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Fortifying Connections

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  1. Strengthening Relationships A Life Skills Workshop Presented by Student Counseling Services

  2. “To have a friend, be a friend.”

  3. “Friendship is not won by the giving of things, but by the giving of the heart.” --- Roy Lessin

  4. Relationship: the state of being related. Related: 1. connected by some understood relationship. 2. connected through membership in the same family. The key is CONNECTION.

  5. Relationship Assumptions • Successful relationships are basic to successful living. • Keeping relationships healthy deserves a high priority. • Your marriage or significant other is your most important relationship. • You can learn to understand how to make your relationship work.

  6. Types of Relationships • Family relationships • Occasional (“anonymous”) relationships – clerks, waiters • Casual relationships (acquaintances) – some people at work, professors, classmates • Friendships – people with whom you seek interactions, whose company you enjoy • Romantic relationships – passionate, emotional connection, usually reciprocal

  7. Aspects of Friendship • Keeps confidence • Loyalty • Warmth/affection • Supportiveness • Frankness • Sense of humor • Willingness to make time for me • Independence • Good conversationalist • Intelligence • Social conscience

  8. Six Rules for Friends • Share news of success with a friend. • Show emotional support. • Volunteer help in time of need. • Strive to make a friend happy when in each other’s company. • Trust and confide in each other. • Stand up for a friend in his/her absence.

  9. Development of a Close Relationship • Zero contact • Stage 1: unilateral contact • Stage 2: bilateral contact • Stage 3: mutuality

  10. Intimacy in Communication Person 1 Person 2 Cliché Conversation

  11. Intimacy in Communication Person 1 Person 2 Cliché Facts, Conversation Other’s Ideas

  12. Intimacy in Communication Person 1 Person 2 Cliché Facts, Your Conversation Other’s Ideas Ideas & Opinions

  13. Intimacy in Communication Person 1 Person 2 Cliché Facts, Your Personal Conversation Other’s Ideas Information Ideas & Opinions

  14. Intimacy in Communication Person 1 Person 2 Cliché Facts, Your Personal Feelings Conversation Other’s Ideas Information About Each Ideas & Opinions Other Now

  15. Close Relationships • Relatively long-lasting • Frequent interaction • Mutual activities • Impact of interactions is strong

  16. “Marriage is not just a ‘happily ever after’ ending, but a lifetime of ‘I choose to love you’ beginnings.” --- Matt Anderson

  17. Why Marriages Succeed or Fail Dr. John Gottman

  18. “A lasting marriage results from a couple’s ability to resolve the conflicts that are inevitable in any relationship.”

  19. Styles of Marriages • Validating • Volatile • Avoidant

  20. Validating • Listen and understand each partner’s point of view • Value other while disagreeing • more like problem-solving discussions • negotiate compromises • Value “we-ness” of relationship • Risk: passionless arrangement

  21. Volatile • Fight on grand scale--make up on grand scale • Highly engaged with each other • See selves as equal parties in relationship • Easily express feelings, opinions, & thoughts • Risk: slide into too much fighting

  22. Avoidant • Conflict minimizers • Agree to disagree--shove it under the rug • Low level of companionship • High degree of autonomy • Risk: Encountering problem too big to avoid

  23. Emotional Ecology • Need to strike a balance of positive/negative • magic ratio: 5 to 1 • Healthy marriages represent three ways of adapting to achieve the balance • Unhealthy marriages which do not adapt can be recognized by warning signs: • “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse”

  24. Four Horsemen of The Apocalypse • Criticism • Contempt • Defensiveness • Stonewalling

  25. Criticism • Attacking someone’s personality rather than behavior • Blaming & accusing • “You…” statements • Different from Complaining • “I…” statements • Present to a degree in all relationships

  26. Contempt • Criticism with intention • deeper, more personal attack • Includes • insults & name-calling • hostile humor & mockery • body language • Results in decay of admiration or positive feelings for partner

  27. Defensiveness • Elicited by criticism & contempt • Includes: • denying responsibility --making excuses • disagreeing with mind reading --yes-butting • cross complaining --Rubber man/woman • repeating self --whining • Result: obstructs communication--conflict escalates

  28. Stonewalling • Communication shutdown • Conveys disapproval, disgust, smugness • Found in men more than women

  29. Cycle of Negativity • Four horsemen are hard to tame • If unchecked, downward spiral/cascade occurs • Flooding occurs--system overload • Chronic flooding leads to distance/isolation cascade

  30. Strategy for Improvement • Calm down • Speak nondefensively • Validating Partner • Overlearning--try & try again