“Relationships of all kinds are like sand held in your hand. Held loosely, with an open hand, the sand remains where it is. The minute you close your hand and squeeze tightly to hold on, the sand trickles through your fingers. You may hold onto some of it, but most will be spilled. A relationship is like that. Held loosely, with respect and freedom for the other person, it is likely to remain intact. But hold too tightly, too possessively, and the relationship slips away and is lost.”
— Kaleel Jamison
We all want our relationships to be successful. But some traits and attitudes will put you on the fast track to failure. If you understand what some of those are early in life, you will be able to develop and maintain meaningful and sincere relationships at every stage of life.
If it is done in the right way, relationships are very difficult. It has great rewards as well as equally great risks. Sometimes, you have to put yourself on the line and at other times, the other person has to put himself on the line. In the give and take, you want to make sure both are done equitably.
However, in some relationships, failure is the inevitable outcome even from the beginning. Here are five of the most common reasons relationships fail and how you can avoid such traps.
1. Relationships fail when there is no communication. Unless you are a lone soul on an island in the middle of nowhere, you will have to communicate with at least one person in your life. Relationships cannot survive without honest communication. Good relationships are made by two people connecting on an emotional level through talking, listening, and treating each other with honor. It goes beyond the surface “how was your day” to something much deeper “how are you feeling” or “what are you thinking”.
2. Relationships fail when there is no trust. You won’t be perfect in any relationship, but you must be honest. Good relationships are built by credibility and reliability. The other person in the equation must trust you and trust in you. Trust is built by taking responsibility for your actions, admitting when you are wrong, keeping your word, choosing to do the right thing, being transparent, authentic, and willing to share your faults, mistakes, and failures, and simply telling the truth. When you choose to be vulnerable and shed the masks we frequently wear, you radiate trust.
3. Relationships fail when there is no commitment. When both people are committed to the relationship, they will be on the same team and work to make it better. If there are behaviors that the other person does not like or that is simply destructive to the relationship, the person perpetrating such behavior will see the need to change and will work hard to do so. Relationships not only require hard work, they require hard work for the good of the team.
4. Relationships fail when there is no character. John Maxwell once said that “everything rises or falls on leadership.” That is true, but I believe that everything rises or falls on character, including relationships. Good relationships help each person become all that they are capable of becoming. To accomplish everything you were created to accomplish, it is certain that you will need self-discipline, commitment, and the willingness to work hard and overcome obstacles. In a relationship, the other person should lovingly push you toward your goals, not keep you from achieving them. Good relationships begin with people who have strong character and who do what is right whether it is easy or not.
5. Relationships fail when there is no value. Relationships do not survive when one or both parties have a narcissistic personality disorder. Narcissism is defined as an inflated sense of one’s own importance and a deep need for praise or admiration. A person who is this way often does not put a high value on making the other person feel loved, cared for and cherished. High narcissism leads to manipulation, an attitude of entitlement, violation of boundaries, and irresponsibility, breaking reasonable rules, and extreme selfishness. I don’t need to say any more about why this type of attitude causes relationships to fail.
Check your relationships at the door for these five traits or a lack of them and you might see your relationship as a warm place to give and get or find the fastest escape out of it.
“People are lonely because they build walls instead of bridges.”
— Joseph F. Newton Men