Neglect This and Watch Your Friends Flee

In the recent couple of weeks, I’ve been reflecting on the relationships I have or have had in my life. More specifically, on what kind of relationships I have experienced and how deep have these relationships been. I have had a lot of friends (or at least I considered them as friends at the time), but I have never thought about how deep our relationships were and I have never tried to consciously impact these relationships. I have never tried to consciously deepen these relationships, which might be the reason why most of these relationships were not really strong. Now that I think of it, I got extremely lucky because I do have some that have lasted very long and that I would now consider quite deep and strong. Now that I have started talking about this with my mentors, I found that it is extremely important to consciously work on this area of life. What kind of relationships do you want to have? How can you develop them? How can you attract like-minded people into your life? Questions like these have been on my mind a lot before, but the question regarding making these relationships last has only come to my mind recently. As I have said, many of this is normally unconscious, but I think that things happen for a reason and understanding that reason can help us become better and better in these specific areas. In this article, I will share with you a huge tip on what not to do if you want your friends and loved ones to stick around for life.

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These tips come from a book called The Friendship Factor, written by Alan Goy Mcginnis. It is a very good read with lots of extremely useful insights into human relationships and their dynamics.

Do Not Try to Control Others

Have you ever had that friend who always wanted your attention and when you started hanging around others, that person got aggressive with you or your other friends? Or the friend, relative or mate that says: “I only do this for your own good,” but what he or she actually does is manipulation with the effect to suffocate? Look at your aborted relationships. Most of them are probably those who tried to advise you, dominate you, control you or judge you. I have done these mistakes in the past myself, so I can see myself on both sides of the river. According to Alan Goy Mcginnis, there is a simple secret  at the heart of love:

The lover lets the beloved be free.

What is the takeaway from this saying? We should try to create space in our relationships.

3 Classic Types of Manipulators

If you can see yourself in one or even more of these 3 types of people, you should reflect and start thinking about how that impacts your relationships. Because if you don’t, many of these relationships might be gone very fast.

a) The Take-Charge Manipulator

This kind of person must be smarter and stronger than you to be happy with you. Do you and your loved ones often end up going to the restaurant you want to go to? Do you enjoy correcting others in your conversations? Do you use humor to put your friends down? Do you have to know more about a topic to be comfortable discussing it? If you answer most of these questions in a positive manner, it might be that you are quite insecure. Relationships are about the balance between both parties. People should not be trying to get the upper hand to be one up every time. Remember that “no-one worth possessing can be quite possessed.”

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b) The Poor-Me Manipulator

This person, by contrast to the first type, tries to appear weak to gain people’s attention and control them through his or her show of weakness. Do you always talk about how much you are suffering in your life, how unfair it is and how hard it is for you? If you do so, people will try to avoid you like a plague. Nobody wants to listen to complaints all day. Nobody is saying that relationships are not about sharing and talking through one’s troubles, but too much is too much.

c) The Need-to-Be-Needed Manipulator

Do you encourage independence in your relationships or do you need your friends to need you? Are you happy when your friends make independent decisions, or do you want to be a part of that decision-making process? If you try to tie your friends down so that you can be a strong influence in their lives, you might have a problem.

3 Ways to Address These Issues

1) Be Cautious with Criticism

If it is hard for you to criticize your friends, you can go ahead and do it. If you find pleasure in criticism of your friends, you should keep your mouth shut.

2) Employ The Language of Acceptance

All you need to do is accept people with their strengths and their weaknesses. Don’t try to change people just because you feel like they should change. That doesn’t mean that you approve of everything in the other person, it means that you learn to respect their integrity.

3) Encourage Your Friends to Be Unique

Rather than urging our friends to conform, encourage their uniqueness. Everyone has dreams that no one else has and you can grow your relationships by encouraging these aspirations.

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