You’re going to come across problems in every relationship you have, whether it’s with a romantic partner, a friend, or a coworker. Some issues are going to be bigger than others and take a lot more effort, but that’s not always the case.
There are plenty of little things you can do for your relationships to set yourself up for success, which will lead to both of you being happier in general.
Always Ask Questions First
Try not to make assumptions about how your partner is feeling or what they’re thinking, no matter how well you know them. If there’s an issue, you should always ask questions first before assuming you know their reason for doing or saying something.
Tell Your Partner What You Need
Don’t wait around for your partner to maybe, possibly, finally guess what you need from them. It would save you both a lot of time and stress if you simply told them what you need from them.
Send Them A Text When You’re Thinking Of Them
It doesn’t matter if you know that they’re in class or that they don’t check their phone while they’re working. They’ll see it eventually and know that you were thinking of them in that moment.
If you’re in an argument or trying to deal with a problem and you see that it’s getting out of hand, call a time-out. Take a two- or three-minute break, collect your thoughts, then you can start again.
Be The First To Say Sorry
Get over your pride and be willing to be the first one to say sorry after an argument, especially if you’re the one who was actually in the wrong. Forget about being the one who is always right.
Stop Picking Fights When You’re Bored Or In A Bad Mood
Don’t pick up the phone or start a tough conversation when you know that you’re already irritated or have had a bad day. All you’re doing is setting yourself up to start an argument.
Always Use “I” Statements
There may be no I in “team,” but there’s at least one in “relationship,” and that’s what you should focus on in an argument or when you’re sharing your feelings. Making “I” statements rather than saying “you did ___” will make your partner more receptive.
Stop Thinking Everything Is An Attack
This comes back to the “ask questions first, make assumptions never” rule. Not everything that someone says to you is an insult or a clever quip, even if that’s how it comes across. Before you get upset about that comment your boyfriend made, try telling him that you were upset by it, and I’m willing to bet he’ll explain exactly what he meant by it.
Have A Hobby Outside Of Your Relationship
It’s great to have shared experiences or hobbies that you do with your partner, but it’s also healthy to have a few things that aren’t directly tied to your relationship. Having an outlet or something you can do that’s completely your own is a good thing.
Let Go Of Your Grudges
If you’re holding a grudge about something or a certain behavior made you upset, you need to get it out in the open. Find a way to work through it and move past it, because holding a grudge doesn’t benefit you, and it only hurts yourself.
Spend Your Free Time Together Actually Doing Something
This is especially true for newer relationships where you’re still getting to know each other. Having a night in to Netflix and chill is nice, but it’s hard to learn new things about someone without experiencing new things together.
Thank Them For Something They Did
Even if you already thanked them in the moment, say thank you again for making dinner the other night or watching your favorite show with you even if you know they don’t like it. Don’t go overboard here and beat them to death with your praise, but an extra thank you is always nice.
Buy Them A Treat When You’re Grocery Shopping
Next time you’re at the grocery store and you happen to come across that candy they love or that one chip flavor they like even though you think it tastes gross, buy it for them! It’s a great way to brighten their day without having to spend a lot of money or go out of your way.
No More Boring, Routine Date Nights
The issue isn’t that having a scheduled date night is a bad thing, it’s about what you do on those date nights. You don’t need yet another Friday night where you go for dinner, talk about your days, and share the same boring stories. If it’s date night, plan for something exciting or something you don’t normally do.
Criticism Should Always Be Constructive
If you feel the need to criticize someone, make sure that it’s feedback rather than straight-up criticism. Explain what the problem is, followed up by a solution or a suggestion that would help with it. Finish it off with something positive if you can.
Send Them An Extra Cheesy E-Card
Next time you have a few minutes free in your day, create one of those cheesy e-cards that plays music when you open it or has a little cartoon dancing. It’s pretty much guaranteed to be the best email they receive that day.
Remember That Men And Women Approach Things Differently
Many problems in a relationship stem from the simple fact that men and women think differently or approach problems differently, but we don’t always remember that. If you’re having a problem, try explaining your side of it and have them do the same, so you can see where you’re both coming from.
Offer To Get Them A Snack Or A Drink When You’re Going To The Kitchen
You might even do this one sometimes anyways, just out of habit. Making the conscious effort to say, “Hey, can I get you a drink or something to eat?” isn’t difficult, and it’s one of those little things everyone appreciates.
Listen More Than You Speak
You want your partner to listen to you when you’re upset about something or having a problem, and they expect the same of you. Give them your full attention, listen to what they’re saying, and focus on what they’re saying rather than what you’re going to say in response.
Be Present When You’re Together
What’s the point in going to your boyfriend’s house or going out for dinner with your girlfriend just so you can both stare at your phones for half the night? Put the distractions away and be present in the moment, whatever it is.