Relationship Blues

I have been bombarded with questions about relationships. Some people asking for advice on their own relationships and others asking me how do I maintain such great relationships.

My initial response would be:

Relationships are what you make it, you get what you put into them. It’s like a plant or a pet, your feed it with nutrients that would give you a healthy plant or pet.

If necessary, my following response would be:

Not all relationships will work out or must exist. You have to discern this and decide your next step.

If they continue to look at me with that dissatisfied stare, I say to them:

Just live in the moment and learn from the experience. If it flourishes be grateful and if it ends abruptly be even more grateful.   

At the end of such conversations, some say “thank you”, others walk away furiously, many smile 🙂 in appreciation of the perspective :), while few keep a straight face 😐 in disagreement :|. Well, me, I just continue doing my do.

I stumbled upon the following and felt that I should share it. Give it a shot and avoid the ‘Relationship Blues’.

An excerpt from
The 100/0 Principle
by Al Ritter
What is the most effective way to create and sustain great relationships with others? It’s The 100/0 Principle: You take full responsibility (the 100) for the relationship, expecting nothing (the 0) in return.

Implementing The 100/0 Principle is not natural for most of us. It takes real commitment to the relationship and a good dose of self-discipline to think, act and give 100 percent.

The 100/0 Principle applies to those people in your life where the relationships are too important to react automatically or judgmentally. Each of us must determine the relationships to which this principle should apply. For most of us, it applies to work associates, customers, suppliers, family and friends.

STEP 1 – Determine what you can do to make the relationship work…then do it. Demonstrate respect and kindness to the other person, whether he/she deserves it or not.

STEP 2 – Do not expect anything in return. Zero, zip, nada.

STEP 3 – Do not allow anything the other person says or does (no matter how annoying!) to affect you. In other words, don’t take the bait.

STEP 4 – Be persistent with your graciousness and kindness. Often we give up too soon, especially when others don’t respond in kind. Remember to expect nothing in return.

At times (usually few), the relationship can remain challenging, even toxic, despite your 100 percent commitment and self-discipline. When this occurs, you need to avoid being the “Knower” and shift to being the “Learner.” Avoid Knower statements/thoughts like “that won’t work,” “I’m right, you are wrong,” “I know it and you don’t,” “I’ll teach you,” “that’s just the way it is,” “I need to tell you what I know,” etc.

Instead use Learner statements/thoughts like “Let me find out what is going on and try to understand the situation,” “I could be wrong,” “I wonder if there is anything of value here,” “I wonder if…” etc. In other words, as a Learner, be curious!

Principle Paradox

This may strike you as strange, but here’s the paradox: When you take authentic responsibility for a relationship, more often than not the other person quickly chooses to take responsibility as well. Consequently, the 100/0 relationship quickly transforms into something approaching 100/100. When that occurs, true breakthroughs happen for the individuals involved, their teams, their organizations and their families.