Relationship Hygiene

Every morning and night, I brush my teeth. I’ve been doing this for most of my life.

I know if I stop this practice, I will have dental problems.

I do the same with my car. I take my car into to the auto shop for regular maintenance.

I follow a similar process with my own body. Sadly, I’m no longer in my 20s and can’t get away with skipping a proper warm up and stretching before any physical activity.

The basic idea is simple. Take care of the little problems before they become big problems.

The same is true with relationships — both personal and professional ones.

A relationship is a living “being.” It has a health of its own — separate from the two people in the relationship.

Like much of life, relationships have their own hygiene requirements. Just like your teeth, your relationships need regular check ups too.

How is our relationship working for you? Do you find it beneficial / enjoyable / fun / useful? If not, what would need to change for it to feel better for you?

Similar to most dental problems, big relationship problems almost always start off as small ones.

That argument you had but never really discussed in detail? That small problem will grow (with aggressive compound interest, I might add) over time.

That resentment you feel over how that other person treated you? If you don’t say anything, it will create distance between you and the other person.

That funny look he or she gave you at yesterday’s staff meeting? If you don’t ask, “Hey, I noticed a facial expression I didn’t quite recognize... are we okay?” then the other person’s resentment towards you will grow until it strains your relationship.

In life and in the upper levels of most career paths, relationships matter.

Pay attention to them, and they will serve you well.

Pay attention to the little problems, before they become big problems.

Sometimes life is as simple as that.


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