The Weaker Person Controls the Relationship

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It would be nice if relationships with people were always easy and fun like on Mayberry RFD, but they are not.

Psychology, back-stories, and poor communication often complicate friendships. Couples face more serious challenges.

It seems like the Official Relationship Guidebook must be a million pages long. Some strategies only work with some types of people. Some concepts only work once in a blue moon.

A few guidelines are even counter-intuitive.

So why does the weaker person usually win?

One relationship tenant has proven particularly difficult to grasp: The weaker person usually controls the relationship.

How can this be?

Well, for starters, strong individuals do not feel the need to control others. If you are secure and fully functioning as a person, there is little satisfaction in controlling another friend or loved one. Also, the stronger person has more resources and can always “dial down” to accommodate the other person.

The weaker person, however, will not (or cannot) take their game to the next level. They have no game other than to insist that others honor their limitations.

Why compromise is overrated

Consider the following two examples:

1) A married couple has settled into a routine. The husband is quite social and easy with people, but the woman is a little insecure and a homebody. What will they do this weekend, go out or stay home?

Well, they may go out this weekend, but they’ll stay home the next five weekends because it’s easier for the social person to stay home than it is for the shy person to get out.

2) Two people are traveling. One person is quite flexible, travels well, and is tolerant of traffic, weather, etc. The other person needs lots of extra time to prepare, adjust, and rebound. What happens to the speed of the trip?

A diplomatic person might suggest a compromise, but this won’t work unless both parties are bringing something to the table. A true compromise is only viable when two people can meet each other halfway.

When one person has limited resources or an underdeveloped skill set, the only hope for workable resolution is for the stronger person to give in to the wishes, needs, and in many cases, the limitations of the weaker individual.

Of course, this stopgap solution only works for a while before one or both of the parties become resentful.

By this stage, one or both of the people consider the other to be “difficult,” which only serves to exacerbate the problem.

We are all “difficult people.”

For more information on how to cope with challenging situations and difficult people, listen to Dealing With Difficult People by Michael Angelo Caruso, a 60-minute audio program with lots of tips for improving your relationships.

The program comes with a 30-page e-book that will help reduce stress and help you better understand the important people in your life.

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