Pandemic-time Online Dating Could Cause a Future Spike in Serious Relationships

Nearly everyone knows of or has participated in the surge in online dating during the early peaks of the pandemic. Locked down in their homes and cities, the world’s daters took to video chat services like ducks to water, congesting global bandwidths with sweet nothings whispered into multimedia microphones and AirPods the world over. Now, experts are saying that this flood of online dating could eventually lead to more serious relationships once the pandemic dies down.

Of course, that could be as far away as a year from now by the looks of it, but they say that it might almost be inevitable. Regardless, it’s always better to be prepared if you think you’re going to go through such a transition. Therefore, let’s look at some of the transitional aspects of moving from online dating to physical dating because they’re as far apart as two things can be. Yes, there are some similarities, no doubt, but the differences are far too glaring to ignore. It’s better to equip yourself with the information you need to make the shift in as disruptive a manner as possible.

Online Dating vs. Physical Dating

So, what are these key differences between online dating and in-the-flesh dating?

#1 – Making a good first impression

If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that the first date is very important as far as first impressions are concerned. But the degree of it vastly differs between in-person dating and the online version. There are certain things that might be critical to physical dating that don’t really matter when it comes to the online equivalent – such as whether you brushed your teeth or if you’re wearing pants!

Of course, we recommend you do both these things – if only to feel more confident about yourself on that first date. However, because of the fact that you’re only going to see that person’s face and maybe a little of their upper body, it’s much easier to make a good first impression when you’re meeting online.

#2 – Preparing for the date

Building further on that first point, traditional dating also brings a lot of ritualistic obligations with it – the showering, the BO self-test, the flossing, the preening, the grooming, the breath test, the BO test again with a (really) close friend, and so on and so forth. That can take up a lot of time but it’s obviously critical to whether or not you’ll ever see her again!

Be ready to spend a considerable amount of time preparing for your first date if you’re meeting in person. It might only take you a half-hour to get ready for an online date. Real dates take a lot longer to prep for.

The preparatory steps we’re referring to in this section are merely the physical side. Your appearance, the way you carry yourself, the clothes you wear, the deodorant you use (easy with the cologne, champ!)… these represent the physical side of things. But there’s another side to getting ready for a date.

#3 – The practical side

The logistics of a physical date are completely different from those of an online date. For the online experience, there’s very little in the way of planning, such as setting up your phone or laptop in a spot with good Wi-Fi reception, some ambient lighting, maybe a little background music, etc.

Real dating takes a lot more effort. Unless you’re going to wing it (which is always a bad idea, by the way), you need to be ready with a budget, a restaurant, maybe an activity thrown in, plans for how you’ll meet up (are you picking her up, are you meeting there, etc.) and how you’ll take her home, and such details.

Plan well ahead of the date. Make reservations if you need to. If you’re going to be drinking, be sure to have the Uber app installed on your phone. If you’re both under 18 and need a chaperone, check with your parents or legal guardians regarding their schedule and so on. Make sure you have more than enough cash to cover all foreseeable expenses. You may want to carry a little extra in case you walk past a florist and want to be spontaneous – things like that.

#4 – The hard question

Are you going to kiss her on your very first physical date? Whether you’ve been dating her online for a while or this is the first meeting, it’ll be on both your minds so get it out of the way. Don’t be nervous; just be ready to have it go either way. There’s no rule that says the first date has to end with a kiss. Get a sense of it during the date itself. If you really like her and you think she feels the same way, it’ll seem right when the time comes.

A lot of couples are nervous on their first date because of the dreaded first date kiss. Don’t let it affect your ability to have fun during the date. Let that apprehension be a natural sensual tension that lasts through the evening.

#5 – The harder question

Should you go on a second date? That’s usually the hardest question of all. On the one hand, it depends on how well the first date goes; on the other, even a disastrous first date can lead to a long-term relationship if you give it another chance.

So, what do you do? How do you decide?

The best way to figure this out is to see if the two of you have at least a few things in common. Did you grow up in the same city, do you have similar backgrounds, are both of you very family-oriented, and so on. Essentially, that’s what you’ll be discovering on your first date. Other things include your ability to entertain each other through conversation and whether or not you can make each other laugh.

The thing is, don’t worry even if it isn’t all smooth sailing on the first date. That perfect first date is a rare and precious thing that all of us aren’t lucky enough to get all the time. If it happens, great – then you don’t have that question hanging over your head about whether to ask her out again. But if it doesn’t, don’t beat yourself up about it. Go with the flow.

As a matter of fact, the best way to assess the situation is to be open about it. If you enjoyed the first date, tell her! If she reciprocates, it’s very likely she’s up for round two. Try and read her body language when you ask her. If she merely acknowledges your statement but doesn’t seem willing to return the sentiment, let it go. If you really like her, you can always call her later on for that second date. Don’t rush it.

The most important thing is to be willing to accept that things could go either way. Relationships are very delicate things that need to be handled with care. There’s no straight line from the first meeting to a long-term relationship or even marriage. Take it one step at a time and do your part to make sure the relationship works. Sometimes, we focus on the other person’s actions and words so much that we forget that we’re one half of the equation.

What Next?

Now that you’ve successfully transitioned from online dating to in-the-flesh dating, how do you take this to the next step? That’s assuming both of you want to, of course. If you do, then there are certain things that will be of immense value once you get started on a more serious relationship. This could be the two of you continuing the relationship on a long-distance basis (LDR) or in a geographically close relationship (GCR.) The dynamics might be different but the core principles are still the same no matter what type of long-term relationship you’re getting into.

The Five Senses of a Mature Relationship

To understand these principles, we must travel to the future and see what your relationship should ideally look like five or ten years from now. And the best way to explain the mechanics of a mature relationship is to break it down into several components. We call these the five senses of a mature relationship. They’re not the traditional five senses that involve the body’s sense organs; rather, they’re more like sensibilities we need to develop and nurture in order to create a rich and meaningful relationship. They evolve over time but they don’t happen on their own. They are the result of effort and awareness on the part of both partners in a relationship. And they are as follows:

A Sense of Individuality

In any strong relationship, there is a sense of individuality shared between the two people involved. This might seem contradictory to the ‘two bodies, one mind’ notion that many of us have been exposed to; in reality, it is not. It is only when both partners have a good self-image and a strong sense of self can there be a melding of the minds.

If not, it’s basically one mind overcoming and the other succumbing. After all, isn’t that what we see quite often in many marriages that have lasted decades? Imagine one couple where the wife does all the talking and the husband is all “yes, dear” all the time. Where’s his individuality in that equation? Now imagine another mature couple who allow each other to voice their thoughts and opinions, rarely interrupting each other, and actually listening when the other is speaking.

Which of these couples is truly one unit? Which of these exude a sense of individuality? The second couple, right? That’s what this sense can bring to a relationship. As we said before, it’s not just an evolutionary phenomenon that happens on its own. You have to allow the other’s individuality to bloom, even as they encourage your own sense of self to come to its own.

That said, always remember that individuality is expressed in many different ways, not just vocally. Someone might be strong-minded but doesn’t talk much. That’s okay. Just let their individuality come out how it will. Just water it – don’t Bonsai it!

A Sense of Respect

Along with a sense of individuality, couples in a long-term relationship will also exhibit a strong sense of respect whether they’re with each other or alone. This is more of an active component than the sense of individuality because it basically has to come from the other person.

Is your better half getting the respect he deserves from you? Do you get it from him? This respect comes in many forms but has the same sentiment at its core. It can be in the form of letting the other person speak their mind or letting them shape your own opinion about something because you respect theirs. It could come in the form of trusting them without knowing the outcome. It can even be as simple as acknowledging their presence when they walk into the room you’re in – or saying ‘Good Morning’ every day despite having done it over 3,000 times!

These are all signs of respect, and that sense of respect is crucial to the success of any relationship – if you want it to last. Unfortunately, too many couples start taking each other for granted as they get more familiar with each other’s habits and idiosyncracies. They stop acknowledging each other’s presence, they don’t say ‘Thank You’ and ‘Sorry’ as often as they should, etc.

Taking the other person for granted is the exact opposite of what you want to be doing to nurture this sense, so keep that in mind at all times.

A Sense of Space

This, too, is closely related to the sense of individuality but with some important differences. For example, you being comfortable with your partner’s absence when she’s out with her friends is essentially you giving her a sense of space. In one respect, you’re allowing her to express her individuality, true; but the subtle difference is that getting a sense of space can only happen in the absence of the other person, while the sense of individuality is typically expressed in their presence.

There’s also the aspect of mentally giving someone space when they want to be alone with their thoughts. Leave it to them to share those thoughts with you – don’t intrude on them. They’ll eventually share their inner thoughts with you if they need your input or just need you to listen. When that happens, don’t try to solve the problem. Just listen. That’s the sense of space in its essence.

Another meaning of a sense of space is the emotion or spiritual space you can give them when they need it most. When your partner is overwhelmed, allow them to get away for the weekend and unwind at a spa or even at their parents’ home. Don’t take it personally. They’re not trying to get away from you but the overload of sensory inputs they’re experiencing at that point in time. It could be pressure at work or familial obligations that have brought them to this point. Be supportive but give them the space to work it out.

A Sense of Loyalty

Does your partner always have the confidence that you have their back? That you’re going to stick with them through thick and thin – poverty and prosperity – sickness and health? Are they afraid you’ll leave them if they become fat or old or whatever?

There’s a reason why this sounds like marriage vows: because it is! Marriage is supposed to be forever, which is why those vows were written that way – as a reminder that you don’t pick up and run when the going gets tough. Unfortunately, much of today’s society thinks of marriage much like a new car that can be traded in for a better model when one comes along.

Call us conventional and stuffy, but we believe that any serious relationship, including marriage, needs to have that unbreakable bond between the two people involved. Let’s be clear about this. We’re not referring to destructive or abusive relationships or marriages because that’s a clear case of one person abusing their rights as a partner. If you’re leaving someone like that, go ahead and do it quickly. We’re talking about marriages where little molehill problems creep up and are made into mountains for no reason.

A sense of loyalty also means knowing that your partner has your back in a tight situation, not just that they’ll stand by your side. They have to be an active participant in defending you, and you, them. You need to put your own safety and well-being on the line to protect theirs. This is an active sense, not a passive one.

Finally, loyalty also means you’re there to share the good things in their life. If she lands a great new job and you have to give up your not-so-great career to stay home and look after the kids, you need to step up and man up. It doesn’t matter who brings home the bacon. Don’t let your male ego overtake this sense of loyalty. That comes above all else.

A Sense of Oneness

This is the ultimate sense in any relationship. But watch out: It can occur in flashes early on in the relationship, making it seem like the person is your soulmate. Some couples even tend to take this as a sign and jump ahead to marriage, only to jump out again when they find that the other pieces of the puzzle aren’t falling into place. That’s why this feeling should essentially grow larger as you go through the other stages of development – it takes that much time to mature and come to fruition.

Unlike the other senses, this one is more intangible. It’s more of a feeling evidenced by certain occurrences – not something you can really put a finger on. And it can happen anywhere. For instance, you may get this feeling of oneness when you’re sitting together silently watching a sunset. You might also get the same feeling at a loud party or a dinner in a noisy restaurant – the feeling that you were meant to be together. There’s nothing like a roomful of strangers to bring you closer to each other!

One important aspect of this sense of oneness is that it can also be actively given. How? By focusing your attention and mentally entering their space despite myriad distractions in the background and in your head. Paying attention to each other is possibly the most effective way to say, “I’m all here and it’s all for you.”

Another thing about this sense of oneness or unity is that can only be achieved after you’ve developed the other four senses. It is the final level of maturity in any relationship. You begin thinking as one, yet you maintain your individuality; you have tremendous respect for each other; you know when the other person needs their space and when they need your companionship; you’re keenly aware of their sense of loyalty and willing to offer yours; these things must be in place before you can truly feel that sense of oneness.

From Online Dating to Serious Relationships – Will We Really See a Spike after the Pandemic?

If you know a little bit about post-World-War-II history in the United States, you’ve probably heard of the “Baby Boom” that added no less than 4.24 million babies to the population every year between 1946 and 1964. These Baby Boomers, as they’re known, were born in an era of plenty, when Americans had the confidence to raise lots of kids after a long period of sparsity. They came back from WWII on aching feet, war-weary and ready to settle down. The economic landscape was promising – solid jobs, affordable homes, and great prospects for raising children. And they did it by the millions.

The pandemic won’t last nearly as long, fingers crossed, but the pent-up physical and mental emotions of the entire world – especially the younger generation – could lead to a similar spike in long-term relationships once we achieve a modicum of normalcy. While this might not necessarily lead to an immediate rise in babies being born, it could certainly give rise to an unusual number of people entering long-term relationships and even marriage. And then the babies will come! So, what do we call that generation? Post-Pandemic Pfizer-Powered Pant Poopers, perhaps?

But jokes apart, what experts are saying could eventually lead to a surge in serious relationships is something we need to recognize and prepare for; hence, this article. The information here will help you navigate the terrain of a long-haul relationship, hopefully helping prevent en-masse break-ups once people realize that real relationships aren’t a bed of roses. They’re not at all like a quick zoom call and a virtual night out. It takes hard work to build a healthy relationship. Being aware of this will put you ahead of the pack when people start struggling with the realities of a long-term relationship as opposed to the convenience of online dating.

A Final Word

The key to a good relationship is participation from both sides. One-sided relationships hardly ever work – and even when they do, it’s one person pulling the cart while the other sits on it or pulls in the opposite direction. Eventually, that sort of relationship is bound to come to a head, and most likely an unpleasant one at that.

Another key piece of the puzzle is effort, not merely participation. An active effort is required from both people if you want to create a truly healthy relationship. It doesn’t always come easy. It’s a work in progress for the most part. The real milestones are the ones you barely even see whizzing past as you focus on the future. You’ll only know them by the evidence they produce; the awareness that things are changing, evolving, getting better over time.

The real secret ingredient in any relationship is a double-dose of willingness to keep working at it – one generous dollop from each partner. That’s the only way. Nobody has a solid relationship that simply falls into their laps. Nobody. Any couple you see that are happier the longer they’re together is a couple that’s bent over backward to make things work. They’ve put in the miles and reaped the smiles. They’ve roughed it out and toughed it out, simply because they thought it was worth sticking together.

If you want to move from online dating into a real relationship, that’s what you need to be willing to do. Are you ready to make sacrifices and work as a team? Are you willing to accept that you do not equal at all times – that you each take turns to play the lead role in the band while the other one sometimes has to be in the background and “play the tambourine,” as Chris Rock says? Can you do that for each other? Can you be each other’s most trusted confidantes? Can you cut through the crap that an envious world will inevitably throw at you – even your own relatives and friends? Do you have the resilience to withstand the initial turbulence as you slowly gain an understanding of each other’s behavioral habits and peculiarities? Are you willing to look past things that irritate you but are really minor in the larger scheme of things? Or will you put in your papers as soon as you discover that he always squeezes the toothpaste tube from the top?

Our purpose here is not to scare the bejeezus out of you. It is simply to prepare you for something you might not even be aware of. Think of it as an orientation session with more than a pinch of truth to it. If, after you’ve read this piece at least a couple of times, you have decided to go ahead and try to make something out of that online dating experience with someone who you think is special, then go for it. You have a deeper understanding of what it takes to make a long-term relationship work. And you have our warmest and most sincere blessings and best wishes for the future! Go out and build yourself a beautiful relationship with someone equally special, because it will be the greatest legacy you can leave behind on this planet.

