What are the best ways to positively influence your mate, without recourse to manipulation? Try these top seven methods for positive reinforcement:
People respect those who respect them, so by maintaining a mutual respect in your relationship, you will ensure your requests will always be handled with understanding, caring, and sincerity.
Too often when we are trying to get our mate to change, we focus primarily on what we need from them, rather than what they need from us. By listening to your partner and understanding where they are coming from, you will better understand what will motivate them to want to change for you. With practice, you will also be able to pickup on non-verbal cues, in effect, listening for what is not being said. To often requests go ignored, simply because one partner forgot to listen before asking!
3. Do Me, and I’ll Do You
The power of reciprocation is regularly used in the business world, but it can also be used in romantic relationships. It is much easier to get a mate to work on improving when they know they will be getting something in return. This takes the heat off of just them, and makes the solution become a team effort. The power of reciprocation can also be seen when explaining to your mate the advantage of making the change. For instance, to a partner balking at the idea of making dinner in the evening, explain to them that if they share in the chore, they’ll be able to make the types of food they most enjoy eating, etc.
Timing is so important when we have to talk about a behavioral problem we are having with our mate. Often, we are driven to talk about these things as they happen, but that is not always the best time to start a serious heart to heart. Wait until both you and your partner are in a neutral, stress free mood, place yourself in a position of minimal threat (side to side, rather than face to face), and openly express your feelings how you’d like to see things change. Use the word “I” as an opener to your conversation (“I feel like…”) rather than “you” (“You always…”).
5. Stay on Subject
Too often when attempting to explain a problem to a mate, we end up going off on a tangent about other things until we come around to the part we actually wanted to talk about. We may think that we are buttering them up for the punchline, but we often just lose their attention and patience. If you really want to talk to your mate about an important request, stay on subject, be direct (short), and use clear, concise sentences.
6. Hush Approach
On occasion, we will listen to advice coming from various sources more than our own mate. It does not mean that we don’t respect their ideas, but some ideas have more credibility when they seem to be coming from several outside sources. For instance, if you are looking to get your mate to quit smoking, rather than hounding them about how bad it is for them, casually offer them tidbits of information in the form of articles or newsletters. This takes the bite from your own words, and puts it into the mouth of another.
7. Hate to Manipulate
I’ve mentioned this already, but it bares enough importance to repeat. Manipulation tactics, such as bribing, dictating, and offering a combination of reward and punishment may work with (some) animals, but the human intellect is much more capable of resentment once it realizes it’s being taken advantage of. A partner does not want to be forced into doing what you think is right, but rather figure out what is right for themselves. You can guide your mate to the land of Oompa Loompa, but you can’t make them do the funny dance unless they want to!