How to deal with difficult relationships

Listen on:

A relationship are your thoughts about another person. Sometimes similar thoughts are had by the other person, but your relationships with others is entirely yours to own.

For example, Ellen DeGeneres and I are BFF’s. She emails me all the time, I laugh at her jokes and she always makes me feel better when I’m down. Let’s be clear, Ellen had NO idea who am I, but I think we are close. Our relationship is great.

Or my friend from High School that I only talked to once every few years. Whenever we get together, we can always pick up right where we left off. I love our relationship.

So many of us are frustrated with so many of our relationships because we think they have to look a certain way for us to feel good about it. Do any of these sound familiar?

  • A manager should have weekly 1:1’s.
  • A friend should answer you call.
  • A partner should want to spend time together.
  • Your kids should listen.

You can think that in order for you to have a healthy relationship with people, they have to act how you want them to, but how’s that working out?

The reason we struggle with so many relationships is because we have an expectation of how people should act and we having a million thoughts about how others are doing at meeting those expectations. But what if you dropped the expectations and took 100% responsibility for yourself in all of your relationships?

This concept is hard for a lot of my clients and we spend a lot of time talking about this, but really taking 100% responsibility for yourself in a relationship works so much better every time.

Think about a relationship you have with someone that has passed? They are not here actually interacting with you the way you want, but you can still have a relationship with them. It all exists in our mind.  A relationship is a mental construct.

I’m not saying to let yourself be taken advantage of or not have expectations, but when someone acts in a way you don’t like, choose to take responsibility for yourself. This might mean you need to set a boundary or walk away from the relationship, but own it.

For example, if I have plans to meet someone for a date at 7:00 and they are not there by 7:15 I leave. I don’t have to be mad and angry about it. I can respect my time enough to leave and choose to think whatever I want about the date.

Your relationships are the thoughts you have about others. If you don’t like it, clean up your thinking. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

  • He’s a horrible manager.
    • He seems to be under a lot of stress.
  • All they care about is looking good to their manager.
    • I’m, just like them. I want to look good to their manager too.
  • They always take credit for my work.
    • I wonder if they even realize how that makes me feel?
  • She should be willing to help.
    • I don’t want to do it either
  • I hate that they are always late.
    • They are so predictable.
  • He’s such a jerk.
    • He must be really struggling.
  • You never have time to hang out.
    • When we do get together, it’s so fun.

Chat soon,


P.S. Want help applying this to your specific situation? Let’s jump on the phone and figure it out together. Sign up for free coaching HERE.

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Hey, I’m Lindsay Lyman

I spent the last ~12 years growing my career at Amazon. I’ve built teams, launched new products, and created my own jobs. As a certified coach, I teach people how to manage the noise in their head to feel motivated and valued at work again.

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