How to Recognize a Friend: A Deep Gaze into the Face of Friendship

Friendship, the only truly unsinkable ship in the world! 2020 is nearly gone and we await the embrace of 2021 with all the eagerness and enthusiasm of meeting a best friend after a long period of separation. But do we actually know who our friends are? Nope, not the hundreds of “Friends” that Facebook says you have. I mean real friends. The kind you can pour your heart out to without fear of recrimination or destructive criticism; the kind you can lean on when things aren’t going your way; the kind you want to talk to even when you have nothing to say.

Most of us think we know who our friends are, and we may be right some of the time. The problem is, too many people take on the guise of a friend but, underneath, they’re still wolves waiting for the right opportunity to take away something precious from you. Either that or they’re just whiling away their time in your company and you think that makes them a friend.

So, how can we identify or recognize a friend? Is there a set of guidelines to measure someone against?

Thankfully, there is. And it’s not a random or theoretical set of criteria a person must meet in order to be labeled ‘a friend.’ It has been defined over several millennia of true friendships across civilizations throughout human history. It has been defined not just by human friendships but also iconic acts of friendship by animals through time. Man’s best friend, and all that. And it has seen myriad forms of unlikely – and, at times, unsavory – partnerships throughout our past. Sometimes evil, and sometimes just bizarre. Adolf Hitler and Hermann Göring. Mark Twain and Nikola Tesla. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini. Milo the Dog and Bonedigger the Lion. Err…Umm…yeah.

As you can see, friendships come in all shapes and sizes, and sometimes four legs apiece! In this article, we’ll attempt to distill the common elements that brought these and other friend-couples together.

How to Recognize a Real Friend – A True Friend

There are some common threads that run through all friendships. Variations about, naturally, but these are the general characteristics of someone you would typically call ‘a friend.’

  • Keeping it real

Friends will always keep it real, even if it hurts. This is different from being honest in order to deliberately harm someone, so watch out for that distinction. Sometimes, a so-called friend will be honest with you to gain your favor but has an ulterior motive. In this context, you can consider someone to be a friend or to be acting in a friendly manner if they always tell you the truth, even if it hurts them or ends up pushing you away from them.

That’s one of the most important aspects of friendship, and one you can accurately use to gauge a person’s intentions. Again, beware of those bearing false gifts. Sometimes, people tell you the truth because they have something to gain from it – either by getting you to turn on someone else or just to hurt you and bring you pain. That’s no friend, although they might resemble one.

  • Forgiveness

They say that a friend will forgive you for anything. While that’s undoubtedly true, it’s not always an instantaneous and knee-jerk reaction. A friend will always forgive in the long run, but not always at once. There will most certainly be a moment of thought before they forgive you. That moment might last exactly that long – a moment – or it might last for years in some cases. It depends on the transgression itself, as well as your intentions behind it. And there’s a reason it takes time: it’s because they are not just contemplating what you did or said, but evaluating things in the context of the friendship you share. You may not be aware of it, but they’re actually trying to figure out whether they still want to be your friend. If they ultimately forgive you, they do.

What you need to be wary of is a “friend” that’s always ready with a generous helping of forgiveness but harbors resentment for years to come. That’s not a real friendship. A real friend might not forgive you right away, but that only shows that they value their relationship with you and are trying to work out if they want to keep it intact, and how to do it without compromising their own values.

  • Our motivators, a.k.a. engines for personal growth

They say that true motivation can only come from within. I only half-agree. I believe that motivation is merely the effect of internal or external stimulation. When it comes externally, it can most certainly – and usually does – come from a friend. Of course, there are also other positive as well as negative stimuli that can spur us into action, but a friend is a person who consistently provides that stimulus in a positive way.

What makes this type of motivation different is that they’re not just the stimulus. They are also ready to provide the fuel for us to change, in the form of encouragement and even sacrifice. If someone says to you, “Hey buddy, you need to lose some weight this year. Let’s get up at 6 am and go running every day before you get to work,” you know you’ve found a friend. That’s encouragement and sacrifice, and that should act as a powerful motivating factor for you. I urge you to value that kind of friendship like nothing else because they’re willing to put their effort into your goals.

  • Our defenders

When we’re not there to defend ourselves from slanderous talks, our friends step in for us instead of going with the flow or keeping silent. They will fight for our honor even if we’re unaware of it, and they won’t brag about it later. They are simply fulfilling the obligations of friendship.

And they’ll do it even when you’re there to defend yourself. How many times have you heard your best friend tell your accuser, “No, she’s not like that at all. I know her” even when you’re standing right there? They’ll also give you a quick glance of assurance that they have your back and they’ll take care of the ‘situation.’

  • Our promoters

Friends are not just our defenders. They are also the ones to push us into the spotlight when they think we deserve it. And they don’t do it to look good in front of you. They do it because they genuinely want you to shine. Mind you, though, a true friend will only do this if YOU have something to gain from it.

On the other hand, there’s flattery. “Friends who flatter” because it costs them nothing and gets them something (usually from you) are no friends at all. Beware of these false friends who only do it from an opportunistic point of view. It’s nice when someone says good things about us, but is there a hidden agenda?

A true friend is always in our corner, fighting for us even when life hands us a knockout punch and we’re not sure we’ll ever be able to get up again. The kindest and most valuable thing a friend can do is to promote us to us when we’re at our lowest point. While they can certainly help motivate us through their encouragement, this is when they become our lifeline as we flounder or wallow in self-pity. It is then that they become more than mere motivators. They recharge our near-dead batteries and ready us for the fight ahead.

  • Respect and sensitivity

Do you know why some couples stay friends throughout their married lives? In one word: respect. They respect each other as individuals and they never take each other for granted, as many couples are wont to do. And this can only come from a place of self-respect and valuing their own individuality. That’s where it starts.

A good friend, therefore, is potentially someone with a lot of self-respect. It is the only way you can show genuine respect to another person. All other forms of respect are merely societal obligations from the hierarchies we’ve internalized – respect for elders, respect for superiors, respect for our peers, and, to a great degree, even respect for women.

True respect can only come from within. If you respect yourself, you’ll afford that same courtesy to others in your circle of influence. Moreover, respect is always a two-way street – when it’s genuine. In other words, true respect begets true respect. The question is, are you respectful of those you consider to be your friends? If not, can you change by making that a resolution for 2021?

 


Learn about Friendship Lamps and how they can help you stay connected with your closest friends, no matter where in the world they may be!


 

  • Judgment and… stuff

They say that friends are supposed to be non-judgmental. I completely disagree because we understand it in the wrong context. Friends are supposed to be the litmus tests of your character. By definition, therefore, they should judge you by your actions and words. But it doesn’t end there.

Non-judgmental in this context means accepting you as you are. On the contrary, friends should most definitely be judgmental when it comes to steering you straight. If a friend helps you commit a crime, is that a real friend? I would hope not. A friend would do everything in her power to prevent that from happening. She should be the first one to call you out for a transgression. If she turns you in or “rats” on you, she’s a friend. A friend is not the person willing to hide your misdeeds and keep going like nothing happened.

That’s not an easy concept to understand or digest because we’ve all been tuned to think a friend won’t snitch on us and will remain loyal to us no matter what. The truth is, it’s the job of a friend to make sure that the “no matter what” doesn’t involve hurting ourselves or someone else.

The other side of that coin is this: if your intentions are true, a real friend will do whatever it takes to make it happen – even if it ends up hurting them!

At the risk of being controversial, let me give you an example.

I’ll ask you this: Did Judas act as a friend or an enemy to Jesus? Most people vilify him as “an antichrist of the worst kind,” and that has been the belief of hundreds of millions of people for two millennia.

But, consider this:

According to the lost Gospel of Judas, which was found, restored, authenticated, translated, and finally unveiled at the National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington, D.C. on April 6, 2006, Judas is believed to have acted at Jesus’ behest when betraying him (emphasis mine):

It goes on to describe Judas as Jesus’ closest friend, someone who understands Christ’s true message and is singled out for special status among Jesus’ disciples.

In the key passage Jesus tells Judas, “‘you will exceed all of them. For you will sacrifice the man that clothes me.‘”

Kasser, the translation-project leader, offers an interpretation: “Jesus says it is necessary for someone to free him finally from his human body, and he prefers that this liberation be done by a friend rather than by an enemy.

“So he asks Judas, who is his friend, to sell him out, to betray him. It’s treason to the general public, but between Jesus and Judas it’s not treachery.

The newfound account challenges one of the most firmly rooted beliefs in Christian tradition.

Imagine that! Something so misunderstood for so many centuries! Judas was asked to do an impossible task by Jesus, and the only reason he did it was that he valued Jesus’ friendship and held it above all else. He did not question Jesus’ intentions because he knew they were pure and for a good reason, even if Judas himself couldn’t understand it at the time; rather, he took it upon himself to bear the hatred of millions to follow, for so long, all because he resisted passing judgment on his closest – and possibly only – friend, in whom he believed.

Whether or not we believe in the Gospel of Judas and its authenticity is immaterial; what it signifies is unassailable – that a friend will not question or judge you when they know that your intentions are true.

  • Joy and sadness

Another very important aspect of friendship is a person’s willingness to share in our joy as well as our sorrow. In other words, will they stay by your side through thick and thin? In sickness and in health? For richer or poorer? Do those words sound like marriage vows? Well, they most certainly are because marriage is simply a way of saying that you promise to be friends for life. BFFs in the real – and legally binding – sense.

Why should it be any different between friends?

The real test of friendship, though, is when you’re going through bad times. That’s when your “fairweather friends” will melt away into the dimming light. The only ones left will be those that will hold your hand and not let go until you see the light again.

I’ll admit it’s not easy being that kind of friend, which is why real friendships are few and far between. Of the hundreds of Facebook friends most of us boast, only one, two, or three can be counted on. The question is, do you know who they are? They might be family members, acquaintances you’ve lost touch with, or even former adversaries.

Anyone with more than one or two people who fall into this category should consider themselves extremely lucky. Friendships like this only come along a handful of times in our lives, and if we don’t do everything in our power to hold on to them for dear life, we’re doing ourselves – and them – a disservice.

On the positive side of things, friends not only share in our joy but help enhance it in numerous ways. They help us see the brighter side of things; they are a joy to be around because they emanate positivity; they bring out the best in us at all times; they are always eager to see us, even if we just saw them this morning! In other words, friends make us happy, keep us happy, and want us to be happy.

 


Learn about Friendship Lamps and how they can help you stay connected with your closest friends, no matter where in the world they may be!


 

  • Trust

Trust takes many forms. For instance, the ability to keep a secret is one kind of trust. Another is the ability to rely on their word – if they say they’ll do something, they will. A third type is based on their willingness to be honest with you no matter the consequences.

When combined, trust is a powerful bond that brings people closer together as little else can. This is the trust between true friends, and it’s not easy to come by because trust is something you build from scratch.

Think of it as an investment. The more you put into it, the stronger the foundation on which trust can grow. The trust you get back will be exponentially disproportionate to the amount you put in, which makes it relatively easy to build. That’s the good part.

The bad part is that trust, once broken, is almost impossible to repair. It takes years to rebuild, and it’s never the same again.

To build trust, you need to make small but frequent deposits. It’s hard to build trust in a short amount of time. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible; it just means it’s rare for that to happen. Trust is usually built fast in a crisis situation, where trusting someone could be the difference between life and death. Like a tourist trusting a mountain guide during an avalanche. The trust here needs to come fast because an element of immediacy is added into the mix.

In general, however, trust is built over a much longer period, patiently, one brick at a time. This is how trust is built between friends. The little deposits you make are you keeping your word, you being on time, you being reliable, dependable, and all that. Then, when you need it the most, you can make a withdrawal.

Most of us are aware that trust is also essential to the normal functioning of society and civilization itself. But that’s actually faith rather than trust. There’s a subtle difference between the two, though, in that faith is based on what others believe to be true and you accepting that fact. For instance, if you get on a flight from Point A to Point B, faith tells you that you’re going to reach your destination safely. That’s because you have faith in the airline system – that the aircraft is in good working order, that qualified technicians have worked on it, that the pilot is licensed by a recognized authority, and so on. But that faith is easily broken when any of those assumptions are brought into question. Imagine learning – at 30,000 feet up – that this is the pilot’s first solo flight and his co-pilot is a chimpanzee. Can you see your faith plummeting to the earth as you fervently pray that you, yourself, won’t?

On the other hand, trust comes from concrete experience. It’s about having relied on someone before and them having come through. And that’s what the trust element in a friendship is – the absolute knowledge that you can depend on them no matter what.

So, Who Are Your Friends – and Are YOU a True Friend?

Now that you know the topography of friendship, can you reassess your circle of influence and make a list of those who you know will qualify on all these fronts? For that matter, will YOU qualify as a true friend to anyone you know?

Here’s a little exercise for you…

  • Open a spreadsheet program like Excel or Numbers
  • Type “Name” in Cell A1
  • Below that, in Column A, type in the names of everyone you consider to be your friend – one per row, starting with Row 2
  • Add your name to the final row
  • Starting with the next column on the first row (Cell B1), add a header for each of the qualities discussed here – Keeping it real, Forgiveness, Motivator, Defender, Promoter, Respect and Sensitivity, Judgment, Joy and Sadness, and Trust
  • You should now have a column of names and nine additional columns next to it
  • Now, on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the highest), rate each person on each of these attributes – be brutally honest – and enter a score in the corresponding cell
  • Do this for yourself as well, as you think a friend might perceive you
  • Total the scores in each column of Row 2 and divide by 9 to get an average (The formula should go in Cell K2 as “=sum(B2:J2)/9” without the quotes) and copy Cell K2 and paste it into all the cells below it, right down to the one against your name
  • These now represent the “Friend Score” for each person, including yourself

So, who scored the highest on your Friend Score Chart? That person will ideally be your best friend. Was the highest score shared by more than one person? You’re very lucky. Remember, unless you were absolutely honest when scoring each person against all 9 qualities, you won’t get the results you seek. It has to be unbiased.

If you’ve successfully done that, you will not only know who your friends are but, more importantly, you’ll know where you need to improve as a friend to them. The Friend Score helps you identify the strong and weak points of your closest relationships, giving you the opportunity to strengthen what’s required. It also gives you a tremendous amount of insight into people you might have thought were your friends but ended up scoring very poorly on the Friend Score Chart; conversely, you may be shocked to find that someone you didn’t pay too much attention was a true friend all along.

Building a friendship takes years, so save your Friend Score Chart and update the numbers as you see each of these friendships evolving over time. I highly recommend that you do this exercise sincerely and put in the effort required to fortify your friendship circle. This is one of the most valuable treasures you will ever accrue in this life and it will live on long after you’re gone.


Learn about Friendship Lamps and how they can help you stay connected with your closest friends, no matter where in the world they may be!


 

Long-distance Relationship Therapists Recommend Doing These 8 Things

Long-distance relationships can be quite fragile, for apparent reasons. But they don’t have to be. Interviews with several relationship experts and long-distance relationship therapists have now revealed some straightforward but important steps that long-distance couples can take to strengthen the bond and make sure their long-distance relationship ‘lasts the distance’, in a manner of speaking.

long-distance relationship quote

So, what are these things that therapists say you should do? Let’s analyze each one to see how you can apply it to your own long-distance love situation.

But before we begin, let’s make a mental note of the fact that these tips and tidbits need to be put into action for any of them to work. Reading about them helps, but unless you’re able to weave them into your relationship, from both sides, it will be purely ‘for entertainment purposes only.’

