Dealing With Relationships: A Guide For Young People
Relationships, at a young age, can be particularly difficult and post significant challenges. Be it a friendship, relations with family members, or with potential or actual partners, a young person can frequently struggle to maintain the right balance and can experience varying amounts of distress on account of the problems that can arise within these. Having some clarity in mind about what and how one wants to be can be particularly helpful in navigating the issues that can arise.
It’s important to understand that a lot of problems within the context of relationships arise on account of the communication patterns that become characteristic of them. Often communication can become such where needs are not shared explicitly and in their place conversations are centred around fault finding, criticism and sharing of a range of disappointments. This approach focuses on the problem and does not look towards actively taking steps to resolve the problem. It can result in relations becoming stressful and tenuous.
Another associated problem that can arise is when one feels the space to share experiences is limited. When a person feels their thoughts and feelings are being ignored or rejected, it can become problematic to push oneself to share and maintain vulnerability within the relationship. Such patterns an often corrode the ability to trust and feeling fully comfortable within the relationship and that can take away substantially from its quality.
A relationship where the power balance is lopsided and where one individual struggles to maintain their true authentic self because they feel judged or experience that who they are will not be accepted, is also one where the quality gets significantly compromised. A person may not be able to express themselves and there could be frequent misunderstandings and resulting conflicts. Resolving these can feel near impossible over time because finding common ground is hard and at the same time the level of understanding of each other would not appear to improve.
Nevertheless, even as such problems can appear to plague a relationship, there are some steps that can be actively taken by an individual to change the dynamic and try and mend the ruptures that are visible in the relationship.
1. Develop clarity on who you want to be within the relationship. Aligning to your true self and not modulating your communication to suit the situation is a key. It ensures that that you do not come across as inconsistent and inauthentic.
2. Determine where the communication breakdown is happening. Within any relationship, there is a point at which usually the communication starts becoming difficult. Developing an understanding of what happens here is crucial to being able to fix it.
3. If you notice patterns of taunts, criticism, cynicism, withdrawal, stonewalling, appearing within your communication with consistency you need to find a way to work towards eliminating these and instead find more effective ways of expressing your needs and sharing your feelings.
4. Shift communication from passive aggressive forms to more assertive ones. If you do not like something be open to saying it as such, politely and not aggressively. Often one can assume that the other person should simply understand and be aware of what might be causing distress. People cannot mind read and you would need to be more explicit in your communication.
5. Recognise that trust takes time to build and it is a two way street. If you feel your confidence is being shattered on account of some things that are being said or done then be open to confront the issue.
Relationships take time to build and require continual work by both the individuals involved in them. Maintain mutual trust and confidence is important as is the respect and dignity of the other. Keeping in mind these and other aspects mentioned above is crucial for the quality of the relationship.