I’ve long believed that it’s best to maintain long-term relationships, genuinely knowing the other party.
After all, if your partner or friend isn’t emotionally healthy and (for the most part) stable, they’ll be bringing all their drama into your relationship, too.
I’ve discovered ways to evaluate the people that I’m in relationships with, based upon their behavior in common situations.
These quick appraisals have served me well. I’d like to share them with you.
- In sickness or in health: It doesn’t just apply to marriage. Whether it’s a common cold or a serious illness stop and ask yourself:
- How does your friend, or loved one, treat you when you aren’t feeling your best? Are they patient and attentive to your needs? Do they offer help; bringing you food, taking in your paper, walking the dog? Are they there for you when you need them? Or are you left to fend for yourself?
- How do they treat you, when they are under the weather? Are they appreciative of your help and support? Are they patient with you, especially if you can’t immediately tend to their needs? Are they snippy and snarky, expecting ‘a pass’ for their boorish behavior because they’re not feeling well? Take note if they are.
- How may I help you? I’ve spent many years providing customer service. How others treat service providers gives you powerful insight into who they authentically are. Ask yourself:
- How does your companion treat service industry workers; store clerks, wait staff, hotel staff, etc? Do they feel entitled to disrespect them, because, as someone who used to be in my life told me repeatedly, ‘They have to take it; that’s what they’re getting paid for.’ Do they treat those providing assistance in a demeaning manner, or are they kind and appreciative of the service they’re providing?
- When a service or product doesn’t meet expectations, is your mate reasonable regarding the settlement or adjustment offered? Things happen, not everything performs, or goes, as expected. Does your compadre hold the clerk personally responsible for the error or misstep? Are they reasonable and rational in their expectations for compensation or adjustments?
- Planes, trains and automobiles: Travel plans can be stressful, especially these days. Look at your relationship and ask:
- Does your partner or friend take it out on you, when travel plans go awry or fall through? It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about a cancelled flight or a day, pool-side, being ruined by poor weather. Are you on the receiving end of their blow-up, or do they ‘roll with it’ when plans change, unexpectedly?
- Does your travel buddy make sure your trip (or day) is ruined, if they aren’t having a good time? Remember, you are only responsible for you. They are responsible for themselves. It’s not your job to entertain them, cajole them into a better mood, or cater to their every want or perceived need, in life. Take care of yourself. You’ve earned your vacation. Savor your time away and don’t let them rain on your parade. After all, they’ve got the same pants to be glad, in, don’t they?
- The elderly, children and animals: This gives you the ability to examine feedback from two perspectives, so pay close attention.
- How do the seniors, children or pets in your life, react to your partner or friend? My experience is that the elderly, kids and animals are usually very good judges of someone’s overall character. They just have ‘a feeling’, which is information they are gleaning from an innate, gut level. You should be open to trusting their judgment and valuing their opinions. Listen to their feedback and input, with an open mind.
- How does your friend or partner feel about the elderly, the children, or the animals, in your life? Listen to how your companion speaks about those you give care to or are responsible for. Do they act as if they are a burden, or do they speak of them in a loving and caring manner? Remember, actions speak louder than words. Are they patient, attentive and kind, while providing assistance or do they complain, and treat them rudely or harshly?
- Accidents will happen. Whether it’s a spilled drink, a broken home accent or a car accident, everyone runs into a mishap from time to time.
- Do they lose perspective? Does your mate or friend overreact to the situation? Are they overly dramatic or angry? Do they place greater value on things more than the people in their lives?
- Is someone else going to pay, no matter what caused the circumstances? Again, is your mate reasonable regarding the settlement or adjustment offered? Do they place blame inappropriately? Sometimes, accidents are just that; accidents. If not, they would be called, ‘on purposes’, right?
- Do they value you? Years ago, I was friends with a woman, Pam. She was married, had a child and worked outside the home. Every time we scheduled an outing, she stressed that it had to be a free activity. Pam also suggested extremely early times, for us to meet.
Because I valued our decade-long friendship, I made these accommodations. I certainly didn’t want to place a financial burden on a friend and I made sure my schedule matched her availability, no matter how it may have inconvenienced me.
While going for a walk together, at 5 AM on a Saturday morning, she regaled me with stories of her recent outings with her other confidants.
She attended various hit Broadway plays along with dinners out at all the big, expensive, hot spots. I was dumbstruck.
She couldn’t afford to meet me for a bagel, nor was she willing to meet at a reasonable hour. It was clear I valued our relationship more deeply than Pam.
Our relationship had clearly taken a back seat to the other friendships in her life. To everything there is a season. It was time for me to move on.
I was proud that I loved and respected myself enough to release my friendship with Pam, even though it took me months to mourn the passing of our long-term relationship.
Your wellness and well-being is directly tied to the health, comfort and security of your interactions with others. That’s an undisputed fact.
I hope these questions will help you evaluate the relationships in your life.
What about you? How do you examine and assess the health and fitness of your relationships? Do you have any tried and true methods? If so, I’d love for you to share them.
Please share your suggestions and comments, using the form, below.