Here’s a news flash. If you are in a relationship with someone – at work or at home –  there will be challenges and problems. There will be valleys. It will get hard and you will get frustrated at some point. Okay, that was the bad news.
The good news is that you can be prepared to face challenges by learning to focus on a few small things.
Here are some ways you can get your relationship back on track when challenges arise:
  1. When something happens that you need to deal with, deal with it.  Don’t let issues pile up until they become a bigger problems. Have the courage to say what you need to say and focus on the issue at hand, not the person. Try this simple tool: substitute the word “we” for the word “you.”
  2. Watch your body language. At least 70% of our messages come from how we position our body, the tone we use and visual cues (think eye contact). Keep your body open (no crossed arms), and be present in the moment.
  3. Keep the playing field equal. Don’t unintentionally display a “power pose” by standing over someone. Sit together or stand together — do whatever you need to do to get your eye contact at the same level.
  4. Don’t assume anything. Do not assume the other party knows what you are thinking or sees the situation the same way you do. Listen first to their views and concerns, and don’t interrupt.Then share your views.
  5. Be kind and respectful. If you can’t say something nice, then hold your tongue. Talk openly and honestly about your thoughts and feelings, but be nice about it.
  6. Be prepared to compromise. Determine the ideal outcome for you and the other person involved. It may not be the same. Make a move to meet somewhere in the middle.
  7. If what you are doing isn’t working, trying something else.If the same or a similar problem keeps cropping up, it’s time to address it in a different way. Use different words, ask for clarification and change it up until you see some progress.


Remember, there are no perfect relationships. Enjoy the peaks but be ready for some valleys. Take some time this spring to take some action toward making your relationships even better.


Betty Lochner
Betty Lochner is a speaker, trainer and coach who helps people improve their communication at work and home.
For more information  on  her training programs or to sign up for her monthly e-newsletter visit