To get the best out of this advice, don’t focus on doing everything at once. Take two points and work on them for a week or as long as you need to. Once you feel confident that it’s been ingrained and imbibed and has become second nature to both of you, move on to the next pair. For that matter, even focus on one point at a time to make sure you thoroughly understand what you need to do, then implement it for a week to see how it’s working for you.

If you do these things with an open mind and a sincere heart, magical things will happen as a result of relatively simple steps that you take, one day at a time.

#1: Communicate Just the Right Amount

That’s a hard pill to swallow because who knows what the right amount of communication in any relationship really is? How much is too much and how much is not enough? To understand the logic behind that advice, we spoke to several relationship experts who regularly counsel couples in a long-distance relationship. Here’s the gist of what they said: Talk as often as it feels right. The moment it feels like a chore for either one of you, cut back. And when you find yourself wishing you were on a call with your significant other, take it one notch up.

This is some sound advice, and it’s practical, too. Not only does this make the communication part dynamic but it also allows you to feel the pulse and adjust the frequency of your communication accordingly.

From a practical viewpoint, let’s say you begin by getting on a call once every two days. If either of you feels that it is impinging on your schedule, then dial it down to two times a week and see if that works. On the other hand, if you find yourself eagerly waiting for that call – too eagerly – then maybe it’s time to set up a daily schedule that works for both of you.

That’s the reason it’s dynamic as well. If, at any point in time, you or your partner feels that it’s getting a little too much for what you have to say to each other or too little to say it all, adjust the frequency to match the need.

long-distance relationships - communicating

Optionally, you can increase the frequency but make the calls shorter. That works better for some people who already have a lot on their plate on a daily basis.

The idea is to keep it fluid so both of you control the duration and neither feels that it’s a burden or that it’s not enough.

#2: Find a Common Area of Interest

People don’t always fall in love because they’re into the same things, but once you’re in love, you’ll see that you do share a lot of things in common. The idea here, therapists say, is to find something that both of you can engage in on a regular basis. It could be an activity you both participate in virtually, reading the same book separately and discussing it together, watching a movie in sync and then talking about it, and so on.

The purpose of this exercise is not to stay within your respective comfort zones but expand those comfort zones so they overlap. If the two of you have nothing much in common but you both love horses, find a way to bring that into your lives and engage in it actively. It could be as simple as watching horse videos for an hour each week or sharing your childhood horse-riding stories just before you go to bed.

Whatever you decide, make sure the topic is of interest to you both and not a case of one person’s hobby being forcibly thrust on the other. Be honest. If you don’t like something the other person suggests, say it.

Over time, you can look for new things to connect you together, constantly strengthening your relationship in the process.

#3: Appreciate Why You’re Apart in the First Place

A lot of long-distance couples tend to focus on the ‘being separated’ part instead of understanding the reason for their separation. It could be that you go to different colleges or work in different countries even. It could be that one of you is unable to move due to financial challenges or family commitments.

In every case, there will be at least one reason why you’re in a long-distance relationship. If you can recognize that reason and truly respect the decision you made around it, it will be a lot easier to handle the separation. It might also give you a firm timeline for when you can finally be together again physically.

In most cases, it’s education or finances or work or health that’s keeping you at a distance from each other. Many of these reasons have finite lifetimes. In other words, you can predict when those situations will eventually end. Focus on that as the ‘time remaining’ on your long-distance relationship and stick it out, because whatever is keeping you apart is really important or you wouldn’t have decided on a long-distance relationship in the first place.

Of course, it doesn’t always work that way. For instance, if one of you had to stay back home because of a bedridden parent and the other took a job in a different city, you don’t necessarily know when you’ll be able to join each other.

For the most part, however, these situations are predictable and will allow you to make plans for the future.

And that brings us to actually making those plans.

#4: Fix a Firm Date for the Ultimate Reunion if Possible

We often just leave this to chance and destiny but, if we do, then we’re only allowing other things to come in the way of our being together again. Things happen: new jobs come along, new education opportunities pop up, and life generally happens whether we’re watching closely or not.

During this time, if you’re not vigilant, other things will creep in that will prolong your separation. That’s why you need to have a firm date to get back together again. If that means making travel plans two years ahead, so be it. That plane ticket will be your motivation to stick it out through whatever the reason was for the separation.

long-distance couple reuniting at the airport

The obvious benefit of doing this is that it gives you the mental stamina to undergo the separation period, but there’s also another benefit you might not have thought of. That’s the benefit of being able to focus better on what you’re doing now. Everything you do between now and then will take you a step closer to that much-anticipated future. That means you’ll do a better job at work or school, you’ll appreciate what you have in your hand right now rather than pine away thinking of your far-away love.

#5: Focus More on the Positives

Are there any positives in a long-distance relationship? Absolutely! Experts say that long-distance couples are actually more productive in their lives because they don’t have “love” as a constant distraction. Having time to yourself means you can focus better on what you’re doing now. In a way, that carries over from the previous point of having a firm date to be together again.

Whether that’s focusing on your studies or having more time to spend with family and friends, it frees you from the obligations of being in a full-time relationship. Of course, don’t think that a long-distance relationship isn’t full-time, but recognize the fact that a lot of your time is your own.

Another positive is that the separation will reveal how much you love and miss each other. Having your partner by your side at all times is great but it tends to make you take things for granted. Even their presence is taken for granted and, therefore, less appreciated. Being in a long-distance relationship changes all that, and you learn to truly value whatever time you’re able to spend with each other, even virtual time.

#6: Don’t Ignore the Elephant in the Room

A lot of couples take the easy way out and just avoid topics that are touchy for either or both of them. Big mistake, whether it’s in a long-distance relationship (LDR) or a geographically-close relationship (GCR). But it’s even worse in an LDR because of the absence of proximal non-verbal cues like eye contact and body language. Sure, you can get that from a video call but it’s not the same thing.

And because of this, it’s often easier to avoid the tough subjects like doubts that either of you may have or something a mutual friend told you. Learning to air it out makes a relationship infinitely healthier.

It’s not easy, and I’m not trying to tell you that it is. It’s definitely a hard task. However, as you start addressing these issues, you’ll realize that it gradually brings you closer to each other than anything that’s all positive and feel-good. Those are important, too, but there’s really nothing like going through a crisis situation to help with bonding.

Sometimes, that’s all you need to put out the smoldering embers in your relationship before they flare up into uncontrollable conflagrations. If you don’t do this, things might blow up in a disproportionate way, affecting you in the long run and maybe even ruining the chances of a healthy long-distance relationship.

#7: Be Interested in Each Other’s Careers or Main Interests

It’s great to have hobbies or activities that you can share with your long-distance partner but, sometimes, that’s not enough. It’s also very important that you take an interest in the other person’s mainstay activity, such as their job, their education, or whatever it is.

Why is this important?

The main reason this is crucial to any relationship is that it gives you anchors in each other’s lives. A doctor can be married to a dancer and they can still be interested in what each of them does for a living. In fact, it will expand your own mind when you try and appreciate their point of view. This anchoring is crucial to any relationship. That’s why we become friends with someone – because we often share the same interests and can talk about common topics without getting bored.

Aside from helping you drop these mutual anchors, it also helps you understand where they’re coming from. In conversations, they’ll often bring up analogies to their work or their studies. If you don’t have a clue what they’re saying, you can’t appreciate their intent. You’ll simply be nodding your head without getting the real meaning of what they’re trying to say.

So, how do you go about taking an interest in someone else’s career or education without knowing anything about it? Ah, but that’s the easy part!

Begin by asking a lot of questions. If you know nothing about that topic, that’s even better. Start with basic – and what you might think are stupid – questions. They’ll love to answer your questions because it puts them squarely in their comfort zone; apart from that, you’ll be making them feel like an expert on the topic. In a relative way, they are, but you’re bringing that aspect to the forefront.

Reading up on the topic is another way to get into their lives. You don’t have to study what they did to become who they are now, but it helps if you read a few articles or journals and see if you can get the hang of the terminology used in their profession. That way, when they talk about it, you can respond intelligently because you actually know what they’re saying!

One thing to keep in mind, though, is not to become so much of an expert in their area of expertise that they start seeing you as a threat. For instance, just because you’ve read articles on the latest surgical techniques used in heart transplants, you don’t have to throw that in your heart surgeon wife’s face every chance you get. Even if they’re not threatened by it, they’re going to be put off because it sounds like you’re challenging their own knowledge. “What? You’re a heart surgeon and you’ve never performed a robotically-assisted surgery?” That sort of thing will tick anyone off, wouldn’t you agree?

So, get familiar with their main area of interest, but only so much as to be able to have a meaningful conversation with them about it.

#8: Keep Reminding Each Other Why You’re in this Relationship

What do you love about each other? What do you respect about the other’s behavior or characteristics or ethics? Have you told each other this recently? Maybe you need to do it more often.

Everyone loves being told why they’re great and why someone admires them, so why are you not doling out the good stuff when it comes to what is probably the most important relationship in your life?

Constantly reminding each other of the reasons you decided to start your relationship is important because it represents what is called mutual edification. It’s not the same as flattery because that’s shallow and has ulterior motives. Mutual edification is about uplifting each other in your own eyes as well as the eyes of the world. With respect to other people around you, it’s about ‘talking each other up’ in their absence. Within your relationship, it’s about telling each other what you value about them and the relationship you’re in.

Summary

These 8 things are recommended by couples therapists and relationship experts as the most effective way to strengthen and fortify a long-distance relationship. But it works in any relationship, whether it’s with a lover, a friend, a sibling, a parent, a grandparent, or even a close colleague. Think of them as tools to polish your relationship chops and use them wisely because they will serve you as long as you have people in your life. And that’s basically forever!


Have you heard of Friendship Lamps yet?

A pair or set of lamps that connect to each other through their local Wi-Fi networks and “talk” to each other through touch and light!

Here’s more about how they work.

Find out how to buy a pair of Friendship Lamps – one for you and one for your long-distance partner or spouse.

How to Mend a Broken Friendship – a Step by Step Guide to Reconciliation

Friends are hard to make but even harder to keep. And if you have a friendship that’s broken, the hardest thing is to mend that relationship. Thankfully, if your relationship had any depth to it at all, it’s still possible to salvage it. There are lots of caveats to that, of course, because it will never be the same again. Nothing that is broken can ever be mended to its original state. That’s a fact of life. That said, however, it can become an even stronger friendship if you put in the effort and the time to build it up again. This article shows you actionable steps to make that happen.

#1 – Analyse the Extent of Damage

Damage assessment might seem like a cold, calculated way of bridging a broken relationship with a friend, but unless you know how bad it is, how can you hope to fix it? To carry out this step, you’ll need to be very honest with yourself and ask yourself some very hard questions. At this point, don’t start playing the blame game. It’s not healthy and it’s certainly not helpful.

assessing the damage in a broken friendship - quote about broken friendships

Instead, think about the events that led to the misunderstanding or the fall-out. Was it about a boy or a girl? Was it because of something either of you said? Or was it a case jealously because of some good fortune that befell one person and left the other one high and dry?

If you can crystalize and encapsulate that for a minute before dismissing it as not being worth fighting over, that’s half the hill won.

To help you get to the bottom of the problem, try reenacting or recreating the moments before you decided to stop speaking to each other. Usually, a reason that seemed huge at the time will seem insignificant now. If you can ferret out the situation, you’ll have a starting point to reason with your ex-friend – a talking point to begin navigating back to a state of friendship if you will.

Don’t just work it out in your mind. Jot down notes about what happened before the fallout or type it out on your computer. Record yourself voicing your thoughts about those moments or days before you broke it off. Anything that you can go over again could hold the clue you’re looking for.

So, what exactly are you looking for? The reason for this exercise is to calibrate the ‘perceived intensity’ of the reason for your estrangement against what you know to be true today.

Think about that very carefully because it is important. In simple words, what you thought was a big deal all those days, months, or years ago might, in fact, be of little significance today.

Let me give you an example. Imagine you stopped talking to your best friend in high school because she decided to go to a different university than you. You’re 25 now, working at a great company, and a lot more mature. How insignificant does your high school situation look to you at this point in time? Have you built up a completely negative picture of her since you discovered her decision? Is it just simmering at the same level? Do you feel worse about the situation now than you did before? Do you still feel those pangs of hurt and disloyalty?

On the other hand, what if the passage of time has given you a more balanced perspective of things? Maybe she wanted to go to that college because they offered a course that wasn’t available at the one you picked. Perhaps her dad couldn’t afford to send her to the expensive college you attended and she didn’t have the kind of scholarship money you received. Have you ever thought about those things between then and now? Well, perhaps it’s time to do just that.

More often than not, you’ll find that there was really no basis in making the rash decision to cut off a friendship. Even if it was a serious reason, time will have softened your position on the matter. If not, your thinking about it from the right perspective certainly will.

Summary of Actions:

  1. Think about what set off the course of events that led to your breaking up as friends
  2. Dig deep to see how you may have been at fault
  3. Make notes or record yourself talking about what happened before the breakup
  4. Look at it from both perspectives to see what the issue really was – was it because of your situation then or has the animosity been sitting like a monkey on your shoulder all this time?

Once you’ve discovered the reason behind breaking off a friendship and put things into perspective, it’s time to take the next step in your effort of fanning the embers into a brilliant flame once again.

#2 – Understand Why You Became Friends in the First Place

The reason I didn’t put this first is that you need to have some starting point in order to understand your friendship and what it’s based on. Understanding your reason for fighting or not speaking to each other gives you a lot of perspective into who you really are. Once you know that, it is easier to understand why you became friends in the first place. It’s all in the context. If you have a context for your separation, it’s easier to find a reason to get back to the way things were – or better.

making a friend for the first time
Concentrated boy with girl preparing for lesson

This is an essential step in order for you to move on to the process of rebuilding that bridge, and it is important because it will provide a strong foundation to build an even stronger friendship than what was there before.

Go back to the days when you first met – when you were neighbors as kids or classmates in school or college roommates. Go back as far as you need to. You need to reach deep into your memory because a lot of these things will have been pushed away into the background. One thing is for certain – you’re guaranteed to dig up some truly fond memories that you didn’t even realize were hiding in your brain.

The purpose of this exercise is not just to create a stronger foundation for the future, although that is the primary objective; the idea behind it is to give you some additional perspective into yourself – why you were drawn to that person and not others, what it is you found attractive or engaging about them, and what state of mind you were in when you made that decision to be their friend.

Summary of Actions:

  1. Go back to the basics of why you became friends in the first place – find solid reasons why
  2. Remember that you are now building an even stronger foundation
  3. Dig deep into your memory for positive experiences and events around your friendship
  4. Analyze your own state of mind and perspective as you analyze the events and experiences surrounding the time you first became friends

This is important because it tells you a lot about the way you used to be versus who you are today. We all change, but have we changed for the better, or have we become sourer as we grew older? This insight can be valuable because it helps you take the next crucial step.

#3 – Why Do You Want to Be Friends Again?

You’re reading this because you’ve chosen to make amends and do what it takes to regain a lost friendship. But why?

The reason the first two steps come in that order is that they set the tone for what’s about to come next – approaching your friend again for the first time. In order to do that, you need to first know why it is you broke up and why you valued their friendship in the past.

Understanding these two aspects of your friendship – the good and the bad – puts you in a better position to answer the question, “Why do I want to revive this relationship?”

If you did the first two steps to the best of your ability and in an honest and open manner, you should have no trouble finding a thread that will eventually form the new bridge you are ready to build.

