You can’t change someone else. And pressuring them to change tends to make them dig their heels in further. We all have a bit of that rebellious child still in us.
But there’s one person you can change – you. And because relationships are mini systems, you only have to alter one part (yourself) to affect the whole system (the relationship).
Let’s say Ken is always late meeting Barbie at the movies. Barb hates missing the start so she’s constantly berating Ken for not getting there on time. Which does nothing to change his tardiness.
Valentine’s Day Happiness Strategy: Make like Michael Jackson and start with the Man in the Mirror
Instead of persisting with this pointless ploy, Barbie could change her own behavior and do something different. For instance:
- When making plans, she could tell Ken she’ll buy her ticket and head in just before the movie starts, and if he’s not there, she’ll catch him for coffee afterward. The trick is to keep it light and pleasant – not threatening or ultimatum-like.
- She could see movies with punctual friends and do less time-sensitive activities with Ken.
- She might choose movies she has little interest in to see with Ken. That way she won’t care if she misses the beginning and she can just enjoy Ken’s company.
By doing something different, Barbie jolts both Ken and herself out of their current behavior pattern. Depending on how much Ken wants to see (particular) movies with Barbie, he may well be motivated to turn up on time.
But the beauty of this approach for Barbie is regardless of what Ken does, she’s no longer stuck in frustration and resentment. Barbie just made herself happier with nary a concern about Ken’s crappy timekeeping.
Leaving her more relaxed for quality time in her camper van.
Did you miss:
- When you’re waiting for Prince/Princess Charming to come along and make you happy – what should you do?
- When you’ve forgotten what you ever saw in them – what should you do?