The two sides of a relationship

Sometimes our closest and most important relationships are also the most difficult. Our relationships are both cooperative and competitive. We work together with the ones we love but also have a bit of rivalry going on at times. That is why friends and loved ones can have such a positive influence; these relationships can also lead to envy.

We can get close to the people we love while making sure they feel like we’re on their side, and not a rival to be outdone.

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Difficult Relationships: 5 Easy Ways To Improve Them, Backed By Research

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Doing everything to make your life seems perfect may make you a target for resentment.

People who inspire the most trust are those who show warmth and competence. While we may be competent, warmth may be lacking. To ensure you don't inspire envy, screw up a little. It will make you seem more approachable. Embarrassing yourself makes you a lot more human.

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Just asking people, "Is this a good time to talk?" increases compliance with requests.

Show that you care by doing little things, even if they're ridiculous.

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Perspective-taking (thinking about the other side's interests) will help to meet the needs of both parties. Mimicry helps with perspective-taking. Sit as they do, fold your hands as they do, etc. It helps us truly understand what another person is experiencing.

Happy couples that have been married for many years tend to look alike due to perspective-taking and mimicry.

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The way to get others to see your perspective is to ask them for advice. When we ask them for advice, they put themselves in our shoes and look at the world from our point of view.

A common fear is that we may seem less competent, but when we ask for advice, as long as the request is not completely obvious, we appear more competent. Advice signals respect and deference.

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To stop a difficult relationship from getting even worse, apologize in the right way: Promise to change. It is one of the most important components of an apology.

When you're reluctant to apologize, try focusing on the results you might achieve as opposed to who is right or wrong.

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