We go to school to learn how to succeed in our careers. We take music lessons to learn how to play an instrument. You may even take continuing education classes to learn a new skill or develop an interest.
How do people learn about relationships skills? Most people become acquainted with relationships skills from their family of origin, their friends and those people who are in their world. You may read a magazine article or two (or even a hundred!) Or even read a book on relationships. However, that is it.
When my first marriage failed, I was on a mission to learn what I can about relationship skills. I attended seminars, read books and even worked with a coach. I had a lot to learn. I admit I had made most every mistake in the book!
There are specific skills and knowledge that help in every aspect of your life- not just with your romantic partner. Once you understand the communication traps most of us fall into, then you can be more aware so you can choose to act in a more constructive way.
One of the most important relationships skills is to ask for what you want- to make requests. I can’t tell you how many people are afraid to- for fear of rocking the boat. My advice for dating is if you don’t go on a limb to see if your partner is capable of considering your request and trying to accommodate you, then your needs will always be suppressed and you don’t give your partner the chance to step up to the plate. People just don’t know- sometimes they really need you to ask them – always in the nicest, undemanding way.
One of my clients was dating a guy who only called when he wanted to set up a date. He never called just to see how she was doing or to check in with her day. She felt that they were missing this connection. My advice for dating was that she request that of him, to call her just to say hi. He may just be unaware of my client’s needs or this may not be a part of his nature just to call without a purpose. Unfortunately, my client said, “If he doesn’t know, I’m not going to tell him!” That was her choice. I feel that it’s too bad, since she never got to see if he was capable of honoring her request.
Do you know the “must have” relationship skills that you will need to keep your relationship afloat? And how do you plan to find out and learn about them?