Thursday, August 30, 2007

WE Relationships - Rules of Engagement - The Beginning

By Niama Sandy

Since this is WE’s premiere issue it’s only right to write the first column about new beginnings.

On a walk down the street - or for the adventurous ones among us, on a speed dating excursion - we open doors to what could possibly be the rest of our lives. But after boy-meets-girl, the question is what next?

For many of us the next step is the stage when you don’t know if it will in fact be a relationship. This is followed by the getting-to-know-you phase, when the frequency of bouts of extreme awkwardness are matched only by the feeling that perhaps you have stumbled upon happiness everlasting…Which brings us to our first rules of engagement.

1. Know & Love Thyself
One of the most important things in life is knowledge of self: things you like, need, expect, and will accept; recognizing your strengths and weaknesses; self-awareness and your interactions with others, making sure that you are the best that you can possibly be- emotionally and physically. In order for someone to expect someone to treat you with respect you should first treat yourself with the utmost care and respect.

2. Say What You Mean & Mean What You Say
Crucial for any relationship, whether it is with an acquaintance or a romantic partner, is communication. It is extremely important to communicate who you are and what expectations and limits you may have, while also being mindful of your partner and his or her expectations. There is no point in pursuing a relationship with someone whom you have nothing in common with. Figuring out if that is the case can sometimes prove difficult but I think that all it takes is open ears and eyes.

Active listening is a really important element of communication that ought to take place in the beginning stages of your relationship. I have heard too many people – myself included- willfully ignore warning signs from a potential partner. “He said he was going to take me to dinner at 8 p.m., he ended up just coming by at 3 a.m. The same thing happened twice last week. What should I do?” RUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Honestly speaking, I understand that things come up but when a person seems to have a habit of not keeping his/her word – the best thing to do is let that person go their way while you go your own.

When you are listening to your mate…listen to them. Do not color what is said with your own perceptions - be open to what your mate is trying to share with you. Now in communicating your feelings be as clear as possible. If you mean yes, don’t say maybe. It is impossible for anyone who isn’t a part of The Psychic Friends Network to read your mind to find out exactly what you want.

3. Let Bygones Be Bygones
“Bag lady…you gon’ miss yo bus…” Check the baggage at the door. Everyone is different. What happened in your last relationship is what happened in your last relationship. This person has not done anything to hurt you, and for all intensive purposes the clean slate rule applies. Gentlemen, she is not your ex-girlfriend and she may not do what that person did to hurt you. Ladies, the same is true. Do what you need to do to ensure your emotional safety, but bear in mind that you are going to have to let your guard down if you’re really trying to get somewhere.

4. Modesty Is the Best PolicyIt’s great to have expectations but at some point there needs to be compromise. I am not advising that anyone should completely throw their “dream mate list” out the window but no one is perfect. Be flexible.

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