A large part of a positive relationship with anyone is down to our interactions with them. Positive interactions in higher numbers equal longer, healthier and flourishing relationships. Our emotions and the way we interact are contagious as we have mentioned before in previous blogs. If I am rude to someone the chances are they will respond rudely back and vice versa.
If I am highly stressed and anxious and bring this home with me from school the chances are my household will be feeling the negative interactions for the evening.
Please note that a positive interaction doesn’t mean we try to make everything we come across sparkly and fluffy. Remember, positive psychology is not happy clappy silver lining stuff. We accept the bad days too.
If someone says ‘I feel so stressed today’ in their interaction with us they probably are not looking for you to say, ‘cheer up, there’s a rainbow out there.’
A positive interaction does not mean you only talk about positive things.
Believe it or not you can have a positive interaction while being in disagreement over who walks the dog or does the washing up. It is absolutely possible for an argument to end as a positive interaction if both sides feel heard and the problem is resolved.
Positive interactions can involve many things…
- Have you given your full attention? (Put down the mobile or anything else and look at the person speaking to you). This can work wonders and often helps people feel so much better as they have been fully listened to.
- Have you responded mindfully being respectful of their feelings.? ‘You sound really sad. Is there anything I can do to help?’ We can often try to jump in and fix situations straight away. (Parents are classic at this and it takes away control and choice from the young person you are trying to save. It takes away any autonomy they had in the situation. Parents, take a step back sometimes and talk through it without offering solution) When we just offer a listening ear and support (‘I really am not sure what I can do to help right now but if you need me to just listen I will’) we give our relationship a boost and make the person feel supported to make their own decisions giving them the controls.
- Have you offloaded your stress onto someone unsuspecting? There are people we can offload onto and there are people we can’t. If you are not able to positively interact at that moment be honest. ‘I am in a really bad mood right now and I can’t think straight. Can you give me some time and we will talk soon?’ Shouting at your Dad because he asks what you want for dinner is not the way to offload your stress from the day.
- Are you focusing on the positive things you get to do in your relationships or are you focusing on the ‘what if’s’ and ‘I wish we could’ or the negative? Things will go wrong. We are all human. Holding a grudge will not build a positive relationship and comparing your relationship to others will not help either. What do you do already that you enjoy? That brings a smile or a laugh?
Remember as always these things take time and practice. We are always changing and growing and our relationships need to change and grow too. Keep moving forward positively together ️