Relationship Advice – Define meetable requirements to allow your relationships to succeed
What requirements do you have for yourself? What requirements do others have for you?
Your first relationship is with yourself. You have requirements for you about the kind of person you want to be, how you believe you should interact with other people, and your contributions and roles in your various tribes.
In your interactions with other people you have roles and relationships. You will have requirements of yourself in your various roles and relationships, whether or not you’ve consciously acknowledged them. Others will have requirements of you, both spoken and implied.
That’s a lot of requirements! No wonder it’s so easy to be triggered into a rebel reaction. With all these requirements in your life, what are the chances you can meet all the requirements? Not much!
In addition to having all those requirements, there’s the fact that some requirements simply can’t be met, like trying to keep people happy. Women are particularly guilty of specifying requirements that are based on emotions, which are completely unmeetable. Often men are withdrawing into their cave because of requirements they can’t meet. Often women lose interest in intimacy because of requirements they can’t meet.
To allow any relationship to succeed it is necessary to have requirements that are meetable. If a person in a relationship cannot meet the requirements, they cannot succeed. Why would anyone want to stay in a relationship that does not allow success? The result would be always feeling not good enough!
What is a meetable requirement?
‘Clean up your room’ is an unmeetable requirement.
Who defines what clean means? You can guarantee a rebel reaction by asking for something that meets your undefined standards, and ‘they should know’ is not a clearly defined standard. Your best guarantee of rebel reactions is to require a task, then find fault with its completion. ‘You picked up your laundry but you forgot to empty the garbage.’
Sure, it takes more effort to make a list specifying the exact tasks and what ‘done’ means. Is your relationship worth that effort, or do you prefer a cycle of resentment? (If you resent that statement, you have succeeded in identifying a rebel reaction!)
‘We don’t’ spend enough time together’ is an unmeetable requirement.
What is enough? This one is especially tricky because there is a reason you’re not spending enough time together, and this requirement ignores that reason. You can convert this one to a meetable requirement by specifying details and success: ‘Let’s go on a date, probably to a movie, at least once a month. Let’s try to do it early in the month in case we get busy.’
The more concrete, measurable details you add, the more chance of success, the less chance of a sabotaging rebel reaction.
‘You never talk to me’ or ‘you don’t give me the information I need’ are unmeetable requirements for an employee, partner, parent or offspring.
When you’re rephrasing a requirement to allow your relationship to succeed, you’re avoiding sabotaging your own relationship. If you’re interested in a good relationship, it’s not just worth the effort – it’s essential.
Some people love a face to face discussion. Other people need an activity, and side by side interaction. Go for a walk instead of sitting in a meeting room, do a task which the other person feels competent doing together, go for a drive – all of these create an atmosphere that encourages comfortable conversation. Start a conversation with a topic that is comfortable for the other person to allow the flow to begin. Learn to come at topics sideways to avoid provoking threat reactions.
Often the biggest problem is that you have made assumptions that the information you want is obvious – it isn’t. Even in a workplace, a person can have different interests and priorities than you do. You may consider the schedule the top priority, and they may consider the quality of the result the top priority. Learning to motivate someone who has different priorities than you do is a valuable skill.
All the blog posts from the Rebel Quell One Day Intensive Workshop Report: