Let me start with a disclaimer: the title of this article is a bit misleading. It isn’t so because I intended it to be, but there really isn’t any other way to word the sentiment of what I want to convey in this post. I want to be clear that there is a difference between manipulation and an honest effort to help someone want to do the things you’d like them to do. One is based on extracting something from someone; the other is simply learning to deal with people in a way that helps you have a more peaceful relationship with someone.
As we continue in this age of detached social media and all kinds of influences creating a barrage of pressure from all directions, it is becoming increasingly difficult to separate reality from the world we create in our own minds. While the latest push into a new era of technology has many benefits associated with it, there are also some crippling intellectual and emotional issues that we will need to learn to deal with before we can claim that we have fully adapted to the new way of doing things in the modern world. Of course, with the rapid pace of advancement, we may never catch up.
One of the big problems we have today because of this constant shift in the way our lives work is that we are becoming more and more narcissistic in the way we look at ourselves in the context of others. As it becomes more and more easy to get what we want at almost the moment we want it, we are becoming more used to a constant stream of instant gratification. In the face of this, we are rapidly losing our ability to wait for the things we want or even to learn to accept that some things just aren’t going to happen.
This isn’t that big of a problem when it comes to things like material possessions that most of the time are simply a matter of hard work and focusing on a goal. Spend enough time working and saving and you’ll probably get what you’re yearning for, assuming it isn’t a super yacht or something extravagant like that. Of course, if you’re driven enough and lucky enough, even that is within your grasp. The problem arises when we start applying this mentality to our relationships.
Unlike the inanimate objects we might like to purchase, a relationship with a person has someone on the other side who has their own desires and needs, many time in opposition to your own. If either side refuses to take a step back and look at the situation from both sides, many issues will flare up into arguments because both sides are focused on their own point of view and completely disregarding the other. It is impossible to reach any sort of agreement when neither side is willing to even listen to the other person.
This isn’t much of a problem if you aren’t particularly interested in being agreeable with someone. When you don’t care about the feelings or needs of another person, you are free to focus on yourself. However, when it comes to someone you’ve decided is important to you, it becomes critical to start setting aside your own desires so you can start focusing on what the other person wants.
Part of this effort requires putting in some time to learn about the other person. There are things about them you will come to know as you spend more time with them, and if you really pay attention you can gain a wealth of knowledge that will help you smooth over differences and make things work more smoothly. Learn their little habits, the schedule they like to keep, the way they like to have things done and anything else that can help you to make yourself more of an asset to them.
The worst thing you can do is to try to shove your own wishes down the throat of the person you want something from. The harder you push, the less likely it is that you’ll get what you want. If you get irritated because they aren’t acting the way you’d prefer, you have two options: stop interacting with them or start figuring out how you need to change the way you interact with them to get the result you want. Brute force may work for a time, but eventually they will get tired of dealing with you.
In the end, we all have things we want or need. If we allow our differences to get in the way and solely focus on what we want and how we want it, there is little chance that our relationships will get any better. The only way interactions between people can work is through compromise, and it is important to not only be willing to compromise on our end, but also to recognize when the other person has made a compromise on our behalf. It goes both ways.
What do you think about handling relationships? Do you excel at helping people to meet your desires or needs, or is it a constant struggle to get the other person to do anything for you at all? Are you constantly frustrated about the things you lack? Sometimes all it takes is a step back and a bit of attitude adjustment to get what we want from someone important to us. We just have to be willing to take the time and put in the effort.
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