Using the bridge analogy, it’s easy to see how the sequence falls into place. When you arrive at a bridge that has been destroyed, the first thing you do is assess the extent of the damage. You do this so you can spot all the weak points that you can avoid in the future. To complement this, you then start looking for places where the structural integrity has not been compromised; in other words, the parts of the original bridge that are still undamaged.

Only then can you hope to draw a plan to build a new bridge where the old one was. And if it’s done right, the new bridge will be far more advanced because you already know the strong and weak points before you even start.

As with the analogy, you begin by assessing what went wrong and why rather than focus on who broke the bridge. Avoid the temptation to point fingers because that’s useless information to you at this point, and it’s a time-waster. It doesn’t really matter who the guilty party was. You have to move on. And, as with the analogy again, you start looking for the foundational integrity that the friendship was built on.

Once you’ve done that, it’s easy to answer why you want to be friends again. The answer might simply be that you get along so well, or that you understand each other better than others in your life, or it might be a complex relationship that is dependent on new factors that have entered your life. Maybe you’re in a better position to understand their earlier point of view that led to the break-up.

Summary of Actions:

  1. Look to the future – why do you want to reconnect?
  2. Hunt for strong foundational aspects that you can use to rebuild the friendship in a stronger way
  3. Never play the blame game – acknowledge the past but move past it quickly
  4. Know why you’re making the effort to regain his/her companionship

You have now established the groundwork for the actual construction to begin, so it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get your hands and knees dirty, figuratively speaking.

#4 – Preparing to Rebuild a Stronger Bridge, a.k.a. That First Call

This is the moment everyone dreads – calling or visiting an ex-friend not knowing what to expect. Do you have to face an insult? Are they going to embarrass you in front of their new friends? Will they hang up when they hear your voice?

afraid to make the call to fix a broken friendship

This nerve-wracking experience, unfortunately, is one that you’ll have to go through to get to the other side. But this is exactly why there are three steps preceding it.

This process is designed in a way that gives you the tools you need to have that difficult conversation. And don’t think it will be as easy as a single conversation. You might decide right away that both of you were foolish to stop talking and it might seem like everything is back to normal. However, it is not. The truth is, it will never be back to normal, not after what the both of you went through.

That’s why it’s crucial to know what went wrong and what was going right. You can only address the elephant in the room only if you know what the elephant looks like. Believe me, if you took the time to carefully follow Steps 1 through 3, Step 4 is going to go a lot easier. Not easy, just easier.

One practical piece of advice is to expect the worst and hope for the best. That sounds like a platitude because it is. But sayings only become platitudes because there’s a grain of truth in them, which is why they’re repeated so often.

The trick here is to read between the lines.

“Expect the worst” means be ready to face the most embarrassing or insulting situation you’ve ever been in. Depending on the level of hatred harbored against you by your former friend, it goes from not-to-bad all the way up to I-could-die-right-now. Shame, guilt, fear, doubt – these are your real enemies when you don’t know what you’re up against.

On the other hand, the “hope for the best” part is strengthened in your knowledge that the friendship was originally based on a strong foundation. After all, you wouldn’t be exposing yourself to this if you didn’t think the love lost was once a love that was mutual, right?

Don’t forget, you are now armed not only with reasons for why things went sour but also a salvo of things that brought you together in the first place. No former friend can withstand the double-attack on their emotions, no matter how “tough” they seem to the outside world. Nobody is so hardened by a negative experience that they lose their humanity. They may cover it up well but it’s never gone. The tools in your hands will help dig them out of their temporary resting places deep within.

From a practical perspective, it’s a good idea to rehearse the conversation you think you’re going to have with your once-friend. Don’t worry about writing a script or anything. Remember, you’ve already got the crucial information needed to resolve any fallout. Besides, conversations rarely turn out the way we want them to. Nevertheless, practicing in front of a mirror helps fortify your nerves so you don’t lose your voice when the time comes.

Another useful tip is to maybe carry crib notes or bullet points of the things you intend to say. There’s no shame in rehearsing your lines and having backup notes. If anything, it will show your former friend how seriously you take this thing and how much of an effort you’ve put into making things right.

Summary of Actions:

  1. Gather the courage you need to make that first call
  2. Remember – you’re ready with all the tools you need to get the job done
  3. Hope for the best but expect the worst
  4. Use notes to help you through the call

And now, armed with all the tools and information you need to build a newer, stronger bridge, you begin the rebuilding process.

#5 – Approaching a Friend-turned-Stranger

cartoon depicting the apprehensiveness before meeting a former friend to try and fix a broken friendship

The best way to do this is to call ahead and simply tell them you’d like to meet. If they ask why just say you have something important you’d like to share with them. Keep this initial conversation short and don’t be forced into a corner where you’re being interrogated.

Say something like “Hey, I’m just heading out to work but can we meet this evening at 5 pm? There’s something I need to tell you.” If they resist, say please and reiterate that it’s really important. Don’t go into the details because this is not something you want to be doing over the phone. In the worst-case scenario, where they don’t want to meet or don’t want you to call back later, be prepared to go into videoconferencing mode. Just say, “Okay, I’ll FaceTime you in a few minutes. All I need is 10 minutes of your time, for old times’ sake if nothing else. Okay?” And hang up.

Whether you’ve been pushed to reveal your hand right away or they’ve agreed to meet, the rest of the conversation should proceed in a three-part sequence, as follows…

First, begin by telling them that you’re sorry that the two of you had a falling out. Briefly touch on the reason but point out that it’s all in the past. Don’t skim over it but don’t dwell on it for too long.

You can tell them how bad you feel about what you did or that what they did seemed like a big deal then, but talk about it like it’s water under the bridge. The idea is not to reopen old wounds but to begin the restoration process by acknowledging the wounds and then moving on.

If they want to explore the incident further, let them. If they want to air their frustration at what they perceived you did to cause the fallout, let them. Let them vent; you owe them this much. Remember, you’ve had some time to think about reconciliation but they weren’t part of that conversation. This is probably a huge surprise – and not necessarily a pleasant one – that’s been sprung on them out of the blue.

That’s why you need to make that initial call to set up a meeting, so they have time to mull things over as well. However, this is a double-edged sword.

On the one hand, giving them time to think about things might rake up negative emotions and make your second conversation – the real one – that much harder. On the other, it’s unfair to be the only one prepared for the talk. They need to have fair warning as well. You can’t move forward if you suddenly jump them in an alley and starting ranting about how things were bad but you were so good together and that you should be friends again.

But now that they’ve had at least a little time to consider things, it’s likely that they’ll be open to having this conversation.

That’s the first part.

The second part is to reminisce about the old days – how you first became friends, what drew you to each other, etc. Remember – you have a script in hand so you’re at an advantage. Use it to put your soon-to-be-friend-again in a positive frame of mind about you, as well as the friendship you once shared. It’s not a technique or device to manipulate them; it is merely guiding them through an emotional sequence that subsequently leads to a mutually favorable ending.

And that brings us to the third and final part of the conversation which, hopefully, will be the beginning of a renewed and fortified friendship.

The third part involves gaining agreement. You’ve dealt with the negative, you’ve put them into a positive frame of mind, and now it’s time to get them to open the door and let you into their life again.

This part has two sub-parts: the first is to get a definitive “yes” for the question, “Can we be friends again?” It can be phrased differently but the response has to be affirmative, not a “let me think about it” or “we’ll see.” On the other hand, their reticence might mean they’re still on the defense but they’re willing to take the chance again. If you get that, take it. Don’t push for a “yes” right away. That can happen in the next conversation, which is basically the second sub-part of that – set up a plan to meet again within a few days. A week at the most.

This second sub-part is scheduling your next meet-up. Don’t pull out your calendar, though. Just set the date, time, and place, and leave with an “I really look forward to seeing you again.”

Summary of Actions:

  1. Keep the first conversation short – just set the appointment
  2. Be ready to have the second conversation immediately
  3. Keep your notes handy
  4. Follow the three-part sequence: Recollect, reminisce, and gain agreement (along with a next meeting time)

If everything has gone according to plan, you can be confident that this will turn into something even more beautiful and lasting than what you shared before.

What Next?

Often, during that scheduled meeting, the recriminations of the past won’t even come up. You’ll most likely talk about the good times you had, further helping the healing process. But also be ready to deal with any negativity that they still harbor toward you. You’ve had a lot of time to analyze the negative aspects of the fallout but they might need more time. Be patient, and keep reassuring them that it’s in the past and things are different now. Every time they go back to a negative past thought, redirect them to a positive past experience.

Sometimes, you’ll find that you need several more meetings just to get them to start accepting your friendship again. They might be suspicious or wary of your suggestions because they think you have an ulterior motive for wanting them back. Again, be patient with them and soothe them with calming words every time you think they’re drifting away. Your goal is to ultimately gain their trust and strengthen the bonds of friendship so nothing like what happened before can ever come between you again. That takes time.

The key here is to gradually build up the trust level to where it was before and then go beyond that. This means you can’t be your normal self because things with them aren’t normal yet. You’ll need to be a gentle guide that takes them down that path; more importantly, they should come of their own free will, not because you’re manipulating them into being friends with you again.

A Few Final Thoughts

Talking about rebuilding a relationship is easy. Giving advice is easy. Even giving you detailed steps to go about it is easy. The hard part is all yours, unfortunately. Use the guidance given here to set the direction, not to do the work for you. Don’t rely too much on anything that you read here. It’s not set in stone and it is only meant as a rough compass of sorts, not a treasure map where I mark the X for you to find. For instance, if you’ve been friends from early toddlerhood, there’s really no point in trying to figure out how you became friends. Maybe you were just put into the same sandbox at the same time and decided to be friends from then on.

broken friendship - how did you meet - were you put into the same sandbox when you were toddlers

Instead, focus on why you need to rebuild the relationship – what do the both of you have to gain from it.

Another consideration is what you expect to gain from this exercise. Do you merely want to make up with someone who is important to you? Is there an ulterior motive for approaching them now as opposed to patching up a long time ago? If it’s the latter, then please rethink the whole thing because it will be an extremely selfish and opportunistic move. That’s not what friendship is about. Sure, friends do things for each other but they have no expectations. There are no benchmarks or disqualification criteria in a true friendship.

You also need to think about trying to avoid the type of situation that forced you to split up in the first place. They say that history repeats itself, so be aware of that. Any time you sense that the friendship is going in an undesirable direction, bring it back on track. For example, if your original fight was about a guy, it could be that your competitiveness was what caused the problem, not the guy. Therefore, be wary of other situations where competitiveness could creep in and destroy what you’re trying to rebuild.

On the positive side, you should also make an active effort to increase the number of positive experiences in this renewed friendship. Never forget that a broken relationship, no matter how well-mended, still bears the cracks and scars of the original breakage. It is time for you to be an active friend rather than a passive one. You need to be the person that’s always there for them, giving them confidence every day that you’ll stand up for them and be at their side no matter what. This is crucial because once the trust has been broken, it is extremely hard to build it up to the same level again.

One final piece of guidance: never, ever take this or any other friendship for granted. Friends are hard to come by, and friendships can be quite fragile. That’s especially true if you haven’t built them on a solid bedrock of understanding, forgiveness, love, and tolerance. You have a second chance here but that doesn’t mean you’ll always get that chance with others. And if it’s your best friend with whom you’re trying to rebuild trust, it’s even more crucial that you keep this at the forefront of your mind at all times. Besides, do you really want to go through this process again with someone else, or would you rather be careful the first time around and treat all your friends with the respect and love they deserve?

I hope that reading this article has given you some insight into the human mind and how the complex phenomenon of friendship works. Read it again if you need to but make sure you internalize it and act on it. That’s the most important part of learning how to mend a broken friendship.


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How Emotionally Healthy is Your Relationship? Care to Test It? Dare to Test It?

Every good relationship is built on a foundation of trust, intimacy, honesty, and loyalty. But the reason these are the foundations is so that both partners can enjoy emotional health and well-being in the relationship. From that viewpoint, is your relationship emotionally healthy or are there areas that you need to work on? This simple series of tests will tell you exactly what you want to know about the emotional health of any relationship.

The basic test of any relationship from an emotional perspective is how you feel about each other; in other words, your ’emotional temperature’ when the other person is around. Are you emotionally relaxed? Are you charged up in a positive way? Are you tense all the time around them? Are they tiptoeing around you, emotionally? These are all temperature checks that indicate if there’s anything wrong with a relationship. While there’s obviously nothing called a perfect relationship, a lot of good ones come pretty close. You see that not only with couples but also with individuals who have been close friends for several years. There’s a level of comfort that both achieve when they’re together.

We’ve all felt that with someone in our lives, and that’s the essence of what we’re trying to capture in every other relationship in life. It’s the Great Search for that perfect person – Ms. or Mr. Right.

The only way to ascertain the level of emotional health that your relationship has currently attained is to ask yourself some hard questions about how these tests apply to you and your significant other. Be sure not to skip the questions that will ultimately lead you to an answer to this question: Is my relationship emotionally healthy, how healthy is it?

To the best of your ability, these questions should be answered honestly. That’s the only way to get a real picture of how emotionally healthy or unhealthy your relationship actually is. That being said, please do not consider this to be the only benchmark for the emotional health quotient of a relationship. But we’ll touch on that later on.

With that, let’s get into the testing part, which is the fun part of this conversation – how do you test the emotional health of your relationship with someone else?

Test #1: The Test of Negativity

The first and most basic test is to see how much negativity is there between the two of you in a typical conversation. Negativity can be expressed in many ways, both overt and covert. For example, sarcasm is a more pronounced way of expressing negative emotions, but subtle jabs at the person’s competence or capabilities are just as harmful, like grunting at her cooking or rolling your eyes when he says he’ll fix the dripping tap in the kitchen. Even a small facial gesture or sound emanating from your lips can have a devastating effect on a person’s confidence in the long term.

Another point to note here is that negativity is often suppressed, which is classically embodied in the elderly husband automatically voicing a “Yes, dear” followed by mumbling under his breath once he’s out of earshot. That’s not healthy, either.

The absence of any significant amounts of negativity, therefore, is the first test of emotional health in a relationship. Of course, no relationship is devoid of negativity because we’re all human, and humans tend to get negative when things don’t go their way. However, the moment it starts affecting the quality of the relationship, it becomes a problem.

Questions to Assess Negativity

  • Does either of you stay mad for a long time after an argument?
  • Do you or your partner harbor any resentment against each other because of financial status, education, physical looks, family background, etc.?
  • Do you often take vicious digs at each other in front of company? Does one person do this frequently?
  • Is there a lot of sarcasm going back and forth?
  • Do you feel you’re spending more time alone than with each other and you don’t really care?

Test #2: The Test of Positivity

Being in good humor together, using terms of endearment, talking affectionately at all times (except when arguing, of course), and mirroring movements are all signs of solid emotional health in a relationship. Positive emotions always trump negative ones, which is why this is an even more crucial test of the emotional health of a relationship. As a matter of fact, if there’s enough positivity in the relationship, it can dilute the negativity to a great extent.

In other words, if there’s a lot of negativity in a relationship, it can be countered with positivity. That’s the reason psychologists recommend a change of scenery, organizing date nights, doing fun activities together. If you can bring laughter and love back into a relationship, it will prevail over the most negative of emotions. It’s not a cure-all, mind you, but it’s some very powerful medicine.

The presence of positivity, therefore, is the second and more powerful way to test if your relationship is emotionally healthy.

