Five steps to avoid dysfunctional relationships

I have compiled a checklist for myself today, to check new people – business, friends, romantic partners – which come into my life. This will protect me against dysfunctional relationships going forward.

Note: all five steps are individual filters – if any one of them “fails” (e.g. if I don’t feel safe with the person, but everything else is OK), I will exit the relationship going forward.

checklist: five steps to avoid dysfunctional relationships (PDF)

(“John waite / Alison Krauss – Missing you”) – written on 2.2.22

0 Attraction

Do I actually feel an attraction to the person, to the project, do I want to spend my life energy with them? Do I see a future with them? (Business, Relationships, Friendships) How does this person make me feel on a regular base?

Never start relationships out of pity.

A Safe & comfortable

Do I feel safe and comfortable with that person? If I don’t then that relationship is not for me, exit immediately.

B Investment

Is the other person also putting an effort into the relationship, in their own way? Do they reach out to me, do they want to spend time with me, are they making suggestions? Are they continuing to invest, within their capabilities and life situation? Are they communicating about a life situation which might be holding them back?

Is the other person also sending appropriate signals for the type of relationship I’m interested in? E.g. are they looking for romance, or friendship? Business or a buddy?

If the investment is not somewhat balanced, and mutually rewarding (e.g. stepping up the ladder of mutual investment together), then withdraw and let the relationship wither. 

Never chase relationships. More opportunities are to come, and my life energy will be better invested in myself if it is not matched mutually by the other person.

C Communication & Cooperation

Is the person a good communicator, also in stressful situations? Will they try to address issues I raise, and cooperate to resolve the problems, find compromises?  Or are they rigid, and want things to be “their way only”?

If there is too much rigidity, exit the relationship. Flexibility on both sides is needed to make it work.

Additionally: If a girl communicates she does not want a relationship, exit the relationship (fantasy) and distance myself from this person completely immediately.

D Documentation of Dreadful Patterns: believe the Data

Do I feel a pattern of anxiety when interacting with this person? Document the anxiety, the situations, the person & the frequency it happens with.

Is it something which can be resolved on my side? Or is this a systematic problem, maybe due to some pattern in the partner? Can this be resolved with the partner, or are they rigid about it?

Believe the data. Incompatibilities between people exist. Do not tolerate anxiety (“dreadful patterns”), exit the relationship.

Image: unsplash Scott Broome

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