Monthly Archives: July 2016

Ways to Avoid Falling Into the Dreaded Friend Zone

It most often happens with men, but even women are not immune to the risks of being in a “friend zone”. Popularized by a highly popular US television sitcom Friends, a friend zone implies a virtual zone in a platonic relationship where a person is strictly within the confines of a friendship with no possibility of romance. In fact, a person in the friend zone is, oftentimes, a romantic counselor and finds access to every place in the other individual’s life except between the sheets.

For someone who was hoping to start with a friendship with the sole intention of gaining trust and then taking the relationship to the next level, being trapped in a friend zone can be an extremely frustrating prospect. Adding salt to the wounds is having to watch your dearly beloved winking at you while swaying in the arms of another lover. If you’re the “best friend”, then you’ll need superhuman self-control while having to hear all the steamy details after his/her romantic outing. Ouch! But there are ways out of this conundrum that effectively threatens your friendship and wanes the remotest chance of developing romantic feelings.

Steering Clear of the Friend Zone
If you’ve had past experiences of being stuck in a friend zone and wish to start anew with your latest love interest, here are some strategic tactics that may help you avoid being seen as “just a friend”.

Tips for Guys to Avoid the Friend Zone

Turn On Your Flirt Quotient

This comes easily to most guys but the key is to time your actions perfectly and keep it brief. A friend will hold or hug much longer (and perhaps more sincerely) than a flirt! Remember that your intention is not to be insensitive but bring in that “distance” or “line of control”, so that she gets the hint that you’re not comfortable with all the touchy-feely unless you’re in a relationship that warrants that!
Take advantage of lonely times with her and drop the subtle clues without getting too physical. Try to work up just enough chemistry to leave her thinking about what just happened.

Ensure you Have a Chance
If the woman is already attracted to another guy and heading towards a serious relationship with him, don’t slide yourself in between them. If eventually they’re not meant for each other and you’re willing to wait, you may be blowing your own chances by being a jerk.

Don’t be a Doormat

This is true for any relationship, but more relevant if you’re looking for a romantic future with a person. Don’t be too available for running errands, helping out or as a shoulder to cry on. Use your discretion because this is different for every relationship. You don’t want to come across as a callous dork but you also have “other engagements” that you cannot just drop and rush to be with her at all times. Be there for her at times and at other times, not so much.

Don’t be an Agony Aunt
Is she sharing her every emotional struggle with you, especially concerning guys? Don’t counsel her to the point that she sees you as her father figure to turn to in case of failed love affairs or guys being mean to her. Be supportive and protective, but don’t offer too much advice, and state your views in a matter-of-fact manner. You may use this opportunity to convey subtly that you’re not all that comfortable discussing her other love liaisons.

Man Up a Bit
Don’t switch off your chivalrous instincts, instead grow one if you don’t already have it. Even in this day and age of active feminism and gender equality, women are invariably turned on by reasonable acts of chivalry that are not over the top.

So don’t give a lot of thought and be self-judgmental about say, giving her a ride to the airport or being present in a time of severe personal loss. However, be careful not to become her regular “on-call” chauffeur or a regular babysitter to her sister’s kids. Quit walking her dog every evening.

Date Other Women

Unless you’re almost sure she’s attracted to you and you’re close to making her your girlfriend soon, be normal around other women. Look around, date other women like you would do normally. Not to sound like scorning your lady love, but you can watch her reactions and look for that streak of jealousy just to reassure yourself that she is at least a slight bit interested. Everything is fair in love including using her jealousy to your advantage.
Again, don’t overdo this or you’ll scare her away for good.

Pop the Question
The above techniques are for consciously avoiding the friend zone. But sooner or later you have to quit trying and face up to the results of your strategic tactics. Yes, find the right moment and let her know your true feelings. Do this as soon as you know she also may have the same feelings. If you’re not sure after all that while, well, there’s only one way to find out. You may be potentially throwing away a friendship, but then that’s not what you were looking for anyway, right?

Tips for Girls to Avoid the Friend Zone
Well, most of the above tips with the exception of being chivalrous and manning up would work for girls as well. In addition, here are some more tips for the women who want to avoid the friend zone.

Dress Up

If you’re hanging around the guy (with secret desires in your heart) in your gym clothes or night clothes just because you think it’s alright, think again. Not to undermine your need to feel comfortable, but if you want him to take notice of your feminine charm, dress up like a girl at least around him, at least most of the time! If he has never thought of you “in that way”, surprise him and make him aware of the very desirable woman standing before him that he already knows.

Stop Whining
If you don’t want to be stuck in the friend zone, keep your sob stories for your girlfriends, unless you can really pull off a damsel-in-distress episode without making a fool out of yourself.

