We are slowly emerging out of the shell that COVID-19 placed us in. It was, and still is a time filled with uncertainty and fear. One of the things that will continue to be tested are our relationship with ourselves, partners, families and friends. It is totally normal to experience unexplained moments of frustration that clouds your judgment and make everything seem hopeless. Some of us may even may find ourselves drifting away from activities and friendships that we use to cling too. The psychological effects of COVID-19 are not the same for everyone. You may react differently because of how you processed this trauma. Some of us may still prefer social distancing and quarantine and that’s ok. Here are 3 tips that I am finding useful in my relationships:
Tip 1: Communicate. Non-verbal communication is equally, if not more impactful than verbal communication. Be mindful of what you fail to say because these are the things that accumulate and lead to resentment. Try to remain connected. When you have a desire for space, explain clearly why you need space to eliminate misunderstandings. Too often we assume that the people in our lives should know and understand what we need. However, this assumption only leads to disappointment and the fault (although we hate to admit it) is ours for not communicating properly. Communication is a skill that one will always have to sharpen. Be mindful of tone and time when you choose to have a conversation because it matters in the long run. Refrain from using “you” statements such as “you did this…” or “you failed to do this…”. You statements forces the receiver to get defensive. Aim for “I” sentences such as “I feel like…” or “I think that…” because these convey exactly what you are thinking and feeling. I am a fan of the show “Insecure” and I’ve witnessed the breakdown of Molly’s and Issa relationship because of assumptions and entitlement. Nether part is addressing their issue until they’ve reached their boiling point. A heartfelt conversation where Molly and Issa set new boundaries for their friendship could solve their current beef.
Tip 2: Pick your battles wisely.I am advocate of communicating but too often I’ve failed to picked my battles wisely so while I had valid reason for my frustration, not everything has to be talked out immediately if ever. Pick the non-negotiables in your relationship. These are things or actions that you cannot live with for example raised voice etc and let everything go. There is no perfect person or relationship. That person(s) flaws are what made them unique and what you gravitated towards in the beginnings. Learn to appreciate those flaws and accept the things that you cannot change. This is not my endorsement to remain in any toxic relationships. It is simply my way of saying that before you start a conversation that could possibly end in a fight, to think about your end objective. What changed behavior do you want? Will this conversation achieve that or will it only make you feel better?
Tip 3: Learn your relationships love language.The five love languages are: words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time and physical touch. People want to be loved the way they want and not the way that you believe that they should be loved. I had to learn that we all express love and accept love differently. Knowing your sister, friend or boyfriend love language gives you chance to max out on their language so that they can feel appreciated. Love languages may change as we get older. Be mindful of this and notice when your loved one’s language changes. For couples, a daily hearty dose of your partner’s love language goes a long way. Also, when you are angry about something you may be tempted to withhold or reduce giving your partner what they need. Please don’t. This could be damaging post COVID-19 when everyone is seeking security and readjusting to being around crowds or even job hunting. When we re-up on love language it builds trust and confidence in our relationships. If you are unsure about your love language or others, feel free to take the quiz https://www.5lovelanguages.com
Remember to always lead with love. Infuse love in your speech, action and body language. Listen carefully, apologize and practice forgiveness. I would love to hear your thoughts and tips. Feel free to comment below: