It feels so good to finally find someone who ‘gets you’ and wants to be in a relationship with you – regardless whether the relationship is personal or professional. In the beginning, everything is great: there is an abundance of amicability, you both feel like you are on top of the world but this doesn’t last forever. Eventually, after the initial honeymoon phase ends and you begin seeing each other as you are instead of through rose-colored glasses, you both begin settling into your old, natural ways of being – and during this time, arguments can erupt.
Arguments are not bad at all. To the contrary, they help us understand each other better and teach us how to be together. But when tensions are high and the partner you once adored becomes your least favorite person, it might be time to learn how to work together in the midst of an argument and to learn how to prevent an argument from unfolding.
Usually before an upset occurs, the parties involved might notice tensions rising a little bit. Maybe one becomes more defensive, or the other begins slightly raising their voice. Regardless of who started what or how the other made you feel, it is you (that’s right YOU) who has the choice to bring the pressure down a notch or two.
What Gives? Why Do Relationships Go From Good to Bad?
I have a mentor in Malaysia who, when prompted on why some relationships don’t last, said in a half-joking manner, “Because the people involved believed each other’s bulls**t.” He wasn’t known for being tactful when answering questions – nonetheless, he had a point.
If you think about it, when you are entering a professional relationship or an intimate one, we always want to put forth our best in order to prove something – we want to prove we are good lovers, we are competent, we are supportive, we are good business partners, we are knowledgeable in our fields, etc. But this can actually create strife in the long run – if you have ever heard someone say to you, “You’ve changed,” you probably know the feeling. Perhaps you did change from putting on your best to falling back into how you actually are.
Imagine you meet this wonderful person: they are active, engaged and committed, or at least this is what you thought. As time goes by they become lazy, withdrawn or perhaps they are married to their work. Naturally, you get a little peeved – who is this person before me??
The thing is the majority of us do this – we love putting our best forward to impress others. It is a lie, but so many of us have been taught to do this since childhood we don’t realize we do it! Forgive me, but if you say you don’t, or that you aren’t fake, I honestly don’t believe you, especially if you are born in our culture. Since young we are told to sit up straight, smile, answer politely, say please and thank you, give your aunties and uncles hug (even though you don’t want to). As such we are taught to put on our best in front of others. It’s no wonder so many people would rather be introverted – at least they can be themselves when they are not around other people.
Getting Past the BS in Relationships
When people get into a business or personal relationship, they often fall in love with the “idea” of the other person instead of the actual person…the problem is we don’t actually meet the other person until they’ve dropped the act.
So how do you get past the BS in relationships?
1) Just be you.
It sounds easy, but it is incredibly difficult, especially for those who have been taught since young to be someone different.
I remember being in a grocery store with my daughter when she was two, and she had decided she wanted to play hide-and-seek in the store. As she rounded the corner to go into the next aisle I followed a few feet behind her. I made the turn and bumped into this man who decided to give me some unsolicited parenting advice, “Your daughter is running around carelessly, you should keep a better eye on her,” he said annoyed. I couldn’t be bothered with his behavior, so I turned to my toddler and told her sarcastically, “Do you hear that Mia? Stop being a two-year-old! It’s time for you to grow up.” Of course, she didn’t understand, and we went off together never seeing the man again. I wasn’t about to punish my child for being what she is – a child.
All things considered, I do my best not to bring her into environments where she isn’t allowed to act her age. It isn’t fair to her and it isn’t fair to me.
2) The other person will eventually become themselves again.
Understand there will come a time where you see the other person for how they are: it is up to you to accept them unconditionally for their quarks and mannerisms, and to learn HOW to be with them.
My mentor in Malaysia, not having the ability to be considerate, said, “Even Brad Pitt s****.” He then gave a lecture on how we idolize people, and we hurt ourselves when we do this. Mainly because they fall hard off the pedestal when we realize they are human and not this wonderful other-worldly person who makes the sun rise and set. In short, everyone s****.
3) Make your expectations and intentions known beforehand so everyone is on the same page.
When I first moved back, there was a gentleman who shall not be named, but who was very authentic and true with his intentions. He pretty much said he found me attractive and wanted to get frisky regularly without getting into a relationship. Flattered and realizing we had very different intentions, I turned his offer down, but we have remained friends ever since.
4) Don’t punish honesty.
If someone is being honest from the start, don’t punish them for it. Just like the gentleman who wanted to “get busy” with no strings attached, I wasn’t upset at him for being honest. I would much rather someone tell me up front what they can or can’t do in terms of business rather than dance around and have a bunch of time wasted only to realize a partnership isn’t going to work. I can respect others, their views and their needs and wishes.
In the end, getting rid of the BS in relationships takes a lot of authenticity and honesty with yourself and others. In the end, it can save you a lot of unnecessary drama and headache!
Wishing you BS-less relationships!