Acknowledge His Presence

If you want him to be more than just your friend, indicate your intention in a subtle fashion. While
dating other men and showing outwardly that he is just another guy is alright for starters, once you have his attention, let him know that you are aware of his presence, make an impression, flirt your way to physical intimacy, work your body language and there, you have him and not as a friend!
Women have a way of overdoing sentiments, emotions and indulging in dramatic histrionics. Exercise some restraint or you will find him gone as soon as he arrives!
There are several instances where people graduate from pure platonic friendship to lifelong marital relationships. There’s no rule that you can’t be romantically involved with your best friend. But if you find yourself in relationships where you’re constantly being sidelined to witness intimate relationships between your love interest and other people, then you have to tweak your attitude just a bit and follow the recommendations given in this article.

Ways to Set Healthy Boundaries in Relationships

The dictionary meaning of the term ‘boundary’ is something that indicates bounds or limits. In other words, boundary is a territory or a line that should not be crossed. Therefore, it is very important to know your personal boundaries in any given relationship to make sure that you are treated with respect and your identity is safeguarded. First, determine your territory, secure your space and then be willing to take the risk. Apparently, some may not like it and they may even leave you, but you should be confident and believe in yourself. If the person in front understands, he/she will start treating you with more care and respect.

Knowing What You Want

It is necessary that you learn to treat yourself decently first, be confident, understand your true worth or else you will end up attracting narcissists who will misuse you, ill-treat you or trick you. Creating boundaries in relationships means being very clear about your likes and dislikes. You have to make others aware that you are an independent person and would not tolerate any excessive interference in your life. If you do not set proper limits, the other person might feel that you don’t have any opinion of your own and can be ‘easily handled’.

Nobody wishes to be treated abusively, be misled or deceived. We all want to be handled with care, respect and love. Therefore, it is fundamental to interact, communicate and share your thoughts with the other person. These boundaries will indirectly tell others who you are and what you need. It’s your right and obligation to be accountable for how you let others treat you. Establishing boundaries will not only ensure we learn about self-control and respect, but also help us produce mature relationships on the basis of trust with our family, friends and neighbors.

Be Reflective

Always remember that a relationship can work only if both parties respect the boundaries set by them. Domestic abuse – whether physical or mental – is a result of the lack of boundaries not being set in a relationship. The oppressor takes it for granted that his/her partner should follow the instructions and stop his/her individual thinking process. The mistake that the victim commits here is ‘staying quiet’ and letting the oppressor cross the line. Most of the time, the victim keeps quiet because of the intense fear and worries of what would happen if they react. How can you build a healthy relationship if you keep mum? Victims who do not talk or express their feelings always end up ruining their relationship. What they should do is learn to say ‘NO’ when their partner’s actions are irrelevant.

Setting Healthy Boundaries

While establishing boundaries, one ought to communicate with their partner in a very straightforward way. Lay down a pact, be firm when placing your demands, give reasons and justify how you feel before you set a boundary. Do not go ahead with the relationship until you get an affirmative answer from your partner. Make sure that this person will honor and consider the agreed-upon boundaries.

The main goal in any relationship is for both parties to feel calm, loved, cared, appreciated, respected, centered and focused. To balance and survive, we set healthy boundaries for us to feel comfortable and safe in each other’s company. In any case, these boundaries are applicable for both you and your partner and so you should also patiently listen to what your partner wants from you. See whether you agree to the terms put forth by them and then take a decision.

What You Should Abide By

Do you sometimes add unrealistic boundaries and end up putting too much pressure on the other party? Do you have trouble setting a boundary? Never start too fast or too slow for that matter; there’s a time to confront and act.
Boundaries should be set in such a manner that they enrich your lives and not take away your life. A one-sided relationship never works, where one partner is the rescuer and the other is a victim. Relations that start with a clear, stable boundary are always the most successful ones. Below is a checklist to consider in a relationship.

☑ Always communicate and express your feelings. There are plenty of people out there who love to take advantage of you, if you are unable to express what you want.
☑ Guard yourself while rescuing people. Don’t go overboard trying to help someone, you will end up making them feel needy and helpless all the time. This is actually depriving someone or crippling someone from living an independent, healthy and mature life.
☑ Let’s suppose you are at a stage of life where you are mature enough and are really enjoying yourself, then be cautious not to let anyone enter your life and steal the happiness from you; for love is not letting people use you and take away your life or happiness from you.
☑ Similarly, you need to be careful of whom you let inside your life. You should be clear about this person’s motive, is he/she coming in to add value to your life or to increase trouble in your life.
☑ You can choose to build a healthy and realistic boundary that leads to abundant life or prefer to be silent and be victimized by others. The choice is yours and you are responsible for your life.

Setting these boundaries is necessary in many cases due to the dominating and aggressive behavior of the partner. Sometimes, one partner starts calling all the shots in a relationship and leaves the other as a mere spectator. He or she starts taking all the decisions without considering the opinion of the other. This can be very frustrating as one loses personal freedom and the right to voice their opinion. If you do not want to hurt your self-respect, you would have naturally set a boundary and taught others how you prefer to be treated.

What You Should Not Accept
Given below are some of the practical or sensible boundaries to set in a relationship.
☒ You will not bear physical or emotional abuse under any circumstances.
☒ You will not tolerate deceiving or infidelity in the relationship.