Questions to Assess Positivity

  • Are you spending a lot of time with each other, talking or just sitting in silence? Sitting in front of a screen watching 4 hours of a Netflix series doesn’t count!
  • Is there honesty in the relationship? Is there a willingness to share your day with your partner?
  • Do you laugh together a lot or do you make each other laugh often? Do your moods seem to reflect one another’s?
  • Are you physically intimate outside the bedroom – holding hands, kissing, etc.?

Test #3: The Test of ‘Share of Mind’

Share of mind is simply the amount of time that something occupies your thoughts as a percentage of your total awareness time. In other words, how much you think of something when you’re conscious and actively thinking. Couples with very strong relationships are constantly thinking about each other whether it’s at the conscious or subconscious level. It is the state of mind that prompts the “Oh, he’ll love that watch” or the “My God, that purse would be perfect for her” moments.

Interestingly, the share of mind for each other is at its highest level when two people fall in love for the first time. You don’t need science to tell you that two lovers who just got together are constantly thinking about each other. In fact, there’s little else you can think of when you’re in love. Over time, however, that share of mind gets increasingly less, meaning you start thinking about each other less often when you’re apart. It’s a survival mechanism or we’d all die of starvation or thirst days after we fall in love! Other things need their share of mind as well. Somewhere beyond this point, love becomes an act as opposed to an emotion.

Remember this because it’s very crucial.

When your reciprocal share of mind drops below a certain level, love becomes an active effort rather than a passive emotion. It has to because that’s the only way to maintain your share of mind for each other. If that first phase was called ‘falling in love’, this one’s called ‘staying in love.’

It’s usually seen in the form of doing things for each other, talking on the phone more often in the case of long-distance relationships, getting each other gifts, etc. In other words, it is expressed in the form of being an active participant in love rather than simply partaking of it. You partook long enough; now it’s time to replenish the emotional vessel! Most couples make the mistake of participating and partaking too much in the early days of the relationship and eventually stop doing the participating. The reason it’s a mistake is that participating is the only way to keep the love alive and thriving.

Share of mind is such a powerful concept that it can keep couples bonded strongly together even if they’ve been separated by thousands of miles for several years. That’s how long-distance couples survive the ordeal – by voluntarily giving each other a generous share of their minds. All those saying about love overcoming anything, love knowing no boundaries, love is this, and love is that – they’re all based on this simple but earth-shattering concept called share of mind.

So, this is the third and even more crucial test of a relationship and the state of its emotional health.

Questions to Assess Share of Mind

  • How many times a day do you catch yourself thinking of each other?
  • Do you often come across things you think the other person might love to see, hear, or have?
  • When either of you makes a decision, do you consider the other person’s perspective?
  • Can you put yourself into your significant other’s shoes and feel how they feel about something?
  • Are you actively participating in nurturing the relationship or are you merely continuing to partake in the hope that the other person will do all the participating?
  • Do you go out of your way to do things for each other?

Test #4: The Test of Championship

Confused? No, we’re not talking about winning against someone or dominating them. We’re talking about how you stand up for each other as individuals whether the other person is around to speak for themselves or not. We’ve all heard of someone championing a cause, right? Well, are you championing your significant other to the world at large?

Here’s how the word, in this context, is defined by the dictionaries in its many forms:

Championship: the support someone gives to a person, belief, right, or principle

To Champion: to act as a militant supporter of

Championing: protecting or fighting for as a champion

Some call it loyalty but that’s only a small part of it; nevertheless, it’s a good starting point to understanding this concept and how it can be used to test the emotional health of any relationship.

The loyalty aspect of championing another person means sticking up for them and standing up to anyone who criticizes them unjustly. I say unjustly because blind loyalty leads you to defend things that are sometimes indefensible. For instance, if a friend says that your girlfriend has a nasty temper and you know that to be true, you can’t just gloss over it with an “Oh, she’s just a passionate person.” No, she’s plain nasty when she’s pissed! That’s not loyalty in the sense we’re using it.

The loyalty we’re talking about is about making a promise to stand by that person no matter what. In the example we just saw, true loyalty would be expressed by agreeing with your friend that, yes, your girlfriend does have a nasty temper but she’s working on it (if that’s true), but not loving her any less because of it.

This is called championing her. You’re not blindly defending her faults but you are standing by her no matter what. It does not decrease her worth in your eyes, nor does it force you to respond in a manner you’ll later regret. It is one of the noblest forms of loyalty that any person can ask for, and if you can give that to each other, your relationship will be rock-solid.

But championing a person is more than merely showing loyalty. A dog can show loyalty; a dog cannot champion a person. To champion someone also means to actively edify them at every opportunity that presents itself. It sounds like an obscure concept but it’s really very simple. It is the art of lifting them up in the eyes of everyone else. It can be done in the form of verbally complimenting them in front of other people, it can be through saying good things about them in their absence, and it can be in a myriad of other forms.

The underlying sentiment is one of intense admiration that others can clearly see in the way you look at him, treat him, talk to him, and talk about him.

These, therefore, are the three pillars of championship: loyalty, respect, and edification. The three of them are related but distinct from each other. You can edify someone without any sense of respect or loyalty – it’s called being a sycophant or a yes-man. You can respect someone but not edify them or be loyal to them for fear of criticism – such a person might be called a silent admirer. And you can certainly be loyal to someone without respecting them or seeking to edify them in any way. As I said, a dog can do that.

No. Championship is a blend of the three so heady that it can rival any blended scotch whisky in the world! And it is, by far, the ultimate test of the emotional well-being of a relationship.

Questions to Assess Championship

  • Are you supportive of each other at the emotional level?
  • Is there empathy in the relationship? Do you feel each other’s pain and pleasure?
  • Are you standing up for each other against attacks from outside?
  • Do you edify and uplift each other every chance you get?
  • Do you support each other’s passions even if they’re not aligned with yours?

Assessing the Emotional Health of Your Own Relationship

Now for the part you actually came for – How emotionally healthy is your relationship? Have you gotten to the point where there’s very little negativity? Have you crossed over and added so much positivity that the negative doesn’t matter anymore? Have you graduated to a level where you are deeply embedded in each other’s conscious and subconscious minds? Are you qualified to say that you are champions for each other?

The Results of these Tests are Only Part of the Equation

Attaining any of these levels shows a good deal of emotional health, but the more tests you can pass, the better. At the very highest level, there’s no more testing required because it’s clear to you and everyone around you that the two of you were just ‘meant to be.’

As simple as we’ve made it sound, the health of a relationship is far more complex than that. We’ve managed to narrow it down to four simple tests, but nothing means anything if you don’t love each other. Everything else is just a ‘symptom’ or ‘byproduct’ of that love. Love is at the center of all things and is the guiding force in your relationship. It is love that fights negativity; it is love from which positivity arises; it is love that leads to a healthy share of mind, and it is love that you champion when you champion that which you love. Wow, don’t you love that?

In closing, we’ll leave you with this insightful little poem that captures some of what we’ve discussed:

Sweetheart, have you ever thought about how beautiful our relationship is?

I wonder if it is possible for couples to be like us
So open to each other
Having nothing to hide
Honest
No fear but only respect for each other
Accepting unconditionally
Loving without a break
Anger that vanishes in a kiss, sometimes in just a touch
Expressing love even when there is no understanding
Trust to the core
Enjoying the togetherness
Encouraging the uniqueness
Desiring to live long together
So playful
So naughty
So cute
So loving
So caring
So romantic
Never I
Always US.

Maybe it’s because of the path our relationship had taken
Genuine affection drew us to each other
We respected each other
Friendship took over and made our bond stronger
We loved each other’s company,
Had no expectations from each other
Our respect and friendship paved way to trust
Trust made us share our secrets, our real selves
By sharing, we exchanged our hearts, our lives
And our love
And God blessed and approved our love
Because He had made us for each other.

Our love is a mixture of all relationships… which makes us so unique.

Darling, we are so beautiful!

— Monica Jeevan on FamilyFriendPoems


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How to Break Up a Long-distance Relationship the Painless Way

Assuming you’ve tried absolutely everything to make your long-distance relationship work and nothing has yielded results so far, it’s time to ask yourself some hard questions:

  • Can we power through our troubles until we meet again?
  • Can we get advice from a professional relationship expert?
  • Is there any way we can resolve our differences without resorting to a break-up?

The first three questions apply if you still love each other but face other challenges such as a lack of trust or simply the frustration of being physically apart. If that’s the case, there’s still hope for the two of you to make the long-distance arrangement work. All you need to do is dig deeper until you find the right answer. It’s possible that you just need to convince yourselves to bite the bullet and wait a little longer. You can also consider getting outside help from a relationship expert, attending sessions via videoconferencing. The last resort would be to break down your challenges into bite-sized pieces so you can work on them one at a time.

If you’ve tried everything and still hit a brick wall, maybe it’s time to ask the next set of questions:

  • Do I still want to be in this long-distance relationship?
  • Am I still in love with my long-distance girlfriend or boyfriend?
  • Are we just kidding ourselves?

As hard as it is, there comes a point in some relationships where it’s better to figure out how to break up rather than to learn how to live with it, to your detriment and hers/his. That helps no one and hurts everyone. These three questions will help you identify that tipping point and zero in on the real question: Is it over?

If you are now at that point – and there’s no shame in backpedaling to save the relationship, either – and you’ve decided to break it off with the other person, you’re faced with the challenge of how to break up. Do you FaceTime him? Do you send her a text? Do you do it on your next phone call? What about other arrangements, like letting your friends know or letting close family members in on it? Depending on how long you’ve been in this relationship, these questions will either be moot points or crucially important. If it’s anything more than just a casual long-distance relationship versus a we-were-once-madly-in-love relationship, then it’s your duty to think about all the other people in your life that may be affected by your decision.

So, let’s break down the break-up process to help you do it in a way that’s painless to both of you – or at least as painless as possible. There will be pain and there will be tears, but there need not be any recrimination or resentment when the decision is finally made and the inevitable has happened.

#1: Is This The End?

Before you do anything, you need to make absolutely sure that this is what you want. Most times, there’s no going back, and if there’s a point of no return in any break-up, it is right here. Think long and hard about whether you want to end this long-distance relationship or if the two of you just need a mental and emotional break from each other. Sometimes, the stress of maintaining a long-distance relationship can be so hard that you feel like you just want to break it off, but what you really want is some ‘alone time’ so you can both gather your emotions and think about things objectively. You might find that you actually can’t live full lives without the other person being a part of it.

Do you have a definitive “yes” for this question? If you do, read on.

#2: Broaching the Subject

At the outset, let me just say that the ONLY way you should break up with someone who has loved and trusted you for any length of time is face to face, either physically if you’re visiting with each other or digitally if you’re physically apart.

How to bring up the subject of breaking up is often the hardest part – even harder than making the decision to break up. Most of us don’t like confrontation, so we’re extremely uncomfortable dealing with a situation like this. If that’s you, then you need to have a plan and a script to guide you through the conversation. I say ‘conversation’ because, no, you will not be breaking up via text or, God forbid, social media! That’s the coward’s way out and it can lead to prolonged angst for both of you, not to mention souring your relationship forever and even spilling over to new relationships you might want to make with other people. It’s a small world, and never forget that.

So, have a plan and write a script containing what you’re going to say.

The plan involves charting a course for your conversation. The words come later. The course is the direction you want to steer the conversation in. You could start by choosing the right moment to bring up the topic, then consider where you’ll begin, how you’ll take the conversation forward, and how you’ll deliver your message.

Look at it from as objective a viewpoint as possible. You’re breaking it off with a person who you have probably loved in the past or at least been very fond of. You want to break off the formal relationship but still want to be friends – or, at the very least, not be enemies. You don’t want to antagonize them by making it out to be their fault alone, but you also don’t want to use the “It’s not you, it’s me” line because that’s so insincere and transparent, not to mention lame.

Your plan should be a sort of roadmap of where the conversation will go – what points you’ll bring up, what points you’ll avoid (this is crucial), what agreements you need to gain along the way, and so on. Most importantly, it should consider the end result of this effort. Hopefully, the result you want in an amicable split-up where you’re not avoiding each other at every turn.

Once you have that plan in mind, the next step is to craft the conversation, which is why you need to have it scripted. If that sounds too corny or artificial, think about this: you have made your decision and it’s final. The result you want is an amicable break-up, not a messy one. Therefore, you need to think like a negotiator, not a boyfriend or girlfriend. And what does a negotiator do? They negotiate some very rough terrain so both parties can come out safely on the other side, correct? That’s exactly your job here, too.

Your script should not be like a written dialog that you simply regurgitate when you talk to your long-distance partner. It should be more of a bullet list of important points that you don’t want to miss. For example, you can start with “We need to talk about us” or “We need to have a serious talk”, then into something like “I’ve been thinking about our relationship and where it’s going…”, then, perhaps, segue into the “I think we should stop seeing each other” part.

Following a sequence or train of thought along with important phrases and sentences gives you more confidence to deliver your message. The sequence generally follows a three-part structure: an opening for you to broach the subject, an explanation of your thought process leading to the decision, and the decision itself.

Keep a few things in mind as you deliver your message:

  • If you’ve really taken this decision, then stick to it. This should not turn out to be a negotiation. It’s a simple delivery of a clearly thought-out message.
  • Don’t prolong it. We’ll talk about that in the next section.
  • Be very clear and don’t use ambiguous words like “maybe”, “possibly”, “we could”; rather, use definitive and decisive words like “have to”, “should”, “must”, etc.
  • Don’t be robotic in your delivery. It shouldn’t sound like a rehearsed speech or like someone coached you.

If you’re still apprehensive about going through with it, you should know a little more about knowing when the job is done. That’s what we’ll discuss next.

#3: Making the Sale

Have you ever been in a situation with a salesperson where, at some point, you’ve already made the decision to buy, but the guy goes on and on about the benefits of the product? He’s got no clue that you’ve already decided, which is why knowing when the sale has been made is as important as making the sale.

I don’t want to sound too crass by comparing a break-up to a sales pitch but that’s exactly what it is. You’re selling the fact that the relationship is over. And that’s why it is vital that you know when the sale has been made. Going back to our salesperson example, they should know when to ask for the sale. And it shouldn’t be a “so, how about it?” or “what do you think?”; it should be a firm “will you be paying with cash or a card?”

Translating that into the ‘sale’ for your break up, once you’ve delivered the message, the ‘closing the sale’ part of your message should be as unambiguous as “cash or card”. You’re assuming they’ve understood and you’re merely looking for confirmation of that. “I think you’ll agree that it’s best for both of us” works well but you can say it your own way. Just make sure that there’s no doubt about the finality of the matter.

#4: Ending on a Good Note

More often than not, you’ll want to part ways amicably. It’s actually how most people want it but they have no idea how to achieve that. And because they don’t know, they end up making such a mess of the relationship that they can’t face the other person for a long time after. Remember Joey from Friends? Well, that shouldn’t be you!

Ending a relationship on amicable terms is quite hard, to be honest, which is why so many relationships get broken beyond repair instead of just broken up. The key here is in how you deliver the message in the first place. Easing into it with a plan and a script is the best way to ensure that you’re managing the emotional dialog as much as the verbal one. So, if you need two or three conversations to deliver the message, so be it. Rushing into it in a single 10-minute conversation might not be a good idea, especially if your partner is the sensitive type. If it takes longer, let it, as long as your message is clearly understood and accepted.

This is the only way to ensure that you part ways on good terms. You don’t have to stay friends if you don’t want to, but that doesn’t mean you have to hate or resent each other, either. That’s why delivering the break-up message in the right way is such a critical component of this whole process.

