Giving and receiving

The key to good relationships is giving people what they want, not what you want to give


Giving and receiving

There are two ways to find out what people want in a business, or personal, relationship:

  • Ask them: ‘What do you need from me to feel loved/valued/appreciated?’; or, ‘How would you like me to communicate/be with you?’
  • Observe what they give to you. Are they tactile? Do they listen well? Do they give you time alone? The chances are that they are giving you what they would like to receive.

Think about it in terms of Christmas presents 

Do you find yourself looking at gifts that you have bought others, thinking how lovely they are and how much you would like to receive them?

Stop and think: What messages does this person give me about what they want from me? Am I giving it to them or am I still giving them what I would like to have?

Overdone/underdone qualities

A quality becomes a strength when it is right for you and for the situation. A quality becomes a weakness when it is either overdone or underdone for you and the situation.

Write a list of what you consider to be your strengths and weaknesses

Look at your out-of-balance ‘weaknesses’ and write down the potential strength that you have in relation to each one. Now, look at your strengths, and check that you are not overdoing any of them. Are you putting your skills to good use at work and in life?

Let-it-all-out letter

‘Everything that irritates us about others can lead to an understanding of ourselves’ Carl Jung

  • If you find yourself inexplicably annoyed by another person, it may be because they remind you of an aspect of yourself that you don’t like, or that you have denied or buried, or wish you had.
  • Write a letter to the person (don’t send it!) detailing the qualities they have that irritate you. Put their name at the start of the letter.
  • When you’ve finished, cross out their name and replace it with yours. Reread the letter and see if you recognise any of those qualities in yourself, or wish that you had any of those qualities.

Photograph: iStock

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