If you’re anything like us, our partner’s annoying habits have started to grate after a year at home in each other’s space! From coffee cups left lying around and talking too loudly on the phone, to ‘attacking’ keyboards and hogging the remote, we find ourselves ‘zeroing in’ on our other half’s annoying habits and running out of patience.
By default, we assume our annoying habits are never as bad as theirs – and can always be justified by the circumstances. So, when I leave a cupboard door open its because I was rushing around with so much to do that I forgot. But when Jon leaves the clean pots on top of the kitchen counter rather than in the cupboard (right underneath!!), he clearly needs to learn to just finish the job! Psychologists have a term for this – fundamental attribution error. We all have the tendency to assassinate other people’s character!
Here are five tips for becoming more CHILLed in your response :
Cut the Criticism
Most times annoying habits are done without thought – and without ill-intent. Instead of constantly criticising, choose to respond with more patience and grace. Remember you have annoying habits too.
Have honest conversations
Talk about the things you find irritating and then leave them to change what they can. Everybody’s stress levels have been heightened, so it might not take much to tip some of us over the edge of frustration into conflict. If we are honest, sometimes it’s more about our own stress levels and impatience than it is about their innocent habit.
Ignore the ‘squeaky wheel’
Once you have had the conversation, choose to focus on the good. It’s so easy to forget all the reasons we love our partner and get distracted by the ‘squeaky wheel’ – the one thing they do that annoys amidst all the many amazing things about them.
Live and let live
There’s a lesson we can all learn from this brilliant story of an old woman who was happily married for over six decades. She explained that when they first got married, she decided to write a list of her husband’s ten faults – faults that she would always overlook. She never got around to writing the list, but every time he messed up, she would say to herself ‘lucky for him that’s one of the ten’! Being close enough to someone to see all their flaws is a position of privilege. Cover for them. Choose to have each other’s back – rather than be on each other’s back.
Laugh more and Invest time in the relationship
Investing time together to have a laugh and create memories will help you keep perspective and stay emotionally connected through tense times. Also, keep a gratitude journal to record the things you notice and really appreciate about your partner. Then, whenever you find yourself getting irritated, check the list before you respond.
These five tips are practical suggestions for implementing The 4 Habits of ALL Successful Relationships which will help you thrive in your relationship long after the pandemic is over.