#5: Telling Others

This part can be equally hard but in a different way. There may be recrimination from those who thought you were ‘the perfect couple’ and ‘can’t stand to see you suffer like this’; some might even tell you that it’s absolute nonsense and that you should get back together again. If you’ve already decided to go through with the breakup, then you need to stand your ground as firmly when it comes to letting close friends and family know. There are obviously a few ways to do this:

  • Social Media: Really? Well, why not? It’s a trend – at least, it should be. People tell the world about a new relationship, a baby, a house move, a new job, etc. through social media platforms. Why not a breakup? You can make it a little lighter by using humor.

breakup humor

  • In-Person: The traditional way is to call the people both of you care about and just rip off the bandaid. Hear them out when they object and call you stupid. But don’t give in, and don’t tell them you’ll try to make it work. That just sets the wrong expectation. Tell them you’ve thought about it, discussed it with your partner, and feel it’s the best way forward.
  • As and When Required: If you’re not keen on making a big deal out of it, you can just deal with each person as and when you speak to them. It’s more of an “Oh, by the way…” but if that’s what you’re comfortable with, that’s fine, too.

Some Thoughts to Leave You With

Breaking up is hard. To stop having a relationship with someone is much harder than building a rich one, but so many people around the world are suffering the consequences of a bad relationship that we felt that an article on breaking up was needed. Most of the ones we’ve read so far have given boilerplate advice and off-the-shelf solutions that don’t really work for anyone. Nobody tells you that you need a plan and a script, an opening, a body, and an end, or even that you can end nearly any relationship on a positive note.

The truth is, breaking up is a negotiation carried out with a very specific end in mind. That might sound very clinical on the surface but there’s a reason why using the methods we’ve described in this article really work. That reason is that this approach treats the other person like a reasonable human being, which is what we all like to think we are. It allows you to deliver your message in a non-threatening and non-confrontational manner. The biggest reason people continue to be in bad relationships is that they don’t have a roadmap to lead them safely out of it. That’s what we hope this article will help you achieve.

Of course, if the relationship is an abusive one, there are other ways to deal with it. We haven’t covered that in this piece. This article is intended for people who are simply tired of the long-distance relationship they’re in and have decided to move on. It’s your life, so there’s nothing wrong with making the right decision for yourself. It’s important that you’re sensitive to the needs of the other person, but without ever compromising your own. That’s the hard part. And if this article helps even one person break off their long-distance relationship because they weren’t happy with it, our job is done.

If you want to read about how to enrich a relationship and make it more meaningful, please read this article. To fix a broken relationship, read this one.

Check out our Friendship Lamps – The Best Way to Strengthen Any Long-Distance Relationship!

Learn More about Friendship Lamps here.

Top 10 Worst Ways to Break Up a Relationship

Relationships are hard enough to get into, but they’re more of a nightmare to get out of unless the move is a mutual one done with the best interest of both parties in mind. So how do you get out of a bad relationship or break up with a boyfriend or girlfriend?

Well, you’ll get tons of advice about how to do it right, but we feel that you’ll get a much better perspective on things if you know how NOT to break up a romantic relationship.

Why?

Because knowing what not to do leaves you with the answer to what you can do, morally and humanely speaking. With that, we introduce to you the Top 10 Worst Ways to Break Up a Relationship or End It with a Friend.

#10: Act Like a Jerk

“It’s brilliant,” you think. I’ll just act like a total jerk and she’ll dump me for someone else. Wrong! Acting like a jerk is just hurtful and insensitive. It doesn’t do her any good to show her your rotten side because – think about it – how would you react if a good friend suddenly started acting all uppity and dismissive one fine day, saying mean things and being rude and abrupt? Obviously, you’d be hurt, right? And you might even go one step further and try to dig into what’s going on. The last thing that will strike you is that they want to end the relationship.

So don’t think you’re playing the martyr by letting her think she wants to break up with you. It’s not brilliant, it’s just dumb.

#9: Ghost Him

Another brilliant idea that’s actually quite moronic and cowardly, not to mention spineless, insensitive, cowardly, craven, lily-livered, cowardly, chicken-hearted, and downright mean. Oh, and did we mention cowardly? Ghosting your boyfriend or bestie is not the way to go. You might think that doing this is an effective way to send the message that you’re not interested anymore. After all, isn’t that how it’s done nowadays? Nope, sorry, you’re on the wrong street going the wrong way.

Ghosting shows fear, immaturity, and possible signs of mental disorders on your part. Well, that last bit might be a stretch but it’s still a sick thing to do – and we’re not talking about the slang usage of that word, just the proper dictionary one – someone in ill physical or mental health.

#8: Fade Away, Slowly

This is even worse than ghosting because it’s confusing to them, at best. At worst, it’s a slow and painful process – for them as much as yourself.

To give you an analogy, a man once wanted to cut his Doberman Pinscher’s tail to make the dog more aggressive. But he thought it too brutal to do it in one go, so he decided to cut off just a little every day.

Fading away is like that. In many ways, it’s even more brutal than ghosting because the pain is prolonged. You think you’re being kind to them but you’re not. You’re causing new injuries to that poor animal on a daily basis. What could be crueler than that? Well, we’ll tell you…

#7: Tell Her “It’s Me, Not You”

Oh, God! Not the “it’s not you, it’s me” spiel! Anyone can see right through this. It’s like people who say “it’s not about the money, it’s about the principle.” Do you EVER believe that? No? Well, neither will she.

Don’t try and play the martyr here by trying to show that you’re the one with the problem and you’re extricating yourself from the relationship as a favor to her. You’re not the martyr; you’re like a hangman trying to convince the person about to die that it’s your fault, not theirs. And if you don’t think that’s ridiculous, you’re going to have a tough time in any relationship.

#6: Criticize Him Continuously Until He Can’t Stand You

Another cruel way to break up with someone or end a friendship is to suddenly become critical of everything they say or do. Now, you’re thinking, “Hey, at least I’m finally being honest” but that’s not how it comes out. To him, it’s ‘daily de-validation’ from the person he loves or respects most after his parents, probably. It’s insensitive, mean, and amounts to psychological torture.

Imagine you’re a world-class athlete and your coach, one fine day, starts criticizing absolutely everything you do. Every step you take is wrong and every performance is inadequate. Your posture is wrong, you don’t know your technique, you’re the worst athlete he’s seen, there’s no way you’re going to make it in that field…

Wouldn’t your ego and self-confidence be pummelled to the ground after just a few days of such behavior? Then why would you do that to someone else?

In the worst-case scenario, he’ll probably leave you and you will have gotten what you wanted. But do you think he will ever respect you again? Years from now, will you be able to face him on the street and be happy about what you put him through?

#5: Break Up with Her in Public

Another cowardly move that guys tend to resort to is to break up in public. They know that she wouldn’t want to cause a scene so she’ll quietly cry into her handkerchief and it will be over in minutes and both of you can go home all the happier for it. Correct? You couldn’t be wronger if you tried. An act of bad faith is what this is.

Sure, you’re no longer happy in this relationship and you want to make a clean break of it. That’s understandable. Relationships don’t all work out for the best. At least you were man enough to do it to her face. But does that absolve you from being too chicken to do this in private and accept her reaction, whatever that might be?

Breaking up in public merely shows that you’re too scared of how she’ll react if you did this when both of you are alone. It’s not a good way to end a relationship.

#6: Tell Him on Valentine’s Day or His Birthday

You need to have a real mean streak in you to tell someone you’re ending the relationship on a day that’s probably very special to them. Why did you have to wait until that particular day? Did you really think it would be easier on him, or did you especially want him to feel that intense pain and hurt when everyone else is celebrating love and experiencing joy? Why not just stab him in the back instead. It’s got to be less painful for him. Why drag him through the emotional mud of being dumped on a day he thought was going to be very special?

#5: Tell Her It’s Temporary and You Just Need to “Clear Your Head”

This is an especially artful yet spinless way to break up. Telling her that you think it’s a good idea to “get some space” or “take a break” when you actually intend to break it off completely is one of the worst things you could do. The reason it’s worse than the other ways we’ve discussed so far is that it tortures the other person with the promise of something that will never be.

On the other hand, if you’re doing it to keep your options open after sowing your oats around for a bit, that’s even worse because it reveals the darkness in your character. Let’s admit it, we all have a dark side that we try hard to keep hidden from the world. But doing this will make your dark side surface in a blatantly apparent manner. And, if you’re willing to string someone along emotionally for your benefit, it’s going to backfire on you at some point. That much is guaranteed.

#4: Break Up by Text Message

Whoa there! You’re not thinking right. Plug your brain back in and think about this. This isn’t some job interview you attended where you later received a notification from HR that “we have found a more suitable candidate so we will not be pursuing your application for this role.”

This is one of the absolute worst ways to break up with someone. You’re simply taking the easy way out and not facing the consequence of what you’re setting in motion. Think about what this might do to your social life. Do you want your friends and family members to know that you ended a relationship with a text message? Do you seriously think she’ll say “oh, well, we tried” and swipe to the next text message and simply go on with her life?

If you had cancer, would you want your doctor to send a casual text saying, “Your results just came in… You’re going to die in 3 months. Talk later!”? Ridiculous, right? Then why would you resort to doing something just as callous?

#3: Break Up with Him in Front of His Friends or Family

Aside from breaking his heart and crushing his confidence, do you also want to embarrass him in front of people he loves and respects? Why on earth would you do that. Even if he’s been the mean one in the relationship and you’re trying to get back at him by punishing him in front of his friends or family, don’t forget that you’re the one they’re going to criticize. They’re obviously going to side with the ‘victim’ in this scenario, and that’s not you. You will lose respect in their eyes, don’t forget that.

If you’re fine with that, then go ahead, but understand that you’re the one who will take all the blame for it for years to come. In fact, you’re only going to be increasing the amount of goodwill for him as far as they’re concerned. It doesn’t serve you well and it could traumatize him for life. Then why do it at all?

#2: Date Her Friend

Are you kidding? Is that the way you want to communicate that the relationship is over? You’re not only destroying any chance of reconciliation after a breakup, but the break up itself is one of the cruelest ways anyone can think of. Not only are you blindsiding her with the news that the relationship has ended, but you’re rubbing salt in the wound by dating her friend.

Even worse, they’re probably never going to be friends again. Even if her friend is doing it out of spite, she’s going to try and justify the decision to your girlfriend by saying that you’re the one who made the first move. That makes it even worse for you because now you’re a louse as well as unworthy of trust. And the word will get around, you can be sure of that.

#1: Post it All Over His Social Media

worst ways to break up a relationship

Ouch! This one will hurt long after the dust has settled. Not only have you crushed his spirit but you’ve also successfully embarrassed him in front of his entire social circle – family, friends, and even acquaintances.

Granted, you deserve a medal for achieving a ‘high degree of bitchiness’ that even Regina George from Mean Girls would be proud of, but what else will you achieve other than being known for your complete lack of morals, decency, and social etiquette?

But if you want to go down in flames, this is probably the best way to do it. Make it as public as possible, and don’t stop with just one social media account – Facebook it, Tweet it, Insta it, and even email his entire address book while you’re at it!

If you’re going down anyway, why not go down big? You’ll never be respected in this town again, anyway, right?

A Footnote About Breaking Up

After reading this article, you’re probably wondering if breaking up is worth the effort at all. If you’re going to be portrayed as the bad guy or the biatch, why bother? Well, just because the article only covers the bad ways to break up, that doesn’t mean breaking up is a bad thing. Sometimes, a relationship just runs its course or it’s one-sided or unhealthy or whatever.

If you feel that you need to break it off, then do it. Just don’t do it in a way that will leave a mountain of hurt, animosity, and anger in your wake. Preserve your boundaries and your self-respect at all times, but also be considerate of the other person.

Most of all, remember that the best break up is one that leaves both of you ’emotionally intact’ and open to finding new relationships to enrich your lives. If you’re able to continue being friends after the break-up, all the better.

===Have you seen the Friendship Lamp Yet?===

50 Things to Make Your Girlfriend Happy and Keep Her Interested

Let’s admit it. Men are pigs, and men are also pretty dumb when it comes to love, dating, and relationships. We barely know how to take care of ourselves, let alone care for another person, or nurture a healthy relationship. Okay, that’s an overgeneralization, but you see the point, right? Women do all the figurative heavy lifting in a relationship, and men just sit back and enjoy the ride. Well, the buck stops here. If you’re a man reading this, you will promise me you’ll try at least a few of these 50 things that show you how to make your girlfriend happy and keep her on the edge of her seat, so to speak. If you’re a woman, you will promise to immediately share this brilliant article with your man and insist that he get cracking on item number one. All right. Now that we’ve set the expectations, let’s get started.

50 Ways to Make Your Girlfriend Happy – and Want to Stay with You

#1: Talk to Her – It doesn’t matter whether you’re the talkative kind or she is. Women need to hear as much as they speak, probably more. Just talk about your day if nothing else comes to mind, but do make an effort to really open up about how you feel and what you think. It doesn’t matter what the topic is as long as you’re proactively communicating. You’ll see a world of difference in your relationship when your girlfriend knows that you really talk to her, not talk at her.

#2: Listen to Her – That’s the other side of the coin. Men have become experts at ‘appearing to listen’ to the women in their lives while all the while the one thought occupying their mind is: ‘I wonder what we’re having for dinner?’ or ‘I gotta get that noisy muffler looked at.’ The next time she talks, look into her eyes and make an effort to really listen to her words. She doesn’t always want a ‘fix’ for the issue at hand or even an answer to most questions. Sometimes, she just wants you to listen. That can’t be too hard. Or can it? Just give it the old team effort, make your girlfriend happy, and see the relationship bloom to new levels.

#3: Respect Her – No, I’m not talking about opening the car door or picking up the cheque. That’s chauvinism, not respect, and it doesn’t sit well with most women today. No, I’m talking about giving her space, trusting her instincts, and treating her like an individual rather than something that adorns your arm at parties. Acknowledge her friends even if you don’t like some of them. At least, remember their names! Respecting your girlfriend on that level shows here that you consider her to be your equal rather than ‘the lesser half’ of you. It’s a mistake too many men make, so don’t.

#4: Be Interested in Her Life – Are some things important to her that you couldn’t care less about? Big mistake. You don’t have to love the things she loves; there’s no faking here. What you’re trying to do is to put aside your disinterest or even disdain for the things she values and try to look at it from her perspective. In other words, put yourself in her shoes and try to feel what she feels about a particular part of her life.

#5: Get her Gifts – Who doesn’t love getting gifts? Every opportunity you get, try and buy a little something for your girlfriend. Does it matter how much you spend? Not in the least. A pretty flower you found, a nice-looking pebble, a photo of something you came across that day… it can be practically anything at all. The point of it is that a gift represents a sharing of something, and that goes a long way in strengthening any relationship, including your relationship with your girlfriend.

#6: Call Her Mother – For crying out loud, why can’t you be nice to her mom? What did she ever do to you? Give her a call once in a while and you won’t even have to tell your girlfriend about it. She’ll know. Dropping in on her parents now and then is also a good idea if you know them well enough. Heck, you don’t even have to like them. Just be nice to them. You do that with your boss every day, right?

#7: Use Those Three Words. And Often. – I, love, and you – in that order – are probably the three most valuable words in any relationship. And when it’s a romantic one, it becomes even more important. Unless you grew up in a gushy, huggy, ‘I love you’ type of family, you know exactly how hard it can be to tell someone that you love them. But if this relationship is worth anything to you, you’ll give it the old college try.

