Relate Well! Blog

Addressing the all-important and often perplexing topics and issues related to enhancing your personal growth and professional development

Resolving a Bad Relationship at Work

The average full-time worker with two weeks of annual vacation spends up to 250 days or 2,000 hours each year on the job. Unfortunately, many employees spend this time interacting with co-workers they don't get along with, making their work situation almost intolerable.

If you have a problem with a co-worker and you're growing weary, don't despair. Although you can't guarantee cooperation from the other party, there are some practical things you can do in an effort to turn the relationship around. Review the tips below to see how you can confront bad work relationships.

  1. Take a good look at your own attitude and behavior first.

Before you complain or point a finger at your co-worker, take an honest look at how you might be contributing to the problem. Are you letting your feelings make you snappy, over-sensitive, jealous or uncooperative? Addressing your own negative attitude or behavior can often help decrease the distress brought on by the bad relationship and help...

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Is It Too Late to Mend a Broken Relationship?

The holidays are a wonderful time to get together with friends and family to experience the joy of laughter, reminiscing, and renewing connections.  However, it’s also a time when many people face the painful reality of not being with someone they love because of a broken relationship. 

During the holidays, I often meet with clients who are grieving due to being estranged from a parent, sibling, or other close relative or friend. 

Recently I had a woman ask me if it was too late to try and mend a relationship with a brother she had a falling out with three years ago.  I have summarized my response to her below. 

As long as the person you had a falling out with is still alive and is mentally competent it is never too late to make an attempt to restore the relationship you once had with them. 

You can not control the type of response you will receive, or whether or not you will even get a response, but you can control what you attempt to communicate...

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Are You Poisoning Your Relationships?

Imagine you are sitting in a coffee shop, chatting with friends. One of your friends reaches into their pocket and brings out a vial of poison and begins sprinkling it into each person’s cup. Wouldn’t that be shocking? You can imagine that you would be very unlikely to invite that person to coffee again!

You will not likely ever have that exact experience, but did you know it’s possible to poison yourself and your relationships without even being aware of it? Nearly every day I talk to men and women who are either engaged in, or hurt by, behaviors that are a form of relational poisoning. The damaging toxin is gossip.

You would be hard pressed to spend a day in any workplace, social media site or other gathering and not be exposed to some form of gossip. Gossip involves the spreading of rumors or information about others. Although there can be sociological benefits associated with some forms of gossip, today I want to address the epidemic...

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Getting Along with Critical People

We all have to deal with critical people at times. You know the type - the person who can spot a flaw from across the room, gives unsolicited advice, frequently complains and passes judgment, is negative and seems impossible to please.

We can all be critical. Every day, we literally critique everything that goes on around us consciously and unconsciously. Unfortunately, some people tend to verbalize the thoughts many of us have learned to keep to ourselves. When things don't go our way or we're in a bad mood it is easy to become critical. It's true, miserable people prefer miserable company. Critical people actually feel better around others who share the same negative attitudes. Before we spend time learning how to cope with other people's critical traits let's make sure we have our own well under control.

It can be quite challenging to get along with a critic, especially when we live, work or attend church with them. Here are 10 tips to help you get along better with critical...

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Do You Know the Enemies of Your Marriage?

If you woke up in the middle of the night and found someone trying to break into your home, would you ignore it and go back to sleep? Of course not! However, every day, couples allow enemies into their home that rival the destructive nature of an intruder.

Tackling the normal challenges of marriage is difficult enough without having to also contend with the enemies we allow to undermine our relationships every day. As we live day to day during this time of the Covid-19 pandemic, many problems seem to be magnified, so addressing them is even more important than ever. If you want to have a vital and satisfying marriage it is critically important that you and your spouse take the time to identify and name the specific activities, behaviors, attitudes and people that can compromise your intimacy and trust. 

In my practice I find couples who are very frustrated and unhappy in their relationships, yet they passively sit back and allow habits, activities, attitudes and even people to...

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4 Keys to a Strong Marriage

I am always encouraged when a couple seeks counseling to work on a problem in their marriage. It seems so easy today to throw in the towel as soon as one or both people feel unhappy, misunderstood or disrespected. But in most cases there are a few simple (not necessarily easy) things that can produce life-changing results. 

In my work with couples, I have discovered four key elements that must be consistently present in order to have a strong and fulfilling marriage.

Put each other first.

As simple as this sounds, it may be the hardest thing you will ever do. Our inner instinct is naturally “Me first.” “What do I want?” “What makes ME feel good – or bad?” “How is my spouse failing to meet MY needs?” Putting someone else above ME is an act of the will and takes practice. But all couples can experience intimacy and satisfaction when both partners are willing to cultivate an attitude of humility and giving. It may seem awkward...

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10 Tips to Help You Stop Interrupting

In a recent coaching session, a client asked if I could help him break the habit of interrupting. He told me that several team members had confronted him about frequently talking over them – interrupting. They were honest enough to tell him just how much it had become a consistent source of frustration for them.  In collaboration with my client, we came up with several strategies that ultimately helped him to virtually eliminate his “communication destroyer” habit.

One of the quickest ways to shut down communication is to interrupt.  When someone repeatedly interrupts others it not only derails communication, but it also diminishes the trust and respect people have for them.

If your relationships are compromised due to a habit of interrupting I encourage you to read and practice the 10 Tips to Help You Stop Interrupting below.

Live, Work and Relate Well!

Dr. Todd

1.  Write your thoughts down so you...

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10 Resolutions for Building a Strong Family

Building and maintaining a strong and loving family in today's culture takes a determined will and a conscious and sustained effort on the part of every family member. With so many things competing for our time and attention it is easy to lose sight of the value and significance of the close, loving relationships our families can provide. 

It's often been said that when a person comes to the end of their life they realize that the only things that really matter are the loving relationships that were established and cultivated throughout the years - especially those with family. 

If you want to build a firm foundation of love and support for your family that will stand the test of time and weather the storms of difficult life circumstances, we encourage you to embrace these ten resolutions for building a strong family. 

As a family, we commit to...

  1. Live our lives according to what we value and believe - 
    even when it isn't popular!
  2. Respond to each other with...
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Keys to Talking with Your Teen

Knowing how to engage in constructive dialogue with your teenager is one of the most important skills a parent can possess, but it is also one of the most challenging things to pull off well. Generally speaking, teens are not always eager to participate in a “serious” conversation with their parent(s). Nevertheless, by understanding how to effectively talk with your kids you can decrease the occurrence of destructive conflict and increase the likelihood of sending the message to your child that they have been heard and that they are valued and respected.

Your teens face important issues every day. Their ability to make good decisions about drugs and alcohol, sex, friendships and school performance is significantly enhanced by open, honest and direct communication about these issues with you. The stakes are high – one bad decision can literally affect a teenager for the rest of his or her life. When you have constructive dialogue with your teen you are also modeling...

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Relationships Under Construction

For many of us, few things are as irritating as having a road you frequently travel come under construction. You often have to deal with dust, delays, bumps and detours for many months. The upside to having to endure the challenges of construction is that if the job is well done it will make your future travel much easier and enjoyable – the same is true for relationships under construction.

Like roadwork, successful relationships, whether at home or work, require a process of assessment, planning, and construction. Whether you are building a new relationship or attempting to improve an existing one, if you fail to adequately prepare and build you will not be able to effectively meet the demands that come your way.

Assessment

Building or improving a relationship begins where you are right now. What values need to be in place? Is your foundation set on honesty and trust?

Planning

Talking about shared interests and things you have in common can draw you closer to someone....

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