You’ve seen the stereotypical couples nag and fuss at each other.  Forget that.  It is a choice, you know. This Blog is about never having to make any effort to change another person. REALLY!  The super simple secret is only focusing on bringing out the best in them!

You can never really change anyone anyway – unless they are trying to change something about themselves that they don’t like and they ask for your feedback or support.  Changing them is not something a partner can really do.  Rather than changing to meet YOUR needs, keep providing a supportive environment that meets THEIR needs – an environment where you can “catch them doing something right!”

Let them know they are unconditionally loved. Thinking it is your job to make them behave in a certain way because you expect or think they “should be” that way is YOUR agenda – and does not communicate unconditional love either!

How you bring out the best in someone is when you recognize and acknowledge the things that make them unique.  Let them know the qualities, strengths and positive attributes you saw and liked about them initially – and what attracted you to want to spend more time with them.

Reinforce the good things about their actions.  Do not focus on the weaknesses – accept to illustrate the strengths you see and admire.  Let them know what you like, and then praise them for giving you what you just asked for.

Have you ever thought about the fact that a weakness is simply an overuse or under-use of a strength! And what makes it such a weakness is that it is blind to us – because we can’t see it in ourselves. I call it our “blindspots”.

Learn how to recognize which of your actions impact others positively.  If something someone does has a negative effect on you or your partner, it is always because of different styles and needs. That is why when each partner takes and shares their DISC personal style assessment (taken in the mind set of “Me in my relationship with ___” ) it is so useful. It can provide the opportunity to discuss both style’s behaviors and gives an opportunity for each to share how they like and don’t like the other to BE when they are together.


Here are some questions for working on your relationships…

Question 1Should you try to analyze your partner?

Any good relationship is a two- way street.  If you can communicate what is important to you – both what you like and what you don’t, then a lot of growth in the partnership can take place.  Everyone likes to be acknowledged when they are doing well or when they have done something for someone.  So many of us only seem to hear and focus on the negatives. When someone is being thoughtful, then acknowledge them for that. Being thoughtful is about being kind and guided by empathy for another. Instead of saying “thanks for the cup of tea I really needed that”, all you need to say is “thanks for your thoughtfulness, I really needed a hot cuppa”.

You can even ask your partner what it is that they would like you to notice or acknowledge about them or what they are doing.   For example, if you notice that they are feeling a little low, you could say, “I’m sure you have been doing a lot of things that I don’t even realize you do and for which you would like me to recognize and support you in.  Can you tell me what that might be?”

This allows the person to realize that you are expressing an interest in them and what they are doing – and you aren’t taking them for granted. It is important not to be sarcastic or to use information given in this type of sharing to make fun of or hold it against them in the future.

Question 2Can all partnerships BE improved?

All partnerships can be improved – if both parties are willing and committed to making the relationship better.  Sometimes it takes a sign from one who has been unwilling in the past to make a change that they are now ready to do that. Commitment is caring deeply about the relationship and not holding back on your decision to change a behavior or.  It’s about  going that extra mile with each other, and keeping the agreements we make.

Question 3Are there some aspects of personality that can’t be changed?

It is not impossible to change behavior… if one wants to and has a change in their thinking.  But who is to say one personality is not “right”?  We tend to be attracted to what we most need to learn from – “When the student is ready, the teacher appears.” 

As a couple you come together to learn from each other.  If you hold this thought, you actually can see that there are new behaviors you can try on and learn how to do.  If you can see those behaviors you admire modelled each day in your partner, allow yourself to be contributed to and expand your own repertoire of behaviors.  If your partner is acknowledging your strengths, then use it to build up your own confidence.  Try on new behaviors.

Question 4How do you influence a partner that is unwilling to change?

If you have done everything above and they won’t change and won’t let you call for coaching, then let them know the potential cost to them of not changing their behavior.  Let them choose the consequence.  But then do what you say you are going to do.  No threats; just responsible action.  Love them for who they are, but do what you have to do.  No adult should have to be kept prisoner to a dysfunctional personality style.  If the unchanging partner needs help then offer that – but if refused, make some new choices for your own life.

All humans want is to be loved and acknowledged – for who they are as well as who they aren’t.  We have all spent a lifetime exercising the “muscles of behavior” we currently have.  Usually a change can be made if you see that the cost of doing something the other partner hates is much higher than the “payoff” that gratifies your ego. Coaching is often a solution for people who finally realize that they have an undesirable behavior that doesn’t get them what they really want.

Question 5Can a relationship be improved long-term?

When there is a change of perspective, there is always hope for change.  You are not brought together without a reason.  Whether you are in a personal or business partnership, learn from each other.  Agree to grow together.  Relationships are designed to bring out the best in each partner – and that takes constant work and commitment to the relationship by both parties.

Question 6How long do we keep doing these processes?

How long do you want your relationship to last? You can include the positive feedback in any communication.  Sending (or hiding) notes of appreciation – making a comment on how much you like something – giving an acknowledgement of how good they are at something – approving of as many things they do as you can find.  Find opportunities for acknowledgement in every conversation – even in every complaint.

If they seem to be pushy to you, you could acknowledge them for their drive, their assertiveness and their leadership. Then describe what you need and make a request.

If they tend to be disorganized and too talkative, you can acknowledge them for their friendliness and enthusiasm and how hard it must be for them to stop being friendly and take time to straighten things up. Then describe what you need and make a request.

If they seem to take too long to take action by making a decision, acknowledge them for their discernment by not rushing decisions. Then describe what you need and make a request.

If they seem like a perfectionist and won’t make a decision for fear of taking a risk, acknowledge them for being so meticulous, careful, and systematic in their thinking.  Then show them another way to look at it, describe what you need and make a request.

Remember…A relationship isn’t a YOU vs. THEM.  It is an US.

Take turns acknowledging strengths and making specific agreements for working on weaknesses.  Give yourselves a lot of room to make mistakes before expecting to get it consistently “right.”  Tell your partner what you want to be acknowledged for. Create a support signal that one partner can give the other when the behavior to change comes up and is ignored or not seen.  Remember:  “Anything worth doing is worth doing… badly – at first.” Behavior took a long time to develop and may not change overnight.

And the golden rule…practice using “I” statements for powerful communication and see how you could get a  more positive response with your partner actually listening to you.

For more relationship tips I invite you to complete a DISC online Personal Style Assessment that gives your style tendencies, strengths and communication preferences. It even has a guide to help you along the way: Check out our Discovering Me assessment.

And remember, “for things to change first I must change, and… may all your relationships be magnificent!”


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