How you respond to someone – each and every day – determines the long-term health of your relationship with them.
How many of your work relationships and personal relationships invigorate you and leave you feeling light – and how many drain you and feel incredibly heavy? It all comes down to your everyday responses and reactions.
This article about relationships from the Atlantic was reprinted in Business Insider, and that made me think – even though this is about your relationship with your spouse, the same principle applies to any relationship, including work relationships.
One of the key findings cited is that the difference between marriages that last in a healthy way (the masters) versus those that don’t (the disasters) comes from the conditioned response that the two people in the relationship have to each other. The masters have a very calm conditioned response to their partner, whereas the history between the people in the disaster relationships has created a fight-or-flight response in them – simply being around their partner puts them in that survival mode – and it’s no wonder that those relationships are disasters.
What creates those responses – calm and serene versus fight-or-flight – are all of the interactions over time. Are you supportive, kind and responsive to the other person, or are you judgemental, critical or sarcastic – as a rule of thumb. Over time, those responses build into conditioned responses (Pavlov’s dog, anyone?).
Think about the relationship in your life – both at work and personal. Which ones make you smile and feel light? And which ones drain you and make you dread seeing the other person. I’ll bet that the difference between the two is what I outlined above – how the two of you respond to each other on a daily basis.
And guess who controls that? Or at least 50% of that? If you want to Successgineer healthy relationships at work and at home, how can you invest and ‘fill the tank’ with positive reinforcement? And if the other person is not going to change and stay negative and critical – I firmly believe in firing friends who drain you. Not as a judgement on them – just to respect them and their choice to be that way – and to respect my right to not stay in that environment.
What if you’re in a work environment that has toxic relationships like that – and the people are determined not to change? Well, that’s your call, but personally, I wouldn’t stay in that space – I’d be looking for options.