☒ You should be given equal importance in financial matters.
☒ You should not be forced to do the things which you do not like to do.

☒ You should have full freedom to meet people whom you like.

☒ You should be given full freedom to take all your career decisions on your own.
☒ It is Not Okay to hit you or call you names.
☒ It is not tolerable to cheat on you.

When you are open-minded and confront these things, you end up setting an expectation that improves your relationship and you start becoming more confident about yourself.

Mosaic Law

Do you recollect the cardinal rule that God set through, “The Ten Commandments”? They were nothing but boundaries that God set for us to follow. It includes the laws that God gave to the Israelites through Prophet Moses. In the same way, we must also establish boundaries in our intimate relationships. In particular, let’s go through the 6th-10th Commandments. It teaches us or disciplines us as to, how we should set a relationship base or foundation with trust and loyalty. The scripture says:

»The 6th Commandment: “You shall not commit adultery.”

»The 7th Commandment: “You shall not steal.”

»The 8th Commandment: “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”

»The 9th Commandment: “You shall not covet (crave for) your neighbor’s wife/husband.”

»The 10th Commandment: “You shall not covet (crave for) your neighbor’s goods.”

These are some of the boundaries set by God for us to live an abundant and fruitful life.

Love, freedom, friendship, responsibility, respect, trust, faith and protection are all the key elements required for a steady and balanced relationship between a man and a woman. It’s high time you took ownership of your own life first, before you start taking responsibilities of others’ lives. So don’t be shy, ashamed or threatened to voice your opinion; feel free to set a boundary and stick to it!

Ways to Improve Your Relationship Management Skills

Relationship management becomes more important as you assume more professional responsibility. You need skills to build bonds, inspire, influence and develop others. All the while you need to be open to change, manage conflict and establish teamwork.

Emotional Intelligence author Daniel Goleman believes it is possible to build better relationships one step at a time. This is accomplished by focusing on six competencies in the Relationship Management domain of Emotional Intelligence:

1. Inspire

2. Influence

3. Develop

4. Initiate change

5. Manage conflict

6. Establish teams and collaboration

Let’s look for some ideas about how to be successful in each of these domains.

1. Inspiration often begins with a time of quiet reflection about nagging questions. In the process of examining feelings which include anxiety, confusion and passion, often a vision becomes clear which helps to understand the larger purpose or mission. For inspiration to truly happen, the vision has to be spelled out to others in a compelling style. In this way, others hopefully will “buy into” the ideas and plan. Individuals who inspire others:

– Draw on the collective wisdom of others

– Involve others to look at the reality and the ideal vision

– Are able to connect with people’s emotional centers as well as intellectually.

2. Influence is one of the three ingredients of a democratic leader. Teamwork and conflict management are the other two ingredients and will be discussed later. Influence also requires effectively handling others’ emotions. You may have been in situations where you influenced someone’s mood, or he/she influenced your mood. Individuals with a high level of influence:

– Skillfully win people over by listening, networking wit them, etc.

– Fine-tune what they are going to say to appeal to the listener

– Willingly use a variety of strategies to build consensus and support.

3. Developing others is a skill needed by managers who supervise others and are responsible for the growth of employees in their department or division. Individuals with a high level in developing others:

– Acknowledge and reward people’s strengths and accomplishments

– Offer helpful feedback and accurately target needs for further growth

– Mentor, coach, and offer tasks that challenge and foster a person’s skills.

4. Initiating change or being a change catalyst consistently models the behaviors you want to see in others. You begin by questioning the emotional reality and cultural norms underlying daily activities and behaviors. How others feel about the change process needs to be considered. Individuals who are easily able to initiate change:

– Recognize the need for change

– Challenge the status quo

– Make compelling arguments for change

– Find practical ways to overcome barriers to change.

5. Managing conflict requires being able to understand different perspectives and finding a common solution that everyone can endorse. It requires good listening skills and self-control. Individuals how have good conflict management skills:

– Handle difficult people and tense situations tactfully

– Spot potential conflict and help de-escalate the situation

– Encourage open discussion

– Work for win-win solutions.

6. Teamwork and collaboration model respect, helpfulness and cooperation. Both work and home are happier when these conditions are met. When teams work well, turnover and absenteeism decline and productivity increases. Individuals who have strong teamwork and collaboration skills:

– Draw all members into active participation

– Build a team identity and commitment

– Protect the group and share credit.

It is now known that emotions are contagious. In addition, every encounter with another person can be anywhere on a continuum from emotionally toxic to nourishing.

In summary, to improve your relationship management skills, you want people to be able to turn towards you rather than away or against you. To have good relationship management skills you need to use the following 5 tips:

1. Develop open, honest, trusting relationships.

2. Have self-respect and show respect to others, especially if you are responsible for their development.

3. Have good communication skills including listening, assertiveness and conflict management

4. Understand what a change process entails, and be willing to lead people through it.

5. Be a good team member and encourage collaboration.

Being an effective manager not only makes you look good, it improves the skills of those you supervise and makes them look good. That is a “win-win” for everybody.