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Equal and Easy Relationships Are the Best

Equal-and-Easy-Relationships-Are-the-Best

Talking about making new friends, a client and I determined that the best relationships are “equal and easy.” Of course, there are many other qualities you may look for, but these two are essential for any kind of meaningful, ongoing connection.

Think of folks you’ve known—not just friends, family, lovers, or co-workers, but everyone you’ve ever had even a brief relationship with. Which people stand out in your mind as easy-going? Those who are comfortable with themselves don’t leave their opinions and differences at home when they’re with others, but often put them aside and tone them down. Wanting to get along with people, they go out of their way to do so without losing their sense of identity or conviction, are respectful even when disagreeing with you, and value you as much as you value them.

How about folks you’ve met who are looking for an equal relationship, as in “you have your needs and I have mine and we’ll work as partners to meet them”? They aren’t looking to have power over you, but power with you. You respect them and they respect you. They try to improve your life and expect you to do the same for them. They assume you have their interest at heart and show you in every way that they have yours.

Here's a description of what these people are not. They don’t insist on having most things their way. They’re not focused only on their needs. They don’t bully, manipulate,  or sulk when they don’t get their way. They don’t cheat or lie, project their inner garbage onto you, disrespect your privacy, or become jealous when you put attention on others. 

Relationships in which you’re always talking about how things are going don’t fall under the easy umbrella. This observation, of course, involves a judgment call because all relationships, especially in their early stages, need some discussion about how they’re faring. But, if you’re constantly discussing what’s wrong with a relationship and you’re both not enjoying that “easy” feeling, it may well mean something’s amiss.

If you struggle to be heard, seen, respected or valued, the relationship is not an “equal” one. In those, we want to support the other person’s good feelings about themselves—only if they’re well earned, of course, and not done to boost their egos. And we expect them to do the same for us. They may believe they’re better than we are at cooking or tennis, but they don’t believe they’re more deserving in life than we are.

Always monitor how easy and equal your relationships are, currently and in the future. Use the “e and e” standard to measure their viability, then proceed accordingly. 

Best,

Karen