February 21, 2017

Are You Undermining your Relationships by Being too Proactive

Most often you will hear or read advice to be more proactive in your life and to take the initiative in making and maintaining relationships. It’s a very important piece of advice if you don’t want to miss opportunities. But is it possible to miss opportunities for a good relationship or friendship exactly by being too proactive?

If you are the same “breed” like me, it’s very likely that you’ve wondered why despite being well-intentioned, polite, positive and funny some people don’t respond with the same positivism. Why does your spouse refuse to plan something interesting for your common spare time or make surprises despite you telling them how vital it is for rejuvenating the feeling of love? If you’ve recognized yourself, then this article might be pretty valuable for you like the encounter I am going to tell you about was for me.

I had the luck of coming across a woman who is very similar to me – extrovert, emotional, expressive, frank and friendly. We immediately liked each other and started sharing. It’s a very refreshing and unique experience when you see someone whose interests, motivations and disappointments in life match your own to a great extent. But obviously she had more experience/luck than me or more wisdom as she had found out the root of some of her relationship disappointments earlier than me.

We discovered that thanks to our very intrusive mothers who try to make the world go their way in a forceful manner, we’ve decided to be different. And here is the thing she helped me realize – we were still very pushy not in the same way like our mothers but in a much subtler way.

Sadly, the result was often the same – our closest people felt pressed by our excessive enthusiasm, abundance of ideas, organizing all kinds of fun activities, etc. We were frustrated by others’ passiveness but at the same time we didn’t leave them enough time to take the initiative.

Often opposites attract and an extrovert chooses an introvert and vice verse. At the beginning the more proactive person in the couple has enough room to show their ability to entertain by telling funny stories, organizing surprises and so on. After some time, however, the active person feels bored and unappreciated while the more passive one is exhausted by the overwhelming energy and expectations to take part in the accomplishment of the ideas of the other one. Balance constitutes harmony.

It’s not easy but it is not impossible either to learn to be more patient. This is one of the lessons I’ve been putting in practice for some time. I am learning to be an observer from time to time and let the other people be in the spotlight. However energetic and artistic you are by nature, maybe you’ve noticed that being always in the center of attention leaves you breathless and exhausted.

You might want to show your love by helping your spouse in a difficult situation but if your advice is unwanted it’ll be perceived as an intrusion not care. An example of this is how my ex-boyfriend reacted to my suggestion what to ask his doctor as he’s had a surgery recently and he told me: “I’ll decide what I’ll ask him.” I didn’t feel hurt by his reaction as I knew he had obviously heard unwanted advice by me so many times that he needed to protect his private space and stand up for his ability to solve his problems on his own. I just said “ok” with a smile and then after a minute he said “I am sorry for my reaction” realizing I was not going to persist in my willingness to help.

It’s not effective to repeat again and again to the other person to take the initiative even if it’s done in the most positive and loving manner. Actually, this might have the opposite effect as your partner might become more passive as a way to protest against the pressure you are exerting on them. Just withdraw for some time and let them miss you. If your love (or friendship as it applies for all kinds of relations) hasn’t suffered from the imbalance between the two of you for too long, it will rekindle again. The other person will find a way to approach you and make sure you are still in their life.

Byline: Maria Dimitrova writes for the website www.anotherway.org focused on the most efficient ways to save time, frustration and money in your business, spare time and relationships. Maria’s special interests are men-women relationships and children-parents relations.

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