One Simple Question to Improve Relationships
There are a ton of great questions you can ask in a relationship to get someone talking, sharing, and connecting with you. In fact, we've compiled a list of great relationship questions.
However, let's say you were limited on time and only had a chance to ask one question. What's the one question you could ask to guarantee you improve your relationship? This is going to sound simple (maybe too simple?), but it works. Simply ask, "What could I do to improve our relationship?" You can ask a spouse, a child, or a parent. It works for all relationships.
This simple question works because it is so rarely asked AND it strikes at the heart of your relationship. If you're like me, you're usually focused on how everyone else can change, rather than yourself. I wish my kids would pick up after themselves, put the laundry away, clean the counter top they just messed up, spend less time on their electronics, focus more on me, etc... But that's the problem. We spend considerable time thinking about how everyone else needs to change and not nearly enough time thinking about how WE might need to change to improve our relationships.
By asking someone else how YOU can change, it opens the door to some enriching dialogue that can build a stronger relationship...if you take the feedback seriously. In a best-case scenario, you'd implement anything you hear in response. But to be realistic, there may be things requested of you that are unfair, not reasonable, or not even possible. However, where possible, you should make every effort to adapt.
Here are a few typical responses and some great action items you can take:
"I wish you spent more time with me"
- More time together is pretty darn important if you want to grow a relationship. Could you give up an extra 10 minutes a day for someone else? We all could...even those of us that work really hard, have multiple kids, etc.. If not 10, how about 5? The key is to start shifting your time balance toward the other person.
"When we talk, I wish you would give me your undivided attention"
- Giving undivided attention makes the other person feel special, valuable, and wanted. This isn't rocket science folks. How do you feel when someone else is highly distracted when you are trying to talk to them? Not good. So, put down the phone, turn off the tv, etc...and give the other person your BEST.
"I wish you weren't as grouchy in the morning when we first see each other"
- Being grouchy at certain times of day happens. Coffee, more sleep, or doing something that wakes up your passion can help a lot. This may be an area where you'll need to negotiate a little. If you aren't a "morning person", maybe discuss a better time to connect during the day. Maybe suggest that you have your coffee before engaging with the rest of the world. The point is to come up with something that is going to work for the both of you. Give it a go!