“Whenever you’re in conflict with someone, there is one factor that can make the difference between damaging your relationship and deepening it. That factor is attitude.”

How To Improve Your Relationships With Your Loved Ones Without Therapy

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In life, you might face many insurmountable obstacles—and one such obstacle might be talking to your loved ones. Maybe you guys argue a lot; maybe you have difficulty making each other understand your problems, hopes and dreams; or maybe you simply don't like each other. Whatever the case is, a lot of the time, such problems aren't impossible to manage. On the contrary, if you work hard, you can help fix these problems and do so without resorting to therapy. Here are four ways to improve your interpersonal relationships that don't involve therapy.

Talk to your loved ones

 There are two different senses for talking to your loved ones. First, by talking to them, this means spending time with them and engaging with them. By doing this, you'll get to know and understand each other better, and can hopefully resolve conflicts in the future. Second, by talking to them, this also means talking to them with the specific intent of solving your problems. You guys can talk in this way to hammer out a compromise.

Try to understand what life is like in their shoes

You might have had a more fortunate life than another person, or you might have had an equally difficult life with very different struggles. Recognize that the other person is usually a better judge of a situation than an outsider is, and that—even if they've judged incorrectly—pointing out their errors might not serve a purpose. Seek to understand why they acted the way they did. Would you have done any differently, in the same situation? Maybe not. Don't forget the role played by information asymmetries: maybe the other person didn't have access to the same information you do, and as such reacted differently than you would have.

Find a weekly activity to do together

If you and your loved one spend time together every week, then you'll have something to bond over, some basis to connect on. Moreover, doing the activity—whether it's a sport, an arts-based hobby, or going to a favorite spot, like the swimming pool—will help get your mind off your troubles and any arguments you have with each other. This way, you can simply admire each other for the positive things, and put the negative aspects behind you.

Simplify your life

If you find that you always have arguments on the same topics, it might be time to deal with those issues—rather than getting upset with your loved ones. For example, you might be arguing because the chores need to be done and neither spouse has the free time. In that case, you'd benefit from hiring a housekeeper, or donating some of your things, so that there’s less to do. If you're arguing with your child because they're struggling with homework, maybe a tutor can explain better. And if you're having money troubles which cause arguments, you might be better off if you spend less money. Don't let things become super-complicated.

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