Make Relationships Less Stressful

Image of two paper cutouts of people high-fiving. Positive Relationships.

Do you think society, including relationships, has become more stressful or less stressful over the years? Most people think it’s more stressful today than it was just a decade ago. One of the factors contributing to the stress is the rate of change everyone and everything is going through.

A number of factors have changed society over the years, not the least of which is technology. Unfortunately, however, technology has not helped to improve relationships. In fact, in far too many situations technology has actually hindered relationships, leading to increased stress levels. As a result, people continue to use ineffective approaches—mainly coercion—to influence others.

Here are two former American giants who made the point that coercion is ineffective.

Benjamin Franklin said to King George III after the passage of The Stamp Act, “You cannot coerce people into changing their minds.”

Dwight David Eisenhower, former Supreme Commander of the United Nations Forces in World War II and former United States President, taught that the way to influence people is to have them do what YOU want them to do because THEY want to do it. Coercive approaches are ineffective to achieve this goal.

The Key to Better Relationships

So why don’t people change how they influence others? In most cases, people follow in herd regardless of the ineffectiveness of what they follow. This includes using coercion to influence people to change. Even though we know coercion is ineffective, because we see others using it, we go along with the herd and continue to use it too.

If you want your relationships to feel less stressful, one of the first things to do is stop using coercion. Each time you coerce someone into doing something by using your power of authority (or by using imposed punishments or rewards), you provoke the natural human tendency to resist. You also deprive that person of an opportunity to become more responsible. If you want to influence someone to do what you want them to do, coercion is not the answer. Practicing the three principles of positivity, offering choices, and encouraging reflection will yield much better results and help you experience less stressful relationships.

Tip: Reflect before you follow others and engage in coercion. Simply ask yourself, “Is what I am thinking of doing in my and the other person’s best interests?”

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