big Foot
Just leaving footprints is sketchy. Really BE PRESENT. Spending time in the “man cave” is okay, even necessary, but emerge and be with your lover a good percent of the time.
Let a genie have your back
FEEL PEACEFUL. Hey, you’ve got this. Set aside past disappointments. Act like you have a genie in your back pocket to take care of future dreams. When you are stressed, you scatter it around like ice melt after a storm and then track it around the house.
Be out of your mind
Don’t go crazy — just lose the negative thoughts and worries. PAY ATTENTION. When you’re preoccupied you aren’t really around. Hey, come back!
Dump judgment and blame at the door with your shoes
POSITIVE ENERGY is the secret ingredient to life and can turn around even a huge disaster. Negativity and finding others lacking is never helpful. Like a burnt tomato, judgment and blame spoil the tasty stew of life.
Act like one planet in a solar system
BE A TEAM PLAYER. Lose the self-focus and see others as people with wants and needs. Connect emotionally by looking into others’ eyes and listening to what they have to say. It might sound radical, but put the relationship first when possible. Compromise isn’t deadly, though looking out for you alone can be.
Listen to your heart over your noggin
USE INTUITION. Ask questions if you’re not clear about a sensitive situation. Blundering in when you are unaware of what’s happening comes across as hardheaded and stubborn. If guys get a bad rap – this is often why.
Create your own stand-up comedy act
USE HUMOR – it is a rarely used, though powerful tool. Often life is taken too seriously. Laughing is a secret ingredient that was lost through the ages. You can use it as a magic wand in many situations to disperse frustration, worry, anger and sadness. Presto chango!
Go ahead and give a damn
SHOW YOU CARE about what’s happening. Throw aside that façade of strength and independence. Exposing your warm side can undo neglect and misunderstanding. If you are tempted to problem solve, remember others just want to be heard and feel supported. Suggesting solutions can come later – I know, it is way too tempting to want to fix problems.
Spit it out
BE HONEST about how you’re feeling. Talk about what’s on your mind. No point kicking something under the rug, or you’ll just trip over it later. Honesty is easier and less messy than cleaning up an old, worn carpet.
Shoot from the hip
BE STRAIGHTFORWARD. Playing games with people’s heads is a waste of time and energy. While it may feel like sport, it is unkind, and will undermine any relationship. Games aren’t fun, at least for the target, and they aren’t worthy of you.
Act like Santa
BE GENEROUS. Giving to others and paying it forward is a great way to feel gratitude for your own circumstances. Hey Santa, if you’re not able to be generous, you probably haven’t taken on one of the above changes, so check this list twice!
Photo: Flickr/Pedro Ribeiro Simões