by Carmen Harra
Ladies, spring is just around the corner …
And as the weather grows warmer and the days grow longer, so do our relationships begin to bloom for the social seasons ahead. Spring and summer are the quintessence of backyard braais, outdoor festivities, and beach bum days, which means a lot more mingling and mixing is done during these months. But, increased exposure to others can also easily increase tensions. We all know how difficult it is to maintain cordial relationships at all times, so how can we ensure that our sun-filled days are also drama-free?
Act on my five tips to keep your relationships happy and healthy throughout the social seasons ahead:
1. Check your emotions
Many times it is we who stir the pot of drama. Our own escalating emotions can quickly turn a day out into a disaster, which is why we should always check our emotions before leaving the house. Take a moment and ask yourself: Do I feel tense, irritable, or stressed today? Will these feelings create friction with others or make it difficult for me to enjoy myself? If yes, take a deep breath and clear your heart and mind of any lingering anger, bitterness, or frustration before stepping out to be in the company of others.
A quick five-minute meditation will help to relax you and turn your mood from anxious to excited.
2. Settle old differences
No differences should remain unsettled, as old problems tend to become recurring problems. Make a list of the people with whom you share unresolved conflict: friends you don’t see eye to eye with, family members who make you irate, even people with whom you’ve had a bad falling out. Promise to resolve these differences in one way or another, even if it’s sending the individuals on your list a quick email wishing them luck and prosperity.
Detach from negative memories by surrendering your ego and explaining to the other person that you hold no grudges. You will feel a surge of serenity when you truly forgive and forge ahead.
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3. Refrain from provocation
There is no need to succumb to someone who is purposely pushing your buttons. Prove to be the bigger person against the provocations of others. Distract yourself from your emotions when you feel an argument coming on by reminding yourself that you are simply too good to engage in low behaviour. Walking away from an argument instead of giving into it will command respect and recognition from others.
4. Don’t engage in gossip
Just because everyone else is busy bad-mouthing someone doesn’t mean you have to do it, too. Imagine that you were the target in the midst of ruthless rumours; you would be grateful to anyone who defended you. Be that person and stand up for someone else. Remember that gossip is biased to only one side of the story and not the whole truth.
5. Set limits for yourself
Setting self-boundaries includes not attending a gathering where you know you’ll encounter your arch-enemy, and not drinking to the point of doing something you’ll later regret. Whenever possible, avoid situations that are bound to become bad ones. Relationships, too, require a degree of discipline, and it becomes your responsibility to steer clear of scenarios that play on your weaknesses.
Practise these tips whenever you are confronted with a difficult social situation. My five rules will help you spend your time in great company and build extraordinary relationships in the months ahead.
Dr. Carmen Harra