Avoidance… it’s an interesting relationship strategy. I think it’s fair to say that we’ve all fallen into the trap at some time or other of doing everything we can to avoid having a tough conversation with a partner, work mate, customer or supplier. We don’t want to get caught in an awkward situation, so we do our best to ignore it and hope that if we avoid it long enough it will either go away or take care of itself.
But avoidance can be very dangerous. The problem, according to one of Australia’s leading business and relationship keynote speakers Bruce Sullivan, is that the longer the dissatisfaction with certain behaviour is avoided, the more the resentment builds up. You might start feeling more and more stressed about the dysfunction in the relationship – and the worst part is that the person with whom you have the issue with may not even be aware about your dissatisfaction!
So how can we avoid ‘avoidance’?
In a recent article, Bruce recommends starting with writing down your intention for the relationship. For example, “I want to be drinking beer with you at the Christmas Party NOT avoiding each other for the next three months”; or at home, “I really want us to be enjoying a healthy, loving, long term relationship”; or with a supplier, “It would be great if we both actually looked forward to dealing with each other over the next two years”.
Unless we can start with being clear about our intentions, we can’t even begin to act on healing the relationship.
Of course intentions must be followed up with appropriate action. That can include a two-way conversation, and it may mean being prepared to change your own behaviour. As hard as all that might sound, it is worth giving it a go. Built up resentment can be a cancer that will ultimately destroy the relationship and maybe even you. Bruce will be sharing more on his tips for building more effective relationships at work and at home in Dalby on 11th and 12th July. Go to http://www.brucesullivanseminars.eventbrite.com.au/ to book your ticket. Or read more about the two seminars here>>