Our relationships with other people form most of what we do in our lives, apart from perhaps sleep.
This can mean family and friends but also our relationship with colleagues, boss and the general public.
It is part of human life to interact with other humans, even if it is by email or social media.
Understanding others is a very important key to talking any stress in relationships; just as understanding ourselves is important for knowing what makes us react or 'presses our buttons'.
Many of our own reactions, as well as those of the other person, will have come from social upbringing, what we learned from other adults when we were younger and the influence of the world around us, like TV, films and the media.
Sometimes tensions arise because on one level we have difficulty understanding the "music behind the words" of what someone is saying. We may be unable to see things the same way as they do. We may not get what it is they are driving at. This can be caused by language mismatches and some of these are explored below.
Work and Social Relationships
Managing work relationships or those with friends and colleagues, also involves getting to know them.
People fall into various categories and scientists have spent a lot of time developing theories about personality. It ius always hard and of course inconclusive to categorise individuals, but a quick and easy way to understand this is to see them as red, blue or green.
- 'Red' people - tend to be directive, assertive and fast to react, not very patient and often passionate about their interests.Make fast decisions.
- 'Blue' people are focused on being caring, altruistic and supportive. Slow to anger. Use caring language when speaking. Often decide based on benefits to others. Angry if someone fails to recognise their caring nature.
- 'Green' people tend to be analytic, quiet and reserved; taking time to strategise before deciding. They will not like making quick decisions.
Many people present a mixture of these categories but will have a general, overall tendency.
So if you make a rough guess about the person in front of you and which category they fall into, you can estimate how they will be and fit yourself to their personality / comunication styles.
(Categories based on the SDI personality assessment - which of course is far more detailed).
It has been suggested that people communicate using language that is either visual (describing images - e.g. "I see what you are saying"), auditory (describing sounds, e.g. "that sounds nice") or tactile (describing how something feels, e.g. "you made an impact on me").
If you can discover which method (sometimes called modality) another person uses, you can use the same style to talk to them and so build a rapport. It can be difficult if you are using a communication style that you are unfamiliar with, however. Often when people seem unable to understand one another, it is because they are using different modalities to communicate.
(More information on modalities is available in books about Neurolinguitic Programming, or NLP)
One very useful system for helping couples and others to understand each other is at this website:
The '5 Love Languages' site offers a questionnaire that helps you and the other person to understand where each other is coming from when you express your love for each other.
For example, some people show love by buying things. Others dislike this method and prefer to show love by doing acts of service. Others prefer to show love by hugs and touch.
It is worth trying this. Talk to your partner about it. Understanding one another's Love Languages can really help. If you both use different ways to show love then arguments can arise because of misunderstanding. Finding out how your partner or friend (or even your child) likes to show affection, can prevent a lot of arguments, especially if you can both agree on what each other likes / dislikes.
Getting closer to your loved one
If you have been away from your loved one or partner for a while, one of the very best ways to get closer again is foot massage!
Its not as difficult as you may think!
(NB: Ensure they tell you if they have any infections or foot problems first - in this case do not massage them until they have been cleared by a doctor).
- Ensure they washed their feet first.
- Get them to sit or lie in a comfortable position
- Get some towels and place one under the feet. Keep the other for later.
- Get some nice massage oil - coconut oil is very good or you can buy foot cream in most stores
- Put a little (maybe a teaspoon sized amount) in your hand.
- Start to spread the oil all over one foot, from heel to toe; over and under.
- Keep smoothing it up the base of the foot and then on top. Continue for a while. Avoid pressing on bony areas. Rub gently - not too hard.
- Do the other foot.
- Then cover with the second towel.
The other person should be in heaven. Let them rest and enjoy this for a while.
They can do your feet later or tomorrow.