Relationships 2.0: What Makes Relationships Thrive

    Active listening and acknowledging others' perspectives can lead to better communication and deeper connections, even when conflicts cannot be resolved. Expressing understanding requires emotional effort and vulnerability but can result in more accepting attitudes.

    enNovember 28, 2022

    About this Episode

    Everyone wants to be loved and appreciated. In the final episode of our Relationships 2.0 series, we revisit a conversation with psychologist Harry Reis, who says there’s another ingredient to successful relationships that’s every bit as important as love. 

    If you missed any of the episodes in our Relationships 2.0 series, you can find them all in this podcast feed, or on our website. And if you enjoyed this series, please consider supporting our work. 

    🔑 Key Takeaways

    • Tracking relationships can reveal the core ingredients of successful connections. A powerful psychological mechanism prompts us to feel deep connections with certain people, which can be based on shared goals, chemistry, or personality. Understanding this mechanism leads to stronger relationships.
    • Open and honest communication is essential for maintaining successful relationships. Understanding each other's perspectives is crucial for intimacy and connection to thrive. Avoid creating rifts by being true to yourself, while also considering your partner's feelings.
    • To have healthy relationships with loved ones, it is essential to communicate effectively to ensure real understanding. This means that both parties should have the same understanding of each other to avoid conflicts and build trust and love.
    • Being understood is crucial for meaningful connections in both personal and professional relationships. Without it, there can be a breakdown in communication, leading to negative consequences such as burnout and lack of trust.
    • To achieve understanding in relationships, it's crucial to listen to each other's perspectives without presumption. This creates a sense of coherence and promotes authenticity, ultimately leading to stronger and healthier relationships.
    • In order to have healthy relationships, it's important to work on communicating effectively and being vulnerable with those around us. This can help prevent misunderstandings and foster stronger connections.
    • Effective communication through open emotional expression and active listening skills is essential for building understanding between individuals, regardless of gender dynamics. Overcoming insecurity and fear of judgment is crucial in building successful personal and professional relationships.
    • Both parties in a relationship need to make an effort to understand each other and communicate effectively to prevent dysfunctional behaviors and build healthy relationships. Don't assume people won't change or grow over time.
    • Successful relationships require basic understanding achieved through open expression and good listening skills. Feeling understood boosts relationship integrity, coherence, and safety, leading to greater satisfaction and happiness for all parties involved.
    • The ability to understand and be understood can have a big impact on personal psychology and relationships. Using techniques such as the speaker-listener technique can help foster greater understanding and open-mindedness towards people outside of our own groups.
    • Active listening and acknowledging others' perspectives can lead to better communication and deeper connections, even when conflicts cannot be resolved. Expressing understanding requires emotional effort and vulnerability but can result in more accepting attitudes.

    📝 Podcast Summary

    The Power of Relationship Tracking: Insights into Human Connections

    Keeping meticulous charts on relationships can actually lead to interesting discoveries about the ebb and flow of human connections. Psychologist Harry Reis discovered this after tracking his relationships like an insecure middle schooler. He went on to study the core ingredients of successful relationships and found that beneath the feeling of closeness is a powerful psychological mechanism. This mechanism prompts us to feel deep connections with certain people over others, and it can have to do with shared goals, chemistry, or personality. Understanding this mechanism can help us build stronger relationships in all areas of our lives.

    The Impact of Encounter Groups on Relationships

    Encounter groups were laboratories in which people could be completely open and honest and get honest feedback from other people about how they were coming across. While these groups helped Harry discover parts of himself that he had never known before, they also created a rift between him and his wife. His wife couldn't connect with Harry's newfound self and their relationship became distant. The story matches what research has found that understanding is one of the most important things in our close relationships. Without understanding, intimacy fades and relationships suffer. It is essential to be open and honest to maintain successful relationships.

    The Importance of Real Understanding in Intimate Relationships

    Real understanding is a core element in intimate relationships like marriages, friendships, and family connections, without which love, trust and caring do not work properly. If the other person's understanding of oneself is different from one's self-understanding, then the feedback given by them feels inauthentic and uncomfortable. The lack of understanding creates conflicts between parents and children too, as feeling misunderstood leads to fury and frustration for adolescents and adults. Relationships grow and change, therefore, it is essential to communicate meaningfully to ensure real understanding to foster a healthy relationship.

