5 Rules for Relationships

I know about love just as much as the next person. In fact, I probably know even less. However, seeing as it is Valentine’s Day and I am in the business of giving advice I thought I would share five rules for relationships that I have developed from what little I’ve learned over the years.

  1. Never stop showing kindness. It’s a way of giving your partner affection and showing that you appreciate them. Even though your feelings may be obvious, it’s still important to remind your partner that those feelings haven’t changed.
  2. Understand that people communicate in different ways. Our style of communication isn’t only about our word choice or turn of phrase. Our body language and our actions also demonstrate how we feel. We need a combination of these techniques to communicate what we’re really thinking and the methods we use influence how we interpret the way other people communicate, which can lead to misunderstandings. It’s important to acknowledge what’s really being said instead of focusing on how your partner is saying it.
  3. Separate the conflict from the relationship. We avoid conflict because we fear it will result in ultimatums: the relationship is over, I’ll never see him again, etc. In fact, being in disagreement with your partner is a sign that you are two separate people, not a sign that your relationship is about to dissolve. Conflict is natural, healthy, and (unfortunately) unavoidable. Arguing with your partner may be uncomfortable, but it’s evidence that you care enough about each other to want to work things out.
  4. But if you do have to fight, fight fair. No name calling. Leave the past in the past. Emotional triggers? Out-of-bounds. Similarly out-of-bounds: your partner’s family, their views on politics, religion, or past relationships. Pay attention to your emotions and focus on exactly what it is you’re fighting about. And there’s no making accusations without having evidence to back them up.
  5. It has to be about you, sometimes. Too often I have seen people lose themselves in a relationship, constantly giving and giving and never receiving in return. Real love is about wanting what’s best for your partner, so your partner needs to understand and respect the decisions you make in order to be your best self. If you practice self-care and cultivate your own independent relationships and interests, you pave the way for a relationship that’s more varied, exciting and healthier for the both of you. Someone who doesn’t want you to do your own thing simply isn’t worthy of you.

In this day and age we place so many demands ourselves that sometimes even going about our day-to-day lives is exhausting. As a person who likes to keep busy, I find myself struggling to stay balanced. You can follow my journey here, or click here or here to find more ways to streamline your life to keep it simple.

What are some of the ways that you stay balanced? Give us your advice below, or email your strategies to keepingbusywithb@gmail.com.

The Friendship Connection

I can’t start a post about friendship without first acknowledging some of the wonderful friends who have made a difference in my life. They have fed me emotionally, spiritually, and yes, even physically. In some ways they take better care of me then I take care of myself and if you are ever in the position to have friends who are like mine then I hope you consider yourself very lucky, because I know that I am. I’m not going to lie, however, because it took me a long time to find my tribe. Once I did, it took me even longer to realize that friendship is something that you work at- it is an ever-evolving, changing thing.

I used to think that I could be an island and that I never needed anything or any help from anyone. That attitude earned me a lot of really great acquaintances but not many close friends. I guess I was just so worried about feeling vulnerable and insecure I could never really open myself up to anyone. It wasn’t until later on in my life that I realized that true, meaningful connections take work. They require you to not only open yourself up emotionally, but you have to be willing to put in the physical amount of time and effort.

In this day and age, making time for others is not easy! (It’s a struggle even to find time for ourselves.) Consider this, though: study results published in the Scientific American found that having friends can increase our survival rate by up to 50%. This study found that friendships can actually strengthen marriages and this article suggests that friendships can improve our health, lessening the risk of chronic disease and depression (especially among the elderly).

Not that you really need convincing, of course- we all to spend more time with our friends. Especially as social media continues to replace real-life interactions, it’s important to make the effort to get that (real) face time in so that we avoid becoming even more socially isolated. You know what that means- everybody put down your phones, or at the very least, try and make your online interactions meaningful. For example, instead of just liking a post, comment by sharing a memory, answering a question, or starting a conversation. And if you are brave enough to put away your phone, why not do something during and leave it in your purse the next time you grab coffee with a friend so you can actually look at each other.

If we try to build these small connections into our everyday lives, every day we’re making bigger strides to maintain the friendships we’ve worked so hard to build and keep. Even something as small as an out-of-the-blue message can mean a lot. So go ahead- brighten someone’s day today! I dare you to!

In this day and age we place so many demands ourselves that sometimes even going about our day-to-day lives is exhausting. As a person who likes to keep busy, I find myself struggling to stay balanced. You can follow my journey here, or click here or here to find more ways to streamline your life to keep it simple.

What are some of the ways that you stay balanced? Give us your advice below, or email your strategies to keepingbusyb@gmail.com.

It’s About Who You Like, Not Who Likes You

Are you a people-pleaser? Are you always the first to volunteer for something? Do you experience a certain sense of satisfaction when you do something for someone else?

Yeah, that’s me to a T.

I think we all want to be liked (myself included) and one of the easiest ways to endear yourself to people is generosity, whether it be financial, emotional or physical. We think that people will see our kindness and that it will make them like us more. Unfortunately, that is not the truth. People will like you because of the things you do for them, not because of who you are. Worst of all, some of these people will take advantage of your kind nature and you will be so busy trying to please them that you won’t even realize it’s happening.

The other day, a friend flipped the whole thing around for me. “Why do you even want these people to like you?” she asked. “Do you even like them?”

Wait. So I was trying to get people to like me even though I might not necessarily like them? Where was the logic in that? Where was the rule stating that everyone had to like me no matter what?

Do I want to be friends with a bully? Do I want to be friends with someone I think is mean? Rude? Toxic? Fake? Selfish? Ignorant? The answer to all the above is no.

So if I don’t want to be friends with them, why would I even want them to like me? What does it say about my character if they do?

So from now on I’m following my friend’s advice. “Think about the people that you like,” she said. “The people you actually admire, who share your values, who you appreciate as a person. Those are the people whose approval you seek. Those are the people that you target as your friends. If you give, they will give back and you’ll keep on giving to each other because that’s how we take care of each other. That’s how we take care of our friends. We choose the best people for us and we nurture them.

Easier said than done, especially as you grow older and the opportunities to cultivate our friendships grow fewer and farther between and meeting new people becomes more difficult.

I’m lucky to have been able to surround myself with some really strong, intelligent and talented men and women who are above all things kind, and whose generosity seems to know no limits. These are the the people I like, the people I want to be friends with and at the end of the day, I only care about whether they like me too. (Surprisingly enough, they say yes.)

In this day and age we place so many demands ourselves that sometimes even going about our day-to-day lives is exhausting. As a person who likes to keep busy, I find myself struggling to stay balanced. You can follow my journey here, or click here or here to find more ways to streamline your life to keep it simple.

What are some of the ways that you stay balanced? Give us your advice below, or email your strategies to keepingbusywithb@gmail.com.