Don’t hide. While secret identities might be fun in the movies, a person who harbors secrets, and hides their fears, and beliefs from others, will never be able to enjoy an authentic relationship. Being real and authentic with others and even making yourself vulnerable from time to time can foster tremendous emotional connections, including all-important trust, and forge unbreakable bonds.
Don’t tweak the truth. Studies show that 10-30 percent of applicants admit to “tweaking” their resumes—that’s certainly no way to start an engagement with a new employer. Small white lies will do nothing but undermine and compromise any relationship. Even slightly altering the truth is one of the most destructive forces that can permanently damage a personal or professional relationship. Keep your work relationships transparent and honest to build trust with your superiors, colleagues, and customers.
Don’t rush and miss critical red flags. Understand that a relationship is a journey with changes in direction, twists and turns, and roadblocks along the way. It’s imperative to pass through certain experiences and navigate through difficulties to learn from these situations and create a healthy outcome. Resist the desire to take shortcuts or race through certain aspects of a relationship. Even if it is painful or boring, embrace it, knowing that it offers a healthy purpose for the big picture of a relationship.
Don’t force it. There’s an old R&B lyric that says, “If it don’t fit, don’t force it.” Despite the poor grammar, it is quite insightful in its simplicity. Relationships that create positive synergy through mutual respect and shared values are worth your investment.
Don’t repeat the past. The past should not define a person, and there is no reason to keep looking back. While previous events and actions might be a life lesson, the nature of every journey is to move forward. Don’t repeat those actions that did not produce the intended results; instead, focus on new choices that will “effect” a more desirable outcome.
Don’t be a “taker.” All relationships involve give and take, so it is important to recognize when each relationship could use more of a giving spirit. When we think about what we can do for others instead of what they can do for us, we get to the very heart of healthy, successful interactions. In a strong relationship, both people willingly give far more than they take.
Don’t Stay in an Unhealthy Relationship. Unfortunately, sometimes we make a poor choice and enter into relationships that will never be healthy no matter what actions are taken. Part of Relational IQ is knowing when and how to end a toxic relationship. If someone is not able to accept a change in the status or direction, is not loyal and stable under pressure or in the face of challenge, or had once been dependable but now is unreliable, these are strong clues that the relationship may not be worth saving. Whether it is a customer or client, a colleague, or your workplace, don’t let feelings of misplaced guilt or sympathy get in the way of making good personal choices.
Don’t Lose Personal Power. There are situations in the work environment where healthy relationships with unhealthy people are necessary. Developing a higher level of Relational IQ will help to identify those unhealthy people and harness personal power to not let those people hurt, disrespect, or transmit negativity such that you are affected by these attempts. Instead, personal power can be used to turn the tide on those unhealthy people and maintain your resilience and composure to stay the course.
Don’t Forget Who and What Really Matters. The most valuable people aren’t always the most visible. People of true value bring fulfillment, not frustration. All too often, those taken for granted or overlooked are veritable lifesavers or ones that silently help us achieve goals, provide encouragement, or offer important insights and connections.
Don’t Accept Everyone. The people around you right now are setting the course for next week, month, year and possibly the rest of your career. Accordingly, there must be a qualification and selection process for those you choose to be around. Blocking the wrong people is the only way to make room for the right people who help you achieve your dreams, enrich your lives, and create a happy, satisfying experience.