Everyone knows that relationships take work. It takes time, commitment and, above all, the patience to understand and compromise with your partner. You’ve probably heard someone say it before: “Choose your battles.” When you’re in a relationship, you really have to take time to figure out what disagreements to let go, what to compromise on and, when to put your foot down and insist on having it your way.
It’s those moments of “my way or the highway” where you need to be the most understanding with your partner. But, you also need to influence them enough to see your way and change their mind about something that is very important to you. So how can you influence this person without having it turn into something unhealthy and manipulative?
Stay calm. There is nothing worse than having an intense discussion where both sides get heated. Things tend to spin out of the logic zone very quickly and into pettiness. If you really want to influence someone special, keep it together and keep it calm. Don’t respond rashly to any of their reactions and anticipate at least a little push back.
Try to be empathetic. You are asking someone you love to change something very important to them in order to fit your wants or needs. This isn’t something that happens in five minutes or even overnight. Try to have a little compassion for them and give them the time and space they need to process your requests. Think how you would feel in the same situation and how you would want to be treated.
Respect their opinion. A relationship is nothing if it doesn’t have mutual respect. That includes respect for differing opinions. When you talk to them about your issue, don’t deride their opinion, respect it, even if it differs wildly from your own.
Hold your ground. If you give in once, you’ll give in again and the pattern of caving in becomes a habit. I’m not saying you should be stubborn on every single issue, but at some point, you have to be willing to draw a line that you will not cross and stick to your guns.
Finally, stay calm. Again, I cannot stress how important it is to keep a level head during moments when discussions could easily take a turn for the dramatic and one or both of you say or do something that they might regret later.