#8: Write Love Notes – An easy way to get brownie points with your girlfriend is to leave her little sticky notes with emotional stuff on them in places you know she’ll see them – in her handbag or wallet, on the back of her phone when she’s not looking, on the fridge if you live together… you get the idea. Don’t try to be Shakespeare and don’t shake with fear at the prospect of doing this. A simple note once in a while saying “you mean a lot to me” or “you’re the reason I am what I am” will do. The words aren’t important; it’s the sentiment that counts. Just don’t say “need eggs”!

#9: Chocolates and Flowers – Why leave these until Valentin’s Day or her birthday when you can get in her good books through the year with these magical items? You don’t have to spend a bundle each time to get her an elaborate bouquet or DeLafée of Switzerland’s Gold Chocolate Box. Just her favorite candy and a small bunch of her favorite flowers will do wonders. And if you handpicked the flowers, that’s extra points!

#10: Give of Your Time – The most valuable things you can give a girl are your time and attention, although diamonds have been known to work pretty well, too. Spending time just sitting, holding hands, and chatting gives you the opportunity to bond with your girlfriend. So, the next time you’re together, suggest that both of you turn off your phones for 10 minutes and just be in each other’s presence. She’ll be impressed, I guarantee you, especially if you’re not that kind of person.

#11: Help Her Solve a Problem – When women air their grievances to their boyfriends, they’re not always looking for a solution, a fix, or an answer. Most of the time, they just need a sympathetic ear or a shoulder to cry on. But if you know that something’s been bugging her for a while, you can definitely try to fix it. There’s no law against that, as far as I know. For instance, if she’s having a hard time concentrating on her studies, you can try and set up an exclusive study space for her. It doesn’t cost you anything but a little effort, but the effect of that will be tremendous.

#12: Do Something for Her Parents – So, you called her mom and she was thrilled. What’s next? Try doing something for her parents without being prompted to. You can buy them tickets to a show you know they’ll love and dinner after, and offer to chauffeur them for the night. Or it can be something less elaborate, like fixing that porch light her dad has been meaning to get to for the past three months.

#13: Pamper Her – Treat her to a day at the spa, make that hair appointment she’s been wanting, give her the day off from cooking and cleaning if you live together… what matters is that you let her put her feet up and take care of herself in exchange for everything she does for you on a regular basis.

#14: Give Her the PDA She Craves – If you’re not the touchy-feely type, you’re probably uncomfortable with public displays of affection. Put your aversion aside for a moment and look at it from her perspective. When she’s out with the man she loves (or is at least into), she wants the world to know that he’s all hers. Give her that by holding hands in public, for a start. You can then graduate to other things once you get comfortable with the idea. You might actually like it!

#15: Control Your Temper Around Her – If you’re usually quick to anger, try and rein it in, at least when you’re with her. She’ll see the effort you put in and appreciate it immensely. If you’re constantly flying off the handle and, one day, you suddenly start acting a little calmer, she can’t help but notice the change. Besides, it’s good for you, too.

#16: Keep Your Word – Don’t make promises you can’t keep, and don’t ever break the promises you do make. This is not just for your girlfriend but life in general. Nobody trusts a person who says one thing and does something else on a consistent basis. So, build your trust by building your reputation as a promise-keeper. It applies to simple things as well as the big things in life. If you say you’ll call her at 4 pm, don’t call her at 4.30 pm and say you were busy. And if you do mess up occasionally, do #17.

#17: Make Your Apologies Sincere – When we’ve been around a person for a long time, we tend to start taking them for granted. Don’t. If you screwed up, say you’re sorry and mean it. In order words, apologize and try not to repeat that. We’re not perfect so nobody expects you to never, ever do that again. You will. But the least you can do is try and make an effort not to make a promise if you’re not sure you can keep it. An “I’ll try to be there” might not go down as well as an “I’ll be there” when you’re in the moment, but it will save you a lot of pain when you’re actually not there.

#18: Value Her Opinions – There are too many men out there who are ready to discount a woman’s opinion just because it doesn’t agree with their own. Don’t be that guy. Listen to her point of view and try to appreciate where she’s coming from. Valuing another person’s opinion doesn’t mean agreeing with them; it just means you’re respecting their views as much as you respect yours. You can always agree to disagree.

#19: Get Familiar with Her Interests – Does she love a Netflix show that you can’t stand watching even for five minutes? Just zip your lip and stay tuned until you get to know the storyline and a couple of characters. Then, when she’s talking about the show over dinner, you can bring up an interesting point you noticed about the show or a particular character. It has to be something positive. The effect will be a mix of surprise and pleasure, especially if she knows how much you hate that show. But, you know, there’s something worse than hating what she loves, and that’s being indifferent to it. Avoid that as much as you can by at least learning something about the topic in question.

#20: Take Long Drives or Go on a Road Trip – If you love music while driving, keep it at a low volume as background to something more important – conversation. The whole idea of a road trip or even taking long drives is that you can talk without constant eye contact. Did you know that the reason psychiatrists sit beside the patient rather than in front of them is to allow the patient to open up? The non-confrontational nature of just the two of you being in a car together can have that same effect, allowing both of you to open up to each other. Try it and see. I don’t mean a short drive within the city – take the highway and see where it leads you. Figuratively, I mean. I guarantee you’ll love the journey.

#21: Share your Stuff – Sharing things helps you bond, whether it’s something physical like your shirt or something intangible like your most embarrassing moment as a child. Sharing things makes the relationship more personal and deepens it. Even toddlers share their stuff with people they are drawn to. Of course, that might be the all-day sucker they just dropped on the carpet, but sharing is sharing.

#22: Show Your Loyalty – Defending her in an argument with friends is an example of showing your loyalty, but that’s just one instance. There are a number of ways to show loyalty to a person, such as being monogamous, being nonjudgmental, supporting her views even if you don’t agree with them, forgiving her for things she’s done, and so on. The more loyalty you give, the more you’ll get back. That’s the way it usually works.

#23: Set Date Nights – This is critical if you’ve been in a long-term relationship with a girl. The longer you know each other, the less focus you have on things like going out on a formal date. Make that happen, even if it’s just once a month.

#24: Never Take Her for Granted – This is related to showing her respect as a person, but it also refers to respecting her role in your relationship. She has to know that you acknowledge her contribution to keeping you together, which is often greater than the portion men tend to contribute toward a relationship with their girlfriend.

#25: Even If You Can’t Cook, Cook Anyway – Make her some eggs one morning and see the pleasantly surprised look on her face when she wakes up and comes down to breakfast. If you aren’t living together, make a dish and bring it to her. There’s no dearth of YouTube videos and food blogs that show you step-by-step methods to make practically anything. If you’ve never cooked before, try something simple, to begin with.

#26: Hug Her Often – A hug says a lot, and when it comes out of the blue, it’s even more special. Hugging your girlfriend when she doesn’t see it coming brings on an unexpectedly warm feeling that can strengthen your bond and deepen your affection for each other.

#27: Give Her Compliments – Saying “you look nice” or “I like the way you’ve put up your hair today” isn’t hard for you to say, but it’ll probably put her on cloud nine for the rest of the day. That’s especially true if you’ve been together a long time and have started taking her for granted – there’s that respect angle again.

#28: Get Yourself a Pair of Friendship Lamps Sorry, I just had to slip that in. But, seriously, a Friendship Lamp can go a long way in helping you stay connected, especially if you are in a long-distance relationship or don’t live under the same roof. It’s basically a set of two touch-operated lamps that sync with each other via their respective Wi-Fi connections in two different locations. Once they’re set up, which takes about two minutes, if one of the lamps is touched, the other will light up in a particular color that you picked during the setup process. It’s that simple, but it’s a powerful way to send an “I’m thinking of you right now” message across a room or across the world in an instant. Thousands of couples, families, and friends use it to stay connected across the miles, and here’s what they’re saying.

#29: Text Her Sweet Nothings – How long does it take you to send a quick “I love you” or “Thinking of you” text? About 5 seconds? How long do you think the effect lasts? Several hours to a day is my guess. We all live hectic lives, so it’s a great feeling to know that there’s someone out there thinking about us, and a text is one of the ways to make this happen for your girlfriend.

#30: Thank Her for the Little Things – Did she pick up your favorite latte this morning without your asking? Say thank you. Did she remind you about your dental appointment this week? Say thank you. Get into the habit of saying thank you for the little things – they add up, you know?

#31: Make Her Laugh – Women love guys who make them laugh. Heck, even guys love guys who make them laugh out loud. If you’re not inherently the funny type, put in the effort to learn some jokes and tell them well. Keep adding to your repertoire so you don’t get repetitive. Pretty soon, you’ll see yourself starting to develop or bring out your own humorous side.

#32: Plan for the Future – Most women want to know where the relationship is going, and the only reason some of them don’t ask is that they’re afraid of the answer they’re going to get. Make your girlfriend happy – ecstatic, even – by making plans for a future with her in it, and tell her about these plans.

#33: Plan to be Spontaneous! – If you’re not the spontaneous type, it can be really hard. But not impossible. It’s perfectly okay to plan in advance to be spontaneous at a particular moment because your girlfriend won’t know it’s not truly spontaneous. And that’s all right because you’re not deceiving her. Think of how stand-up comedians work: they plan their jokes well in advance, but their delivery sounds spontaneous, right? Here’s what Wikipedia says: “Comedians give the illusion that they are dialoguing, but in actuality, they are monologuing a grouping of humorous stories, jokes and one-liners, typically called a shtick, routine, act, or set.” And there you have it; you can plan to be spontaneous. Have your own shtick ready for the main event!

#34: Be Her #1 Fan – If your girlfriend is trying to achieve something or make something of her life, support her 100% – and then some. If she’s career-oriented or runs a business of her own, be her loudest cheerleader.

#35: Don’t Be a Drag – If you find yourself becoming too clingy or needy, it’s time for a reality check. it is not healthy for you to become overly dependent on another person, no matter whether that’s your mother, your girlfriend, or even a close buddy. Have a life of your own and let her have hers. She’ll notice you becoming more independent and she’ll appreciate your efforts.

#36: Clean Up – Surveys repeatedly show that women are more attracted to well-groomed men. Didn’t I say men were pigs? If you have facial hair, make sure it’s kept clean and well-groomed all the time. Use deodorants and shower often. Keep your teeth clean. Keep your place clean. Keep your car clean. All these things are more important to a woman that you realize.

#37: Make Compromises – While it’s important for the two of you to live your own lives the way you see fit, it also makes sense to compromise on things that you don’t really care about. Even if there’s something you’re passionate about that is the complete polar opposite of your girlfriend’s views on the matter, it’s okay to give in for the sake of the relationship. Too many relationships suffer because neither side wants to give an inch. Once you start giving in for the little things, she’s going to take the cue and start doing it herself. That’s the only way to move things forward.

#38: Ask for Her Help – Even if you’re known for being a self-sufficient guy, getting your girlfriend to help you with a task once in a while really helps strengthen the relationship. It’s not about you pretending you need her help just to make your girlfriend happy; it’s about letting her participate in your activities in whatever capacity possible.

#39: Give Her the Attention She Deserves – When you’re out with friends, it’s common for a couple to ignore each other or be of the attitude that ‘oh, they’re around here somewhere.’ Don’t make that mistake. That doesn’t mean either of you has to become the other’s coat-tail; all it means is that you publicly identify yourself as a couple. And if you’re the one making the effort, the impact of that on her – at a psychological level –  is very positive.

#40: Give Her a Sense of Security – Women want their guy to be protective, even in subtle ways. If you’re at a party where she doesn’t know anyone, don’t immediately wander off to chat with your buddies. Make sure you introduce her to a few people you’re comfortable with and then excuse yourself. But be sure to be back before she starts feeling awkward again. That’s a kind of psychological security you’re providing, and it also extends to physical security, such as shielding her from the great unwashed when you’re on the subway together, sticking up for her, defending her honor, and things like that.

#41: Show Some Chivalry – Whatever your girlfriend might say to you, she wants to be made to feel special and treated as such. Pull out the chair for her at a restaurant, offer her your coat on a cold night, open the car door for her… these things might sound like they’re out of the ancient ages for some millennials, but they have a charm to them that you just can’t ignore. Do you think Prince Charming rescued the princess and just asked her to Uber it home? No, he gallantly pulled her up on his own horse and they rode off together into the sunset. Or something like that. You don’t have to be Prince Charming but you don’t have to be Mr. Zero Charm, either.

#42: Make Her a Part of Your Life – A lot of guys tend to keep their girlfriends away from their inner circle of friends. If you think this relationship is going somewhere, then make the effort to bring her into that circle so they can all get to know her. If you run a business or have a job, discuss aspects of those with her. In other words, let her in on the life you had before her.

#43: Let Her Know How Lucky You Are – Men don’t tell their women enough that they’re so lucky to have them. Well, it’s true, isn’t it? Aren’t you lucky that your girlfriend agreed to become your girlfriend? Then tell her that, and often. You can’t imagine how special that will make her feel every time you say it.

#44: Cuddle More – If you’re not the spooning type or cuddling type, do it anyway. Not only will physical intimacy of these acts be good for the relationship, but the touch factor will be healthy for you in the long run. Oxytocin is released when a person is happy, and this neurohormone can benefit you in ways you can’t imagine.

#45: Befriend Her Friends – You don’t have to bend over backward to be nice to her friends, but at least try and get to know them. They can’t all be bad, you know? And who knows, you might make a genuine friend. Remember to be courteous, smile, open the door, and do everything for her girlfriends just as you do for her on a social level. When they feel special around you, that’s going to be fed back to her in a later conversation. And who benefits from that? You do!

#46: Write Her Letters – Whether you’re in a long-distance relationship or a live-in relationship, writing letters to each other is a good way to communicate your inner-most thoughts. It helps avoid the awkwardness of a face-to-face conversation about certain things, and it helps you mull stuff over before you put pen to paper. And when I say write a letter, I mean with a pen and paper, not on your laptop. A hand-written letter will get a much, much warmer reception, believe me.

#47: Donate to a Cause Close to Her Heart – Doing this is much more than giving a few dollars to a charity. It shows her that you care about the stuff she cares about. At the very least, it tells her that you’re okay with her being passionate about stuff that doesn’t move you.

#48: Be Emotionally Available – When your girlfriend voices her deepest thoughts and fears to you, don’t switch off. Men do this all too often and invariably come off as being insensitive to the needs of the one they love. If she’s in the mood for a good cry, there’s no need for you to try and end it quickly by making a joke or distracting her. Let her have her moment. Your hand on her shoulder or your arms around her will mean the world to her. And all it costs you is a little ’emotional exposure.’

#49: Set up a Joint Bank Account, aka Make a Commitment – Investing in something together is a great way to say that this trip is going to be a long one. A joint checking account shows you that you trust her with your money and your future, and that says a lot more than you realize. If you’re not ready to make a commitment, then do #50…

#50: Be Upfront about your Relationship – If you’re not ready to make a commitment, it’s absolutely okay. But if you’re sure that this is not something that will last, the decent thing to do is man up and break it off rather than keep leading her on. If it’s purely a casual thing, let her know. Then let her make up her mind whether that’s okay for her or not. If not, be ready to move on. In the end, both of you will be happier for it.

How Do I Fix a Broken Relationship?

