Do nice guys finish last or are they, instead, the ones that last? It’s all very well and good being a bull in the boardroom, and when it comes to business it can pay to be ruthless, but it’s not so clear that being a domineering character leads to healthy relationships and a happy life overall. Your work should define you to a point, but it won’t hold your hand when you get old or notice when you’re not your usual self. Whatever your job, it does pay to be a bit nicer sometimes, and making people feel valued and respected is the cornerstone of good management and getting the most out of people. Perhaps people view you as a bit of a shark, or maybe you are lacking meaningful relationships with people and wondering why, and what you can do to change the situation. You don’t have to be a psychopath to be a little selfish sometimes, and just because you have to put a bit more effort in than others to learn these things doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. Without overhauling your entire personality there are a few things you can do to appear a bit softer and be more considerate. Herein lies the systematizers guide to enjoying close personal relationships.
Train Your Memory
To build close relationships you need to put the effort in, and remembering key personal information and important dates is a good place to start. When you see a friend, partner or even a colleague, remembering what you spoke about last time you met or what they have going on at the moment is crucial to making them feel like you care. Similarly, do not forget important birthdays or anniversaries, if you are rubbish at remembering this sort of thing, try to find a way to store the information somewhere in your brain. You can’t always have your phone on you, and Facebook can’t save you when you are put on the spot by an irate spouse.
Apportion Time For Helping Others
Whether at work or at home, the idea of chunking your day so that you dedicate a good portion of it to helping others is a good way of making sure you maintain the effort. If you know that for a certain amount of time during your day you are helping so-and-so to meet their needs, or even just catching up with them, it is easier to balance the demands of your job and interests with your relationships.
Listen to People
It might sound obvious, but how many times has somebody started talking only for you to switch off thinking you know what they are going to say. You might even be one of those people who finishes sentences for others. Don’t be this guy. When somebody is speaking to you, concentrate on the words they are using and what they are saying. Even if you have been with your significant other for years and years, and even if you know what they are going to say nine times out of ten, there will always be one time when you are surprised.
Treat the Ones You Love Often
If you live with somebody, go the extra mile to make sure that they feel appreciated and loved. Beyond making the odd cups of tea, sharing the responsibilities as much as possible and buying a good wine for dinner is a good way to show you care. If you notice that their phone case is cracked, for example, buy them new Custom Envy Phone Cases and score some serious brownie points. Even if you’re strapped for cash, small spends like this go a long way, and might be the difference between a lasting relationship and an impending breakup.
Being generous isn’t just about giving money away, it’s also about investing your time into things you deem worthwhile. If you find yourself at a loose end, instead of surfing the web in your underwear, why not meet that friend who’s having a bit of a hard time for a coffee? When life deals you lemons, often people give you the slip. Show that you’re not like that by remembering to check in, after all, if all they want to do is talk about their breakup, you can leave after an hour. It’s only coffee, but it could make the world of difference to the other person.
Manage Your Expectations
Often, when we are disappointed with something it is not because that thing is bad, or insufficient, it is because it is not how we ideally wanted it to be. These kinds of frustrations are natural, and sometimes people do need a bit of a reminder to up their game, but a lot of the time it is you who has to accept how things really are and move on. If you are the sort of person that cycles rapidly through short term relationships, it might be for this very reason, that you are not able to discern what a person is like from how you imagine them to be. Just as a partner has to accept how you are, you also have to accept them. By accepting only the best qualities in a person and not their difficulties, you are setting yourself up to fail.
The greatest resource available to the nice guy is compassion, so try to up your game a little in this regard, and you will reap great rewards. When we judge others and get angry with them, what is really happening is we are failing to understand why they are behaving in a certain way. If somebody is late, rude or in a bad mood, it might be that they are having a bad time and need your support, not your condemnation. Don’t be a pushover, but also know when understanding is the best way to deal with the problem. It has been shown that, contrary to popular belief, compassion is something which you can improve with effort.