    The Importance of Feeling Understood in Relationships

    Feeling understood is crucial for both intimate and professional relationships. In professional relationships, colleagues and clients need to truly understand the message and meta-message of our work. Lack of understanding can lead to burnout, lack of motivation, and even disaster, as seen in the case of the JetBlue flight attendant. In our modern, diverse world, it is increasingly important and challenging to establish a core base of understanding. Being understood is important because it facilitates connection with another person. When we feel understood, we are more likely to be motivated, engaged, and to trust the person we are interacting with.

    The Importance of Understanding in Successful Relationships

    The desire to be understood is essential for successful relationships, but our own desire to be understood can create barriers to reaching understanding. When conflicts arise, it's important to listen to each other's perspectives and avoid presumptions. In doing so, we create a greater sense of coherence and a predictable, sensible world where we can move freely without having to worry about how we're coming across. Understanding each other frees us from constantly monitoring and protecting our status within the group. By working towards understanding, we create authentic relationships where true selves can flourish.

    The Importance of Effective Communication and Vulnerability in Relationships.

    Communication is an imperfect process, and the illusion of transparency can cause misunderstandings. People often assume that others can see what they're feeling or thinking, but this is not always the case. Additionally, we often hide elements of ourselves from others for fear of vulnerability or rejection. These psychological barriers can create conflicts in interpersonal relationships, and when people do not feel understood, they may pull away from others. However, when people experience a sense of being understood, they are more likely to be drawn closer to them. Therefore, it's crucial to work on improving communication and showing more vulnerability with those around us.

    The Importance of Overcoming Barriers in Communication for Strong Relationships

    Communication is vital in building and maintaining strong relationships; however, insecurity and fear of judgment may inhibit this process. Open emotional expression and active listening skills are crucial in building understanding between individuals. Gender dynamics may play a role, as women tend to be more emotionally open and better at understanding others, while men may struggle to express themselves emotionally with other men. Additionally, there may be times when individuals actively avoid understanding others due to a fear of negative judgment. Overcoming these barriers is essential in building successful personal and professional relationships.

    The Importance of Understanding and Communication in Relationships

    Often, we don't want to know what others think of us, which can sometimes be functional but can also lead to dysfunctional behaviors. We tend to assume that people's behaviors won't change, failing to recognize that people grow, change, and mature. This is especially difficult for parents to keep up with as their children develop rapidly. Being understood requires effort from both parties, with an excellent communicator and empath leading to understanding. It's not surprising that many of us go through life without getting the understanding we want or extending it to others.

    The Importance of Feeling Understood in Relationships

    Feeling understood is a core psychological need that is essential for successful relationships. However, there is a difference between being understood and feeling understood. People often imagine that their partners understand them better than they actually do, but this belief is a strong predictor of the success of the relationship. Cognitive biases often keep us from being understood and understanding others. Successful relationships require some level of basic understanding, which is achieved through open expression and good listening skills. Greater levels of feeling understood boost the integrity, coherence and safety of the relationship, making it more satisfying and happy for all parties involved.

    The Power of Understanding in Politics and Life

    People feel drawn to politicians who can communicate that they understand what is important to them. This identification with candidates can result in increased willingness to vote for or donate to a certain candidate. The ability to be understood and validated can have a significant impact on personal psychology and how we treat others. The speaker-listener technique, used in psychotherapy, can be a useful tool to help individuals feel heard and understood. This technique slows down communication, ensuring that each party feels they are being heard in the way they want to be. Studies indicate that a greater sense of understanding leads to increased open-mindedness and a willingness to consider opposing points of view, resulting in reduced prejudice towards individuals outside of one's own groups.

    The Importance of Understanding and Being Understood in Reducing Prejudice and Improving Relationships

    Understanding and being understood is key to reducing prejudice and improving relationships. Even when conflicts cannot be resolved, feeling heard and respected can prevent harm to relationships. Expressing understanding does not mean agreeing with someone's point of view. It requires emotional effort and vulnerability, but it can result in less ego-driven and more accepting attitudes. Practicing active listening and acknowledging others' perspectives can lead to better communication and deeper connections.

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