Most of us aren’t relationship gurus who know the exact path to a healthy relationship. For that matter, even gurus base their relationship advice on broad assumptions and inferences from what they’ve seen or studied about in psychology books. A rare few teach from personal experience but those experiences are unique to them and may not help everyone. So, how do we arrive at a rational set of tips to fix broken relationships when there’s very little out there?

While there’s no exact science to fixing a broken relationship, there is plenty of common-sense and anecdotal evidence that supports some approaches over others. Such advice about how to heal a broken relationship with a lover, spouse, friend, or even a family member can be invaluable because it is universal. It’s invaluable because you can take it and mold it into something that works for you, hence the broadness of its nature as well as its appeal. You already know these things, which is why the rest of this article is more of a reflection about what you know deep inside rather than about eye-opening concepts. But if your eyes suddenly open, all the better!

Communicate

Rule #1 in any type of relationship is to keep the lines of communication open or open them up if needs be. If there is no communication, there can be no meaningful relationship. Period. There’s no way around this. Of course, the type of communication doesn’t always have to be verbal, either, although that helps quite a bit. In certain cases, though, all it takes is a look and some body language to get the conversation going. In fact, a lot of our verbal face-to-face conversations are heavily complemented by body language, tone, and other verbal cues.

If you’re in a broken relationship where the lines of communication are still open but maybe terse or perfunctory, you’re already ahead! On the other hand, if you’re not speaking to each other for some reason, it’s a little harder to light the conversation spark. That doesn’t mean there’s no chance there; it merely means you’ll have to use other methods of communication in order to get things started again.

Act – Actions Speak Louder

Although communication is the first step, action often precedes it. It’s almost like a preamble to the constitution. Every constitution has a preamble, which sets the tone and conveys the purpose of what’s to come. Although the preamble always preceded the constitution, the latter is more substantial and specific. In fact, it is laid out as clearly as possible to avoid legal misinterpretation.

Action and communication have a similar association when you’re trying to fix a broken relationship. If communication has come to a standstill, the best way to revive it is to first set the tone and convey the purpose of what’s to come. The communication that follows must then be as clear and straightforward as possible; no egos, no digs at the past, nothing. Just clean and well-intentioned communication.

So, what type of action can you use to set the tone for communication to resume? That’s up to you, of course, but make sure it’s something that triggers an emotion. That’s the crucial part. It can be a thoughtful act, a meaningful gift, a problem you handled for them, etc. What you want is an action that can set off a chain reaction of positive emotions that eventually lead to the lines of communication opening up again.

In a long-distance relationship, this is a lot harder to do because of the physical distance. But there are ways to get around that. As an example, if you’re looking to rekindle a long-distance love that sort of fizzled out, a simple “hey there” text might be good enough to get the conversation going again. On the other hand, if the reason the relationship is broken is that you messed up in some way, it’s going to take a lot more, like maybe actually trying to remember their birthday this time and sending a gift!

Active Participation

This is the next logical step in fixing a broken relationship with a long-distance lover, assuming you took the action required to start communicating, of course. This time around, don’t make the mistakes you did the last time. You may have been insensitive or not attentive enough, or maybe you just started taking the relationship for granted, as is very often the case when you’ve been in a relationship with someone for a long time.

Never forget that love is not a passive thing; it is a highly energetic and active emotion – and one that merits a like amount of effort from both sides. If your relationship broke because the kind of love you gave (or received) was passive (well, we’re together, aren’t we?), then it’s time for a reality check. Even if the fault was not your own, remember that you’re the one that wants to get back together. That’s why it’s crucial to really think about whether you want to fix the relationship in the first place, and what you want out of it. It’s time to be a little selfish and ask the old WIIFM question: what’s in it for me?

Even more importantly, do you know if that’s what he or she wants as well? You don’t want to be stuck in a one-sided relationship. There’s no give without take and vice versa. If it isn’t a two-way street, it’s very likely just infatuation on one side and toleration on the other. I know that’s a very harsh way to put it, but that’s all the more reason why you need to be sure that this isn’t what’s happening with the two of you.

But if you’re clear about what you want and you know for certain that the other person wants it, too, then your path – or course of action – will be equally clear. This time, it’s up to you to make the relationship work, but you’ll have all the help you need.

Conclusion – or the Beginning?

Frankly speaking, that’s basically all the advice you need. Act, communicate and keep the action part going. You can fix nearly any broken relationship with just these three guiding principles. This is how countries reconcile with each other; it is how broken marriages are fixed; it is also how friends-turned-enemies become friends-for-life. How you interpret them is what ultimately matters because you’re the one who’s going to execute the steps. Everything else is just talk.

Remember what I said at the beginning about the ideas here being universal? That’s exactly what they are. Apply them to fix a broken relationship with a long-distance lover or apply them with a belligerent boss – the effect is much the same.

If you choose therapy or professional advice over plain horse sense, I can’t stop you. And I won’t even try. But all you really need is this simple common-sense formula of Act –> Communicate –> Actively Participate to fix a broken relationship or even create a healthy relationship out of one that you may be struggling with at the moment.

Online Dating Advice for Millennials and Generation Z-ers: Beyond the First Date

When it comes to online dating advice or assistance of any kind on the dating front, Millennials and generation Z-ers have always turned to the Internet over asking a confidant(e), or even a close friend or family member. The fact that millennials (born between 1981 and 1996) and Gen Z-ers (born in 1997 or later) all had access to the Internet from their teen years has led them to be highly dependent on online information. In fact, millennials were probably the first generation ever to hook up and break up through instant messaging! With app-based dating being a popular way to meet potential partners, it’s imperative that you get the best online dating advice if you want that first date to be the beginning of something beautiful.

Why? The Numbers behind Online Dating

To validate the assumption that online dating is a popular method of meeting up with someone, we looked at some studies and surveys around this. Here’s what we found:

  • 48% of younger millennials and Gen Z-ers have used a dating app or website at least once
  • Within this group, 55% of LGB individuals said that they have used an online dating portal
  • Nearly 60% of those who have engaged in online dating said they had a positive experience
  • Education seems to matter, too: 63% of college graduates have had positive experiences, against 47% for those with a high school diploma or less
  • 71% of online dating service users said they found someone they were physically attracted to, while 64% found someone with similar interests and hobbies

That’s a great starting point because it’s clear that online dating works. But the bulk of online dating advice and online relationship advice on the Internet only focuses on the digital aspects and preparing for the first date itself. In sharp contrast, we believe that online dating is no different from regular dating. The modalities of communication and early-stage aspects might differ but the relationship part is essentially the same. That’s why the core values of a healthy relationship will apply here as much as in the non-digital realm. This is not online dating advice to help you create a great profile or what to say on your first date. This piece looks at what to do beyond that first date.

Online Dating Advice from a ‘Core Values’ Perspective

So, what are the core values of any strong and healthy relationship? Let’s list and discuss them:

  • Attraction

  • Trust

  • Respect

  • Love

  • Freedom

These are the foundations of every mature and growing relationship. Whether the relationship starting with online dating or physically asking someone out, these values need to be at the heart of it if you want to take things to any serious level.

Attraction

Above all else, there has to be the initial attraction for you to want to take it forward. And it has to be mutual, else you end up with a lopsided relationship that’s not healthy for either of you. The attraction, though usually so, doesn’t need to be merely physical. Look for a connection that goes deeper than that. It could be hobbies or interests that you share or things you both dislike. What matters is making the connection. This is what sets the foundation to build all the other values into your relationship.

This foundation is not optional, by the way. There’s really no way that trust, respect, love, and freedom can be yours in a relationship if this first cornerstone called attraction is not in place. Too many relationships end up in breakups and divorce because there was no lasting attraction. Physical attraction wanes quickly, as does any kind of connection based on initial impressions. Unless it goes deeper than that, it’s probably not a good idea to keep going down that road. That might sound harsh, but it’s better to break something off during the early stages than be led on to what will most likely be a bitter end.

But if you have that basic attraction as a solid platform, you can build a fantastic relationship with that person. Remember that this is online dating advice as much as it is a word to the wise on all forms of relationship. In fact, it probably applies more to online dating because face-to-face contact is removed from the equation in the early stages. Therefore, it is easier to find levels of connection before you even meet.

Trust

The next stage of a healthy relationship is trust. Like attraction, there needs to be a level of trust for you to take things forward. It doesn’t matter if it starts small; in fact, it probably should. Here are some tips on building trust quickly in a relationship:

  • Keep your word in small things, like being on time for a date or calling at the agreed time
  • Earn trust without expecting the other person to do the same; they eventually will, but it can’t be forced
  • Never say ‘yes’ when you mean ‘no’; learn to say ‘no’ even if the other person is disappointed
  • Engage in active listening, with lots of eye contact
  • It’s okay to bare your emotions; it shows the other person that you trust them with your innermost feelings
  • Live up to the values you talk about, such as honesty or straightforwardness
  • Disagree with respect; you can’t agree on everything, obviously, but never be dismissive or belittling

Trust is important in any kind of interaction, not just in relationships. For instance, as a customer, you need to trust the salesperson if you’re going to take their advice to make a purchase decision. In traffic, we need to trust that a red light will make cars stop. We constantly trust restaurants to give us food that’s not gone bad. Trust is integral to our society in many ways, and it is even more important in a relationship.

A relationship without attraction and trust can’t be called a real relationship. We see this type of thing constantly at work. You don’t like your boss and you don’t trust her; well, the feeling may well be mutual. When a boss-worker relationship doesn’t have some level of likeability and trust, the job may still get done but it won’t be the best that you or your boss can deliver. In addition, it will foster a kind of animosity that can only end badly for you in the long run. Granted, not many people love their bosses, but unless they have something that attracts you to them and encourages you to trust them, things won’t go to the next level, which is respect. Just like in the workplace, respect is the next foundational aspect of a healthy relationship.

Respect

Whether it’s a good piece of online dating advice or general advice to someone starting out on a new relationship journey, respect for others should come naturally. But respect can only come if you first have the foundation of attraction and trust to plant your feet on. In this context, we’re not talking about a generic or vague kind of respect that you should have for all human beings and living creatures. It’s very specific to that person, and this can only happen if the first two cornerstones are in place.

Once there is attraction and a level of trust has been built between the two of you, it’s easy to add the ‘respect’ element. So, what does it mean to respect someone? Let’s dive into that a little bit.

Respect is at the very heart of human civilization. Respect for life, respect for property, respect for the law, respect for authority, etc. are central to any civilized society. In many ways, respect helps us draw the line between right and wrong. And such is the case with relationships, too.

In any interpersonal relationship, respect is essentially a hat tip to the fact that the other person is a living, breathing individual worthy of being acknowledged on their own merits. Respect is shown in many ways: through active listening, speaking openly, confiding in the other person, giving them space, valuing their opinions, talking about them positively to others, and so on.

This foundation of respect also means not taking each other for granted. This often happens in mature relationships and is a major pitfall. And it can creep up in subtle ways with the simple assumptions and judgments we make about a person. It might start out innocently enough, with an ‘Oh, he won’t mind that’ or ‘she’d be cool with that’; but it can begin to undermine and erode the trust that you’ve built between each other. It can also hurt you in far more negative ways if it becomes the cause of resentment.

In an online dating scenario, whether it continues as an exclusively digital or long-distance relationship or you take it to the physical stage, you’re equally susceptible to a lack of mutual respect slowly destroying any effort you put into making the relationship stronger.

Now that the three crucial building blocks of any relationship are in place, you can finally get to the fun part!

Love

Attraction is not the same as love and neither are trust or respect. Although all three elements are contained in the concept of love, it’s a lot more than that. Love takes you into deeper realms of sacrifice and selflessness. It makes you want to be a better person for the sake of your relationship. Love is almost impossible to define but equally impossible not to recognize. It is this innate contradictory nature of love that has fascinated mankind for millennia.

We’re not here to try and define what love means. That’s the beauty of it. It means different things to different people. So, what does it mean to you? And are you living up to the standards that you’ve set for a relationship where love plays a major part? Are you even willing to commit to loving the other person?

If you’re at that stage of the relationship where love is still in question, it’s time to take a long, hard look and whether you want to forge ahead or call it a day. It’s a very hard decision, especially since you’ve put a lot of effort into building trust, earning the other person’s respect, and making sure your attraction to them is real. But this is where the rubber meets the road and also your point of no return. This is the commitment stage – the chance to put all your eggs into one figurative basket, as it were. If you back out now, you can still have a healthy friendship. Beyond this point, it’s going to be very hard to part amicably because both of you will be fully invested in the relationship.

But if you’ve decided to jump in with both feet, then the best piece of advice here would be to double down and dig in for the ride of your life. There’s nothing that compares to a loving relationship that’s built on a foundation of attraction, trust, and respect. But there’s still one element that crowns such a relationship and makes it even more rewarding. And it is called FREEDOM!

Freedom

The last component of a strong and lifelong relationship is freedom. This is not very different from the kind of freedom you experience when you are single, but it comes to you in an entirely different form because you now have a deep connection, a foundation of trust, the element of mutual respect, and the strength of the love that you have committed to.

The kind of freedom we’re referring to is the freedom to now build your life and your career to a higher purpose because you have a man or woman by your side who is as committed as you to make things work. You have someone to fall back on in bad times; there’s someone to trust when nobody else trusts you; there’s the privilege of being with your soulmate; and, you’ve been given the freedom to explore new possibilities as you make your life together.

The freedom you experience as a loving couple who have built their relationship on these core values is like nothing else you’ve ever had in your life. But what does this freedom mean?

  • It means re-committing yourself over and over because this is an ongoing and lifelong process
  • It means letting the other person have their space when they need it, and respecting their wishes even if it goes against your own gut feeling
  • It means being an active participant in whatever dream they want to fulfill in their life
  • It means contributing in equal part to making sure that the relationship doesn’t erode because of things like doubt, fear, etc.
  • It means never taking the person for granted even though you have the freedom to make a lot of assumptions about them as you move forward in life
  • It means fighting for them and backing them up when life throws its inevitable curveballs
  • It means giving them the confidence to fight their own fights and trusting them to do what’s best for both of you in any situation
  • It means trusting them to speak for you as a couple without second-guessing them
  • It means making them look good and uplifting and edifying them to others and in public and in private
  • It means loving their deficiencies as much as you love their strengths
  • It means forgiving them for things you perceive as offensive and directed at you
  • It means giving more than 100% of yourself to the relationship
  • Above all, it means making a lifetime commitment to support and nurture each other no matter what hurdles come your way

All these meanings of freedom define your relationship and how it will mature in the years to come. It will define your legacy and what your heirs perceive as the founding principles of your entire clan 40, 50, 60 years from now, and well beyond. So, don’t take it lightly. The effort you put now has to last several generations.

“All this heavy stuff when all I wanted was some online dating advice,” you ask? Well, in for a penny, in for a pound… or thousand. The best dating advice you’ll ever receive is not the bolt-on nuggets of wisdom. That will only get you so far. It should be a roadmap for the future, not merely a static map of what landmines to avoid in the present. Remember – any relationship advice for you, as a millennial or Gen Z-er, is only as good as the longevity of its effectiveness. If it can’t help you beyond the first or second date, throw it away. You need something that will carry the relationship forward into something that lasts a lifetime. Anything less than that is simply not worth it; it’s just entertainment.

If entertainment was what you’re looking for, you wouldn’t have gotten this far down the article. The fact that you’re reading this sentence means you want something better. You want something more serious than a one night stand. If you’re after something more permanent, what precedes this paragraph is possibly the best online dating advice – or any kind of meaningful dating advice – you are likely to find on the Internet or anywhere else.

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